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Basketball Long Beach Poly

Girls’ Basketball: Long Beach Poly Wraps Up 16th Straight Moore League Title

There was no confetti or celebratory pictures when the Long Beach Poly girls’ basketball team finished its regular season last week with an impressive road win over Lakewood, 60-37. That completed another gauntlet week for the Jackrabbits that saw them beat Cabrillo (77-25), Lakewood again (73-37), Redondo Union (46-44), and Millikan (58-40).

The Jackrabbits didn’t celebrate their undefeated Moore League championship because it’s routine. It’s their 16th consecutive league title and the win over the Lancers to close the regular season was their 166th consecutive league victory.

“Playing all those games in a short period of time is crazy, and playing our toughest league opponent after two weeks of quarantine was a challenge last week, but we did enough then to escape with a win,” said Poly coach Carl Buggs, referring to his team’s overtime win over Millikan a few weeks back. “Today we’re seeing us play much more the way we’re capable of playing.”


The Jackrabbits are still led by Nala Williams, who is averaging 17.6 points per game this year, and is also leading the way in rebounds (10.6), assists (4), and blocks. But it’s been apparent over the last two weeks that the Jackrabbits are developing more of an offense around Williams. Sklar Mills has become a consistent force in the mid-range game and the speedy Kristal Caldwell has become a major disruptor on defense.

“She’s getting there, she’s seeing what we want her to do,” said Buggs. “I’ve had some film sessions just me and her and she’s really picking up the structure and meaning of what we do.”

Caldwell’s as fast a player as the Jackrabbits have ever had. Her ability to get through screens and jump passing lanes has led to some eye-popping stat lines, including a game last week where she had 13 steals. She’s averaging six per game going into the playoffs.

“Transferring here this year, this has been the best year I’ve ever lived,” she said. “True statement. Defensively I wasn’t always in control of my body before, sometimes I was too fast for myself. I can finally control it and it looks really good on the court.”

“We’re coming along as a team, we’re moving the ball, we’re getting open shots,” said Buggs. “We just have to be confident to knock those open shots down.”


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.