Backcourt of Bury & Gajdos has Poland back in the thick of things

The Lady Bulldogs begin play against Liberty.

Poland Bulldogs High School Basketball - Poland, OH

2017-18 Poland Girls’ Basketball Preview
Head Coach: Nick Blanch
Record: 19-4

More:High School Basketball previews from other teams

The Good News
Coach Nick Blanch – who recorded win #100 last December – points to his team’s athleticism, work ethic and strong desire to get better each day as the Bulldogs’ strengths entering the new campaign. Poland will rely on a pair of standout guards in senior Bella Gajdos and junior Sarah Bury. Last year, Gajdos averaged a team-high 15.6 points. Bella put together a stat line of 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists while shooting 33.9% from long distance (40-118) and 84.8% from the foul line (39-46). As a sophomore Bury, the team’s point guard scored 13.9 points per outing. She also hauled down 4.0 boards a game as she dished out 3.2 assists and was able to come away with 4.2 steals per game. Senior center Maggie Sebest led the Bulldogs in field goal percentage (49.0%) as she made 71 of 145 shots from the floor. Sebest also was productive from her post spot as she scored 6.9 points and snagged 5.8 rebounds per game. Poland will also have junior Kat Patrika and freshman wing Jackie Grisdale in their projected starting lineup this winter. Also returning is senior center Juliana Blangero and junior guard Marlie McConnell.

2017-18 Schedule
Nov. 29 – Liberty, 7
Dec. 2 – at Harding, 1:30
Dec. 6 – Lakeview, 7
Dec. 9 – Niles, 5
Dec. 13 – at Lakeside, 7
Dec. 16 – at Jefferson, 1
Dec. 18 – Howland, 7
Dec. 20 – at Struthers, 7
Dec. 23 – at Canfield, 7
Dec. 27 – at Boardman, 6
Jan. 3 – Hubbard, 7
Jan. 6 – at Edgewood, 1:30
Jan. 10 – at Fitch, 7
Jan. 17 – at Niles, 7
Jan. 20 – Lakeside, 1:30
Jan. 22 – at LaBrae, 7
Jan. 24 – Jefferson, 7
Jan. 27 – Struthers, 1:30
Jan. 31 – at Hubbard, 7
Feb. 3 – Edgewood, 1:30
Feb. 7 – Canfield, 7
Feb. 14 – Salem, 7

Challenges
The loss of graduated seniors Emily Melnek and Jillian Penman will be have a lasting effect on this team. Melnek averaged 10.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and shot a team-high 34.0% from three-point land (34-100). Penman averaged the same amount of points (7.1) as she did in the rebounding category (7.1) while connecting on 70.4% from the charity stripe (19-27). Blanch indicates that his team doesn’t have the same size that last year’s group had and another concern is the varsity experience coming off the bench.

2016-17 Team Stats
Scoring Offense: 68.7
Rebounding: 36.0
Field Goal Percentage: 40.3%
Three-Point Percentage: 31.3%
Free Throw Percentage: 64.5%

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