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Long Beach Poly is perfectly focused

Experienced Jackrabbits defeat Compton for the third time this season, 71-46, and the 19-0 team displays few weaknesses.

January 26, 2011|Eric Sondheimer
  • Long Beach Poly's Roschon Prince dunks over Compton's Pruitt Roman, left, and Isaiah Bailey during the first half of the Jackrabbits' 71-46 victory Wednesday.
Long Beach Poly's Roschon Prince dunks over Compton's Pruitt… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Perfection can be an elusive goal, but halfway through the boys' basketball season, Long Beach Poly is determined to give it a shot.

The Jackrabbits (19-0, 7-0) are running away with the Moore League after beating Compton for the third time this season, 71-46, at Poly.

Sophomore Roschon Prince scored 26 points. Ryan Anderson and Chris Camper added 12 points apiece and Alexis Moore had 10. Victor Robbins scored 29 points for Compton (13-9, 4-3).

Poly is ranked No. 1 by The Times and No. 1 in Southern Section Division 1AA. The players know there's a long way to go, with possible games ahead against powers Etiwanda, Corona Centennial and Santa Ana Mater Dei, not to mention Woodland Hills Taft and Westchester from the City Section.

But the Jackrabbits are focused, experienced and possess that all-important ingredient needed for a championship run — chemistry.

They've been stuck on 18 section championships since Coach Sharrief Metoyer's team won in 2004, his first season. It's the same total won by the football team, so another title would go over well for basketball supporters.

There aren't too many weaknesses that can be found with this year's team, though poor free-throw shooting on Wednesday might cause some coach to try fouling the Jackrabbits en masse. They missed 10, including six by Anderson, who declared, "I was worse than Shaq," referring to the NBA's Shaquille O'Neal.

It's a team of unselfish players who have been tested the last two seasons in big games. They've learned lessons and don't mind being scrutinized.

"I think our kids have responded to the pressure of being No. 1 and having that bull's-eye," Metoyer said.

The big question all season has been whether there would be any team that could improve enough over the course of the season to match the Jackrabbits, who came in with a huge edge in experience and were expected to be better than every team to start.

So far, the Jackrabbits have met every challenge. Their closest game came last month against San Diego Lincoln, a one-point victory. They face a tough challenge Feb. 5 against Las Vegas Bishop Gorman in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei.

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