Basketball Long Beach Poly Wilson

Boys’ Basketball: Stokley’s Monster Night Leads Long Beach Poly Past Wilson

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 Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

A shorthanded Wilson Bruins basketball team hosted the Poly Jackrabbits in the second of their two matchups on Friday night. Wilson, without star senior guard Sean Oliver, was unable to keep up with Poly following a hot start for the Jackrabbits. Poly would gain and hold onto a lead for the entirety of the game, finishing with a lopsided final score of 100-64.

Jovani Ruff and Cash Stokley were a lethal 1-2 punch from behind the arc early in the game, draining a total of nine three’s between the two in just the first half. The pair actually combined to outscore the Bruins in the first half, with 33 points to Wilson’s 26 as Poly led by 51-26 at intermission.

Ruff spoke after the game about his hot start.

“It’s all about confidence,” said Ruff. “My coaches kept telling me to shoot, teammates telling me to shoot, it’s just all mental for me.”

Stokley went supernova in the first quarter, pouring in 23 points (making six three-pointers) in the first eight minutes to stake Poly to a 34-10 lead.

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Poly Coach Shelton Diggs said the quick offensive start was nice, but he was more focused on the defensive side of the ball. 

“It was good to get off to a good start offensively but our main goal is defense,” said Diggs. “I thought we did a really good job knocking down defensively, making it tough for them to make shots, and then it gave us the confidence to start making shots.”

Stokley finished with an impressive 37 points to lead all scorers, going 7/11 in his three-point attempts. Ruff added 17 and Ryder Maddox had 12 points for the Jackrabbits. This was the first time all season Poly has reached the 100-point mark.

For Wilson, Sean Oliver’s dominant playstyle was hard to replace. The Bruins looked to key players such as Keon Young to spark some offense. Young finished with a team high 18 points, followed by Lincoln Dean and Michael Kirley with 12 and 9 points.

Poly’s dominance on both sides of the ball allowed for key starters to rest towards the end of the game. Poly faces a tough remaining schedule featuring games against St. Anthony, Compton, and Jordan in the next five days. Ruff talked after the game about the importance of putting the game away early heading into their tough remaining schedule.

“We just wanted to come out and put them away and get a couple reserves in the game.” Said Ruff. “We have a couple of really big games coming up like St. Anthony tomorrow and Jordan next week, so we just wanted to get this done with.”

As for Wilson, the Bruins will be away at Lakewood on Monday.

Eli Aquino
Eli Aquino is a high school student with plenty of writing and technology skills. He has a healthy knowledge and passion for sports and looks to take on journalism as a future career.