Long Beach Poly (2-0) opened their home schedule with an emphatic 106-35 win over Jordan (0-2) on Friday afternoon. McDonald’s All-American Peyton Watson was locked in offensively, scoring 28 of his game-high 30 points in the first half to lead the Jackrabbits to a 54-21 halftime lead.
Poly led 91-30 after three quarters and eclipsed the century mark with a running clock in the fourth quarter. The Poly defense was more active in the half court with its press–especially in the third quarter–which led to a string of easy buckets in transition.
“We took that from the first game that we needed to work on more things defensively,” said Poly head coach Shelton Diggs. “So we had a couple practices where we could work on some defense. That was something we wanted to be better at today, just working on little things.”
Watson was 12/16 from the floor, going 3/7 from beyond the arc. The UCLA-bound senior also had four rebounds and four assists for Poly.
The Jackrabbits were without starting guard Christian Watson in this game, but did debut two starters–St. Anthony transfer Lorenzo Marsh and Gahr transfer Jalen Pitre. Marsh was active from the tip and added an additional impact scorer for the Jackrabbits with 23 points on 10/13 shooting. He hit three of his five three-point attempts and added three steals and a pair of assists.
“I was just happy to be on the court with all my brothers,” said Marsh. “Playing with Peyton is great, all the opportunities and open shots I get from the defense closing on him. He’s a great player that will make the extra pass and when he hits me I just have to knock it down.”
Pitre got off to a slow start in the first half with just two points, but showed off his skill set in the third quarter. Pitre scored 14 of his 16 points in the third and was 7-for-8 from the field in the win. He hit a pair of triples and added two steals and two blocks.
“It was exciting,” said Pitre. “It was my first game. I could’ve played better, but as a team I feel like we did well. We had our energy and played great as a team … They’re pushing me to keep scoring so I feel like that’s my job to lead the way and keep scoring.”
Jordan had a pair of early leads in the opening quarter, but with the game tied at 7, Poly went on its first of two 17-0 runs to blow the game open. Kameren Long led the Panthers with 12 points and Quintin Chaderjian had six.
Junior Rafael Cruz added 17 points for Poly, with 13 coming after halftime. The Jackrabbits were much more effective from the perimeter than they were in their opener against Compton, connecting on a dozen three-pointers as a team. It was Poly’s first time scoring 100 points in a game since a 100-44 win on Jan. 14, 2019.
Poly will host Cabrillo on Wednesday in their next contest while Jordan will host Wilson.
The Jackrabbits expect to have their full complement of players against the Jags, which will give Diggs his first look at his full roster on the floor together.
“It’s still early,” Diggs said. “We’ll have our full lineup next game, but we’re just trying to get better every day, that’s my plan.”