Basketball Long Beach Poly

PREVIEW: Long Beach Poly Basketball vs Village Christian CIF Championship

History is on the line for the Long Beach Poly boys’ basketball team tonight as the Jackrabbits travel to Village Christian for the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA championship. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. and we will post the ticket link when it is available.

At stake for the Jackrabbits is a possible 21st CIF-SS title for the boys’ basketball program, and a second under head coach Shelton Diggs.

“They’re good, they have size, and they’re all returning from last year when we beat them so they’re going to be itching to play us,” said Diggs. “We have to be ready.”

Diggs’ Jackrabbits’ have been the ultimate road warriors these playoffs, traveling to Crespi and Foothill in the quarters and semifinals and silencing great road crowds. Diggs says that’s fundamental to the identity of his team.

“I always played better on the road in high school and college, and my teams have taken that identity through the years,” he said. “We’re together on the road. It’s us versus the world, we take that and use it well. At home there are all kinds of other distractions, on the road it’s just you and your team and your fans just there to cheer for you.”

The Jackrabbits (22-5) have had a number of different players step up this postseason on their road. Senior Christian Watson is their leading scorer this year and has made his presence felt as a rebounder, passer, and shot-blocker these playoffs as well. Freshman Jovani Ruff and seniors Marcel Hayes, Daniel Hardy, and Gabe Cummings have all led Poly on important scoring runs throughout the postseason, with Cummings dropping 25 points in the semis.

“That’s who we are as a team, anyone can step up on any given night,” said Watson. 

Village Christian (26-4) is a balanced team with 6-6 and 6-8 post players. They’ve beaten Alemany, Cypress, Serra, and Los Altos to get to this championship game. 

Both teams have clinched a berth in the CIF State playoffs, with brackets to be released Sunday.

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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.
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