The562’s coverage of Jordan Athletics is sponsored by John Ross, Class of 2013.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Poly alum Jayon Brown and PlayFair Sports Management.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by JuJu Smith-Schuster and the JuJu Foundation.
The Northside had been waiting on that game for a long time.
In a landmark win for the Jordan boys’ basketball program, the Panthers dominated Long Beach Poly on the road in the Ron Palmer Pavilion on Wednesday night, beating the Jackrabbits 86-60.
The win snapped a 26-game losing streak against Poly for Jordan that dated back to 2009, and it was their first win in the RPP since 2006. Panthers coach Chris Francis becomes the first Jordan coach not named Ron Massey to beat Poly since the 1970s, and Jordan is now the last unbeaten team in the Moore League, in the driver’s seat to win their first league title since 2008-09.
Francis did not bother pretending it was just another league win, as his players and fans celebrated on the court behind him. Instead he showed a text message from Jordan principal Keisha Irving, who had texted him when he was hired with the scores of Jordan’s games against Poly the season before Francis arrived.
“It says, ‘Never forget: Jordan versus Poly, 106-34, 71-23,’” he said. “So we’re going to play for 32 minutes against them. When you coming at the best, you got to beat them, and you gotta beat them convincingly, and that’s what we did tonight.”
The Panthers were the better team from the jump, and they dominated the first quarter 24-11 as they forced the Jackrabbits to play the game at their breakneck pace, and stifled Poly defensively by turning them into jumpshooters. On the offensive end, Jordan drove to the basket relentlessly, either in transition or in the halfcourt.
Poly responded in the second quarter, winning it 17-14 and playing the kind of defense that they’ll need to if they want to contend for a league title this year. They limited Jordan to no points scored in the first three quarters, while getting to the line frequently, playing almost the entire second quarter in the double bonus. The third was another tight quarter with Jordan winning 17-16, before the Panthers blew the doors off the building in the fourth.
Jordan won the fourth quarter 31-16 to put an exclamation point on the game and send fans home with no doubt who the best team in the city is after the second week of league play. The effort was incredibly balanced for the Panthers, with 17 points from Kane Young, 15 from Franklyn Chambers, 12 from Dennis Redmond, and 10 from Jerome Wilson.
“Frankie Chambers: Amazing. Kane Young: Amazing. Jerome Wilson: Amazing. Everybody did their part,” said Francis.
He saved his highest praise for sophomore Daveyon Chisom, who was tasked with guarding Poly sophomore Jovani Ruff. Chisom held Ruff to 0/9 shooting from the field and just four points in the game, all from the free-throw line.
“That kid is a five-star basketball player, and Daveyon Chisom is a five-star defender,” said Francis. “Holding him to four points, that’s amazing.”
Poly was led by 16 points from Giovanni Ofoegbue, 14 points from Ryder Maddox, and 11 points from Austin Unegbu.
After the game, Young tried to put into words what the win meant for his team--although he was smiling too big to do so.
“We’ve been talking about it since last year, the battle on Atlantic,” he said. “We just came out here with the mentality that they’re people just the same as us, we can beat them.”
Francis agreed with the assessment that his team came in expecting to win the game.
“We feel like we put in the work,” he said. “When you do that this is the type of outcome you expect. We played a brutal schedule--we’re getting hammered by 20, 30, and 40. And you know, it ain’t no fun when the rabbit’s got the gun. No pun intended.”
Jordan sits alone atop the Moore League as the last undefeated team and will place Wilson and Lakewood the week after the winter break, beginning Jan. 9. Poly sits below the Bruins and Lancers with two losses in league.