The strength of Long Beach Poly’s girls’ basketball team this year has been its depth, as head coach Carl Buggs has gotten big games from players up and down his bench. On Friday night at King High in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals, there were no answers to be found offensively anywhere for Poly, as the Jackrabbits offense sputtered in a 49-37 loss to the Wolves.
Poly has clinched a berth in the CIF State playoffs, but will have to wait until a week from Sunday for the brackets to be released.
“We really struggled tonight,” said Buggs. “We just couldn’t shoot, just couldn’t hit anything.”
The Wolves’ offense didn’t exactly sing, either, and Poly actually made more field goals than their hosts on Friday. But King has hung its hat all year on an ability to get to the line, and they did so early and often against the Jackrabbits, racking up 20 of their 49 points from the charity stripe.
Poly fans expressed their displeasure throughout the game about some of the calls, upset that there were 10 fouls whistled against Poly in the second half to three against King.
But Buggs pointed out that King’s offense is built around that skill.
“They were the more aggressive team, we knew we needed to stay in front of them and we didn’t,” he said. “They got those calls from being aggressive.”
On the other end, the Jackrabbits made just two 3-pointers, one of them coming in the game’s final minute. No player scored in double digits for Poly, which will now have a week and a half to prepare for the state playoffs.
“We just need to go back to the drawing board and get a lot of shots up,” said Buggs.
Kalaya Buggs led Poly with nine points, backed up by six from Ashlee Lewis and Kaci Scott. King was led by Alexis Mead’s 13 points.