Palm Springs was established as the playground of the stars, and most people visit to relax, perhaps taking in a round of golf or unwinding by a pool. The Long Beach Poly boys basketball team, however, arrived in the desert oasis on a business trip—and instead of rest and relaxation, they got five stressful basketball games under their belt.

Poly 74, Christian Brothers (Missouri) 51

The Jackrabbits’ senior duo of Kameron Murrell and Chris Sullivan have drawn praise from just about everyone during the nonleague schedule, as have a pair of juniors, returning point guard KJ Feagin and post Jordan Dallas. Dallas had 21 points and 6 rebounds, both team highs, in a tourney-opening win.

The Poly defense was in full effect allowing just 18 first-half points.

Poly 65, American Fork (Utah) 43

This time it was Feagin leading the way with 18 points, backed up by 14 from Sullivan. Poly led by just 11 at halftime but held American Fork to five points in the third quarter to help put the game away.

Poly 90, Wenonah (Alabama) 89, Double Overtime

In what ended up probably being game of the year, Poly prevailed thanks to a monster game from Murrell, and late-game heroics from Feagin. Multiple sportswriters referred to the game afterwards as the best they’d ever seen at the high school level.

It seemed for a time that the three-time defending Alabama state champions were going to put Poly in the loser’s bracket. As it turned out, they would have faced former teammate Kameron Chatman’s squad had that happened.

But despite a 14-point deficit after the third quarter, Murrell willed his team back into it. He had 37 points in the game, but 22 in the fourth quarter alone, outscoring Wenonah by himself…by ten points, no less.

No points were bigger than the two free throws he drained with under three seconds on the clock, tying the game and sending it to overtime. The teams each put up nine in the first overtime period, so it came down to the second OT, where Feagin hit a runner in the lane with just seconds remaining to give Poly the thrilling one-point victory.

Jackson (Washington) 53, Poly 52, Overtime

Turnabout is fair play, and just as the Jackrabbits benefitted from some late-game drama, they ended up losing on a buzzer-beating overtime three in the semifinals. Feagin scored 18, Sullivan had 15, and Murrell 13, but it wasn’t quite enough without more support from their teammates, as no other player had more than two points. Poly was held to just 12 points in the fourth quarter and the overtime period in the loss.

Westchester 68, Poly 65

There was no buzzer-beating drama in Poly’s last game of the weekend, which also happened to be their first game against a California team. Feagin and Dallas each had 22 points, and Poly led by a point at halftime over the favored Comets, but they were outscored 23-15 in the third quarter and couldn’t quite erase the deficit in the fourth.

Poly will face Bishop Montgomery at Inglewood High on Saturday at 8:30pm to wrap their nonleague schedule, then open Moore League play by hosting Millikan next Wednesday at 6:30pm.

Sports Guy Mike Guardabascio has been writing professionally for a decade, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards and is the author of the historical book "Football in Long Beach."

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