STORY AND VIDEO BY MATT SIMON
Heading into Friday’s Moore League showdown at Ron Palmer Pavilion, Long Beach Poly and Millikan both came into the contest boasting impressive accomplishments midway through the season.
Long Beach Poly sat on top of the CIF Division 1 polls, while Millikan was undefeated and No. 3 in the Division 2AA polls.
It was a match of offense vs defense as Poly looked to shut down use its pressure defense against Millikan’s high-powered offense.
At the end of the night, the Jackrabbits frustrated the Rams’ offense on their way to a dominating 70-29 win.
“I thought it was a total team effort,” LB Poly coach Carl Buggs said. “We had a gameplan going in against Millikan and I thought we executed that game plan extremely well and not let them do what their strength is.”
That game plan was to stop Millikan’s guards from driving and dumping the ball off to the Rams’ leading scorer sophomore Allison Crawford.
The Jackrabbits (17-2, 6-0) used a stellar defensive effort from Ashlee Lewis to build a 22-2 lead after the first quarter.
“I thought my guards did good stopping penetration,” Lewis said. “And not let (Crawford) get comfortable running the floor, catching the ball and going up easy. Make everything hard and contested.”
Lewis and Nala Williams scored a game-high 18 points each for Poly.
For the Rams (16-1, 5-1), they couldn’t get into their offense like they would have liked to and Crawford finished the game with 10 points with all coming in the third quarter.
“I think we were able to get over halfcourt,” Millikan coach Lorene Morgan said. “That didn’t seem to be as big of a problem as it’s been in the past. I think the problem was for us, when we were in our halfcourt set. Their defense bothered us a lot, we couldn’t get penetration like we usually do.”
With Kalaya Buggs out nursing an injury, the Jackrabbits got an opportunity to have other players get action while they make a playoff push.
“We just got to keep working,” Buggs said. “Slowly but surely. We’re trying to get one or two more people to add into the rotation. Each game we’re just trying to get a little bit better. We’re not where we need to be yet. We’re having a good season, but we still have a ways to go.”
The Jackrabbits won’t waste any time seeing where they are as they host Sierra Canyon, CIF-SS Division 1 No. 2, Saturday at 6 p.m. For the Rams they will be back in action as well when they face Peninsula during the Lorie Lindahl Extravaganza at Jordan High.