There was plenty of chatter pregame about how Compton had a good shot at Long Beach Poly’s boys’ basketball team on Thursday night in a battle of the Moore League’s two best teams. Compton took their shot, but the Jackrabbits proved the superior team in a 70-61.
“This is a big win for us,” said Poly coach Shelton Diggs. “We felt like it would be our toughest game this season, on the road before we get all our guys.”
Poly gets Solomon and Ben Jones as well as Jeremiah Atkinson eligible on Sunday, which will give them more depth and some genuine post play. The matchup Thursday featured the five-guard Jackrabbits against Compton’s bigs, including Jabari Steward (21 points).
Poly more than held their own, actually out rebounding Compton in the first half thanks in large part to the efforts of Adofo Thomas, who had two points, 12 rebounds, two blocks, and two assists in the win. Thomas is Poly’s fourth-tallest starter, but is relied on to do the dirty work as the team’s “glue guy.”
When it was pointed out to him that Poly has other taller players, Thomas shrugged. “I’m buffer than them,” he said.
“We’ve got nine seniors, and they’re guys who’ve been through the program for four years, who do whatever we need to win a game,” said Diggs.
Poly’s offense was on point to start the game, putting up 26 points in the first quarter and helping Poly to a 43-23 halftime lead. The Tarbabes were more methodical about working the ball inside to Steward in the second half, and the Jackrabbits’ shooting went cold. Compton was able to work the Jackrabbit lead down to single digits late in the fourth quarter.
“We wanted to make our point tonight, and we came out very intense,” said Justin Rene, who led Poly with 24 points, backed up by 18 from Giordan Williams. “They fought back, and we underestimated them in the second half.”
Poly will head to Arkansas for a tournament next week with its full roster available for the first time this year. Both teams will resume Moore League play in two weeks.