For the last 22 minutes of Long Beach Poly’s road CIF-SS second round Division 1 playoff game at Riverside Poly, the Jackrabbits’ boys’ basketball team played the host Bears even. The problem was a dreadful first 10 minutes of the game, which saw the LB version of Poly fall behind 25-4. The Jackrabbits fought the rest of the game in a season-ending 81-60 loss.
“We ran into a buzzsaw at the start of the game,” said Poly coach Shelton Diggs. “I think we played them even after that big lead, but they were already up by a lot.”
The Jackrabbits have been facing zone defenses almost the entire season, and instead ran into an aggressive man defense in Riverside. The result was nine first-quarter turnovers as the Jackrabbits struggled to adjust early on.
“We weren’t running our offense to score, we were just running it to run it,” said Diggs. “It took us too long to get aggressive.”
Poly got just two baskets in the first quarter, one from Rafael Cruz and one from Anthony Robinson. After that star junior Peyton Watson heated up, finishing with 29 points in the final three quarters. Robinson had 12 points in a solid effort, while Cruz added seven points. Riverside Poly was led by Evan Oliver’s 25 points. San Diego State commit Lamont Butler had 17 points. The Bears made 11 total 3-pointers.
The season ends for the Jackrabbits, but they’ll return all but one major contributor, including Watson.