2015-16 Poland Boys’ Basketball Preview

2015-16 Poland Bulldogs’ Boys Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Ken Grisdale, 23rd season (390-130)
Record: 23-3 (11-1), T-1st in AAC Red
5-Year Winning Percentage: 82.9%
5-Year League Record: 44-8

Season in Review
Since the All-American Conference was formed in 2008, Poland has made it through each season with only losing a maximum of two games per season in league play while claiming the division championship (or sharing it) five of the seven years.

Coach Ken Grisdale’s bunch won 23 games overall, including a stunning 69-54 victory over Harding in early-February, which would help the Bulldogs to their #1 seeding and another district crown in Warren.

For the fourth consecutive season, Poland scorched the nets from beyond the arc to the tune of 32% or better. Last year, the Bulldogs shot 39.3% (203-516) with five players connecting on 20 three-point baskets throughout the year.

Poland was led by a slew of seniors such as Danny Black (11.2 ppg, 81.5% FT, 34.9% 3PT), Kyle Dixon (9.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 39.2% 3PT) and Nick Gajdos (6.0 ppg, 6.0 apg). The team’s leading scorer was junior Jared Burkert (12.9).

All-American Conference Basketball Champions
Red Division
2014-15: Poland & Warren Harding (11-1)
2010-11: Howland (7-1)
2009-10: Canfield & Poland (7-1)
2008-09: Poland (7-1)

White Division
2014-15: Jefferson (10-0)
2010-11: Struthers (8-0)
2009-10: Struthers (8-0)
2008-09: Lakeview (7-1)

Blue Division
2014-15: Girard (10-2)
2010-11: LaBrae (8-0)
2009-10: Campbell (10-0)
2008-09: Campbell & Newton Falls (9-1)

AAC American Division
2013-14: Poland (11-1)
2012-13: Canfield & Poland (8-2)
2011-12: Struthers (9-1)

AAC National Division
2013-14: Campbell, Girard & LaBrae (8-2)
2012-13: LaBrae (10-0)
2011-12: LaBrae (10-0)

Key Losses
Danny Black (11.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg)
Kyle Dixon (9.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.8 apg)
Tate Duarte (7.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
Nick Gajdos (6.0 ppg, 6.0 apg)
Nick Romeo (2.2 ppg, 1.6 apg)

Key Returnees
The Bulldogs may have lost a lot of senior leadership but they return a ton of experience in the form of Mike Gajdos (5.9 ppg), Jake Burns (6.1 ppg), Matt Baker (7.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and Jared Burkert (12.9 ppg, 2.1 apg). Gajdos shot 43.4% from long distance (23-53) while sinking 77.4% of his charity throws (24-31). Burns appeared in 24 games and made 69.6% of his field goals (55-79). Baker was just as solid at the free throw line (80.6%, 25-31) as he was from three-point land (43.3%, 26-60). Burkert has connected on 103 three-point shots and has scored 533 points over 50 games in his varsity career. Jared saw his numbers increase last year by going from a scorer who averaged 8.6 as a sophomore to 12.9 as a junior.

Matt Baker (6’7/Sr)
Jake Buccieri (6’1/Sr)
Nick Buccieri (6’1/Sr)
Jared Burkert (6’1/Sr)
Jacob Burns (6’7/Sr)
William Chammas (6’1/Sr)
Mike Gajdos (5’9/Sr)
William Avery (6’0/Jr)
Trent Lutz (5’8/Jr)
Kyle Patterson (5’9/Jr)
Brandon Barringer (5’9/So)
Mike Diaz (5’6/So)
Mike Masucci (5’9/So)
Daniel Kramer (6’2/Fr)
Braeden O’Shaughnessy (5’9/Fr)

AAC Red Division Outlook
Boardman The Spartans made strides last year. Gannon Murray leads a hungry bunch into the 2015-16 season.

Canfield When you talk Canfield basketball, the conversation should start with 6’3 senior forward Mason Mangapora, who is coming off of a junior campaign which saw him average 16 points and 5 boards.

East The Panthers turned the ball over 20 times a game (19.9) and only shot 31.9% from the floor. Both numbers will have to increase if East has plans on crashing the AAC party this year.

Fitch Fitch has a pair of seniors – Anthony Pangio and Dominic DiFrancesco – both returning as coach Brian Beany likes what he has seen out of his team this off-season.

Howland Coach Jason Lee may have lost Julian Lanier but he has a wealth of support returning such as Luciano Romeo, Connor Antinone and Victor Williams just to name a few.

Lakeside The Dragons enter the All-American Conference in their initial campaign.

Poland Three years in a row, the Bulldogs have won or shared their league championship. Coach Ken Grisdale’s bunch should have an opportunity for a fourth straight with Jared Burkert, Mike Gajdos, Matt Baker and Jake Burns all back in the fold.

Warren Harding Harding returns seniors Gabe Simpson and Shakem Johnson from last year’s 20-win team. Oh yeah, the state’s highest rated junior (Derek Culver) also is back to cause mayhem near the bucket.

2015-16 Schedule
Dec. 1 – Lakeside. 7
Dec. 4 – at East, 7
Dec. 8 – Howland
Dec. 12 – West Middlesex, 7
Dec. 15 – Girard, 7
Dec. 18 – at Hubbard, 7
Dec. 22 – at Fitch, 7
Dec. 29 – at Campbell, 6:30
Jan. 5 – Harding, 7
Jan. 8 – at Edgewood, 7
Jan. 12 – at Boardman, 7
Jan. 15 – at Lakeside, 7
Jan. 19 – East, 7
Jan. 22 – at Howland, 7
Jan. 26 – Fitch, 7
Jan. 29 – at Canfield, 7
Feb. 2 – Boardman, 7
Feb. 5 – at Harding, 7
Feb. 9 – Lakeview, 7
Feb. 12 – Canfield, 7
Feb. 16 – Struthers, 7
Feb. 19 – Jefferson, 7:30

Post-Season History
State Championships: None
Regional Championships: 4 (2008, 2007, 2002, 1972)
…Since the Division II district tournament moved from Boardman to Warren, Poland has won each of the past two championships while winning 7 post-season games.

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