After Long Beach Poly’s girls’ basketball team lost in the semifinals of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs, the team was ready to get right back on the court. Instead, it was a week and a half of practice and preparation–hard work that paid off in Poly’s defensive master class on the road against Chaminade in the first round of the CIF State Division 1 playoffs. The Jackrabbits dominated the Eagles, 50-30.
“It felt like a month between games, we worked every second of that time,” said Poly senior point guard Deja Williams, a CSUN signee. “We just wanted to come show that we’re better than we played in the loss.”
Williams was key on both ends of the floor, putting up a team-high 19 points but also notching two steals.
“It felt like forever,” said sophomore Kalaya Buggs when asked about the layoffs. “It helped prepare us, though, we got a lot better defensively.”
It was obvious from the first quarter that Poly had thoroughly scouted the Eagles, and they spent the first three quarters smothering them on their home court. The Jackrabbits allowed just seven points in the first quarter, eight in the second, and five points in the third.
The second-half push was the most impressive, as Poly won the third quarter 16-5, with Buggs and Williams scoring all of the Jackrabbits’ points in that span. After an and-one by Buggs, a Chaminade player slammed the ball down in frustration, sending Williams to the line to shoot free throws for the technical foul.
“I think we settled in offensively and realized that they couldn’t stop us around the basket,” said Poly coach Carl Buggs.
Ashlee Lewis had nine points and 12 rebounds for Poly. Alexis Winfield led Chaminade with 11 points.
The Jackrabbits will travel to Rosary Academy in Fullerton on Thursday for a second-round state game.