Basketball Long Beach Poly Wilson

Girls’ Basketball: Long Beach Poly Clinches Moore League Championship Again

A near flawless second quarter was more than enough to earn Long Beach Poly girls’ basketball a 79-54 win on Thursday at Wilson. The victory also clinches the Jackrabbits yet another Moore League championship. They haven’t lost it since 2006, and haven’t shared it since 2008.

The game was tied 13-13 early in the second quarter when Poly went on a 19-1 run that effectively ended the contest. The Jackrabbits led 40-19 at halftime, and led by more than 30 in the second half.

“Because Wilson’s a good squad… I thought we probably played our best game of the year,” Poly coach Carl Buggs said.

Poly senior Kalaya Buggs sparked the decisive second-quarter run by scoring 11 of her 17 points in the eight-minute stretch. She also had six rebounds and a team-high five assists in the game.

“We moved the ball a lot more on offense,” Kalaya said. “Last time (we played Wilson) we weren’t moving it that much, so it was easy for them to play defense. So we tried to move the ball a lot and set a lot of screens and take advantage of the mismatches.”

Poly senior Lily Buggs contributed a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while junior Nala Williams also scored 19 points to go with seven rebounds.

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Wilson made a game of it in the first quarter thanks to the Senior Night heroics of Ashley Hawkins. The newly minted Cal State Northridge verbal commit scored nine of her game-high 23 points in the first half with a variety of individual efforts. However, the game changed when Poly doubled her in the second quarter.

“We took the ball out of Ashley’s hands as much as we could and we boxed out and that gave us momentum going into offense,” Kalaya said. “And everyone was hitting their open shots, so I think that’s all we did the whole quarter.”

Poly held Wilson to 3-for-15 shooting in the second quarter, and at one point the Bruins missed 10 straight field goal attempts. Meanwhile, the Jackrabbits went 11-for-14 from the field in the second quarter while making five 3-pointers. Poly senior Simone Morris was the key defender against Hawkins for most of the game, and contributed 15 points. She made three of Poly’s eight made 3-pointers.

“We’ve been getting most of our scoring from Lily and Simone, but we got some more scoring today, especially from hitting that three-point shot,” coach Buggs said. “And when we hit the three-point shot, we’re pretty good. So I was extremely pleased. I thought we took a step forward today.”

Wilson also took some positives from the game including a good performance in the paint from senior Arielle Hines, who pulled down double-digit rebounds.

“It’s a forward progression,” Wilson coach Erin Carey said. “We’re not where we need to be by any means, but it’s better. You look back three, four years ago where we couldn’t even get the ball in bounds. I’m proud of my kids for making that progression. If we can put together four quarters of basketball, it’d be a competitive game and I think Carl (Buggs) would finally get what he’s looking for, a little bit of competition in the Moore League. We’re getting there.”

The Moore League wraps up this rescheduled regular season on Friday when Poly visits Millikan, so everyone has eyes on the upcoming CIF Southern Section playoffs.

“This got us ready because we got better today,” Carey said. The Bruins won a CIF title last year and have been moved up in division.

“Poly is a good team with strong athletes,” Carey added. “For us to make adjustments on the fly, and for my kids I thought they executed our game plan pretty well. It gets us ready to play a team where you don’t know what you’re gonna face. So you kind of go out there and you’ve got to make decisions on the fly. And today I felt like they did that well, which bodes well for us in the playoffs.”

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs. Wilson, Girls’ Basketball

PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly vs. Wilson, Girls’ Basketball

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.
http://The562.org