Basketball Long Beach Poly Millikan

Basketball: Long Beach Poly Locks Down Millikan in Doubleheader

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.

The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

The Long Beach Poly boys’ and girls’ basketball teams both picked up wins over Millikan on Wednesday night in the Howard Lyon Gymnasium, in a pair of very similar games. Both games showcased how far the Jackrabbits have come over the last few weeks, particularly on defense.

Boys: Long Beach Poly def Millikan 71-44 

The Jackrabbits allowed just four points in the first quarter and just seven points in the third quarter as they used stifling defense to pick up a much-need Moore League win. The Jackrabbits posted a blowout win over Sage Hill over the break, more evidence that a young Poly team is starting to find its identity.

“We’re doing the things we need to do, we’re defending well, we’re playing together as a team and guys are making shots,” said Poly coach Shelton Diggs. 

Diggs’ lineup features just one senior and the Jackrabbits’ youth showed early this season, and in league losses to Lakewood and Jordan. Diggs blamed himself for the way the team’s schedule was set up.

“We weren’t getting enough practices in, we were playing games six or seven days in a row,” said Diggs. “Getting to get in the gym and work together was huge. This is a young inexperienced team and they needed a little more time to figure it out.”

Poly was led by 17 points from Jovani Ruff, who was assertive throughout, backed up by 16 points from Cash Stokley. Austin Unegbu added 11 points and Ryder Maddox had 10 for the Jackrabbits.

Donovan Desha scored 15 points to lead Millikan, backed up by 14 points from Jackson Cryst, fresh off a 20-block performance against Compton.

Girls: Long Beach Poly def Millikan 78-30

It’s been an interesting multi-part season for the Jackrabbits, who had a sizable portion of their roster become eligible on Dec. 25 on the Sit Out Period date, but who have had several players since become unavailable due to injuries or academic issues. They played Wednesday’s game at Millikan with just nine players, but were still able to show how far they’ve come in a dominant defensive effort. Poly allowed only single-digit scoring in all four quarters in the comfortable win.

“We’re making progress, but some things have set us back,” said Poly coach Carl Buggs. “I thought we picked up our intensity in the second half.”

Poly was led by Brooklyn Taylor’s 18 points, 10 rebounds, eight steals, and two blocks. Taylor was one of several key players who became eligible on Christmas.

“It’s been a lot of fun with my girls, we’ve been waiting to get on the court,” she said. “It’s finally here and it’s everything I was hoping it would be.”

Andrea Perkins also scored 18 points for Poly, and Helena Vu added 13 points.

For Millikan, Cristin Duncan led the way with eight points.

The Jackrabbits will visit Lakewood Thursday night in a battle between the last two undefeated teams in the Moore League. 

“Should be a good game, we’re looking forward to it,” said Buggs.

Support The562.org
PHOTOS: Long Beach Poly vs Millikan Basketball
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.