Long Beach Poly’s quest for a Moore League-record ninth consecutive league championship began auspiciously on Monday night, as the Jackrabbits’ high-pace offense kept Compton off-balance all night. At one point Poly led by 31 points late in the fourth quarter and easily won 81-58.
“This is how we’re going to play,” said Poly coach Shelton Diggs. “We’ve got to make threes and free throws and make people guard us.”
That’s something Compton struggled with from the tip as Poly got out to 17-3 lead, staring 5-for-6 from 3-point range. Because the Jackrabbits have five shooters in the starting lineup, all of whom are guard-sized and fast, they’re a difficult matchup.
“I feel like it’s pick your poison with us,” said Justin Rene, a junior guard who led Poly with 21 points. “Any one of us can shoot it.”
Poly led 27-12 after the first quarter and 42-27 at the half. The Jackrabbits’ lead ballooned to 31 points midway through the fourth quarter, when they led 78-47. When Compton was able to guard the arc Poly drove to the hoop and either made layups or drew fouls, going 11-for-15 from the free-throw line.
Compton was led by Chris Swint, a two-sport start for the Tarbabes who has scholarship offers as a football player. Swint played valiantly, driving the lane and leading the Tarbabes with 13 points.
Poly’s offense was too much for Compton, though, as four starts finished in double-digits. After Rene, Malik Saluhaddin had 17 points, and Darryl Polk and Giordan Williams had 12 apiece. The Jackrabbits finished 6-for-11 from 3-point range.
The lopsided result was a rare one in the series between Poly and Compton—the Tarbabes have been more often than not the second-best team in the league during Poly’s recent run and claimed a co-league championship two seasons ago.
“We needed that, especially to come out and play like that in our league opener and our first game at home,” said Diggs.
The Jackrabbits (7-2, 1-0) will have the rest of the week off before competing in the Damien Classic next week.
WILSON 79, LAKEWOOD 69 >> Behind solid guard play, Wilson beat Lakewood in their Moore League opener. The win also pushed the Bruins’ win streak to nine.
Verak Monh, Pektra Monh and Jayden Woodard combined to score 42 points, but it was the trio’s defense in the second half that forced the Lancers (3-5) into turnovers that the Bruins (10-1) converted into points the other way.
“We’re a small team,” Pektra said of teams underestimating the Bruin guards. “We just play together like a family, that’s what our brotherhood is. We work together.”
Along with the trio, senior Matt Schmidt had a double-double scoring 19 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.
It was a close contest in the first half as the Bruins held onto a 34-30 lead. In the third quarter, Wilson’s defense proved to be an issue as they were able to get Lakewood’s Daniel Wright into early foul trouble — forcing him to sit a majority of the third quarter.
“Tonight, we didn’t come out with enough energy and we underestimated who we playing,” Wright said.
Wright mentioned that the Bruins guard play caused the Lancers issues as Wilson played a majority of the game in a full-court press.
“It was harder to try and come down the court,” Wright said of Wilson activeness. “You see one man in front of you, but there’s others flooding behind you trying to poke at the ball, it was harder to handle and get through. We just had to stay a little more sound.”
Wright was still a force, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds, despite foul trouble. Atin Wright led the Lancers with 17 points.
Wilson coach James Boykin said that that’s the activeness he wants from his team and he wants them to maintain.
“We just needed to take control of the game, and avoid the turnovers,” Boykin said.