YOUNGSTOWN — The Chaney Cowboys (14-7) celebrated senior night in style with a 57-46 victory over Poland (14-7) on Tuesday.
It was a rematch of last season’s Division II district final when the Cowboys were victorious, and won their second straight district championship. They are the number one seed heading into the tournament this time around.
“The seniors do everything for us,” Chaney coach Marlon McGaughy said. “They’ve been playing for us since they were sophomores. It’s going to be hard for us when they leave.
“We knew it was going to be a tough rematch with Poland. We didn’t play well tonight. They were a little undermanned tonight. Just like we were. We’re getting better, but we have a long way to go.”
It was a tight battle, in the first half, as the Cowboys took a slim 27-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“We actually weren’t converting in the first half,” Poland coach Eric Fender said. “We missed seven lay-ups. We go one for nine at the free-throw line, and we go into halftime down by two.
“We gave up a few offensive rebounds at the start of the third quarter, and they extended the lead. They’re good offensively. They’re big, and they’re tall. We didn’t limit their possessions.
“We know Chaney is a good team. That’s why they got the number one seed in the tournament. We want to play this kind of competition heading into the postseason.”
Chaney freshman Matt Jones listened to his coach, and helped the Cowboys extend the lead, by taking it to the hole to start the third. Jones had a steal, and a layup, before drilling one from downtown.
“The coaches told us to pick up the energy,” Jones said. “So, I listened. It’s been a good season. Coach is cool. He knows what he’s talking about. You just have to listen to him.”
Ross Dedo (game-high 20 points) scored in the lane for the Bulldogs. Christian Colosimo (13 points) made a nice spin-move inside, but Chaney took a 43-38 advantage to the fourth.
Josiah Gonzalez (12 points) made it look easy, going quick to the hoop, to start the third. Gonzalez got up high for a dunk, but the ball rimmed out. Luckily, Clive Wilson (team-high 13 points) was there to clean it up.
Carson Maurer stole an inbound pass, and sent it to Jack Fulton who laid it in. Colosimo displayed some tremendous passing, but the Bulldogs couldn’t get their shots to fall.
The Cowboys showed great ball movement of their own. Isaiah Williams passed it to Gonzalez, who found Wilson, for the finish. DJ Waller nailed a pair of 3-pointers, and Davinci McDowell closed it out with a big block on defense.
“I don’t think we’re any different than last year,” Williams said. “It was a good team win. We fought all the way to the end. We’ve got a couple things to work on.”
Coach McGaughy is preparing the Cowboys for another tournament run.
“We play a tough schedule,” McGaughy said. ” We do every year. We want to play the teams that we might see in the playoffs. Because you never know who you’re going to play.”
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