The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly is sponsored by Bryson Financial
The Long Beach Poly girls basketball team saved their best basketball for the perfect time. The Jackrabbits hosted Chaminade Thursday night in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs, and played an unstoppable first half en route to a 73-48 victory.
The Jackrabbits held Chaminade scoreless until the 1:37 mark of the first quarter, and allowed just one field goal in an emphatic 17-3 opening period. Poly continued to grow their lead through the second to head into halftime with an impressive 46-11 advantage.
“That was probably our best basketball,” said Poly coach Carl Buggs. “The first half of basketball was some of our best basketball all year. Hopefully we can continue that and carry it for all 32 minutes.”
Poly carried the same identity and game plan into their playoff opener that they’ve owned up to all year; finish in the paint. Not being known for their shooting, the Jackrabbits took it to the chest of Chaminade all game long behind 6-foot-1 center Brooklyn Taylor. Taylor led the way for a dominant Poly offense with a game-high 26 points, most of which came from inside the paint.
“I knew a lot of the girls from Chaminade. It was really just a matter of executing and making sure that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, and doing what I practiced,” said Taylor, who had 14 of her 26 points in the first half.
“That’s one of our strengths,” said Buggs of his offense in the paint. “So we were able to finish early and often. We don’t shoot the ball that well, so it’s imperative that if we get offensive rebounds the missed shots don’t look so bad. So that was huge. We have to keep that going.”
The Jackrabbits had a change in their starting lineup due to disciplinary action, but found huge contributions form girls who’d typically come off of the bench. One of which being junior Joy Anderson, who owned up to her starting role on Thursday night through her immense energy on both sides of the ball.
Anderson used all of her 5-foot-11 frame to help clean up off the class for Poly to help create second chance opportunities for girls around her. She ended the game with nine points for the Jackrabbits.
“I was extremely proud of (Anderson) stepping into that role and for bringing that energy. She brought a lot of energy. Not just with rebounding but she brings energy everywhere when she’s out there and we need that,” said Buggs.
Chaminade tightened up in the third quarter, switching to their full-court press defense on Poly while finding points in the paints from Payton Montgomery. Montgomery found a team-high 25 points and shot 7/9 from the free throw line.
The Eagles were able to outscore Poly 37-27 in the second thanks to 21 second half points from Montgomery. However, Poly was able to hang onto their big lead to secure their 73-48 first round victory.
“We just panicked and tried to dribble too much through the press instead of passing the ball in the second half,” Buggs explained. “So we have practice in the morning and that’ll be something we’ll work on and then we’ll go from there. Luckily we had a big enough lead to where it didn’t really hurt us.”
The Jackrabbits also found 11 points from point guard Jordyn Washington.
Poly (19-9) will look ahead to a huge second round matchup at Orange Lutheran (19-7) on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Jackrabbits are seeking revenge after falling to the Lancers in the fourth game of the season in an 11-point loss.