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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

Long Beach Poly shows its power in Fairfax tournament win

The Jackrabbits, who could be the No. 1 team in Southern California, show off their defensive tenacity in second half and rout Westlake Village Oaks Christian, 57-32. They win despite the absence of top player Roschon Prince, away at a camp.

June 26, 2012|Eric Sondheimer

Long Beach Poly boys' basketball Coach Sharrief Metoyer was calmly and quietly sitting in his chair, his legs crossed, as his team fell behind by 10 points against Westlake Village Oaks Christian in the opening half of the Fairfax tournament on Tuesday night.

"You wait and see if kids are going to learn," Metoyer said of his demeanor.

Finally, he'd seen enough. He called timeout. He raised his voice and threatened to bench a couple players if they didn't start playing harder. His wakeup call worked. The Jackrabbits responded by tying the score at halftime, 19-19, and went on to rout Oaks Christian, 57-32.

Poly could be the No. 1 team in Southern California, especially when the Jackrabbits play defense like they did in the second half.

"Defensively, we're very long and athletic," Metoyer said.

Poly won even though its top player, Roschon Prince, didn't play because he was away at a camp. But the Jackrabbits showed off 6-foot-6 Oregon transfer Kameron Chatman, a junior who already has scholarship offers from Arizona and Arizona State. He scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, demonstrating a devastating outside shot.

Combining Chatman with Prince is going to offer a severe challenge for Poly opponents.

"He brings a dynamic we haven't had," Metoyer said.

Oaks Christian played without Coach Andre Chevalier, who announced earlier in the day he had resigned after two years as coach.

Poly will play Orange Lutheran in Thursday's 7 p.m. quarterfinals. Orange Lutheran defeated Mission Hills Alemany, 74-68. Payton Banks scored 28 points. Bear Henderson had 20 points for Alemany.

Woodland Hills El Camino Real has aspirations of winning a City Section Division I championship, and the Conquistadores will get some invaluable experience on Thursday night in an 8:30 p.m. quarterfinal game against state Division I champion Santa Ana Mater Dei.

The Conquistadores survived some ragged play in the second half to defeat Encino Crespi, 67-52. El Camino Real led by as many as 18 points in the first half, but Crespi took a 49-46 lead with 4:36 left. That's when Crespi's D.J. Ursery had to leave the game with a dislocated pinkie. He had scored 10 points in the second half.

Crespi was outscored, 21-3. Evan Wardlow had 18 points and Michael Thomas 14 for the Conquistadores.

"We have a chance to be good," El Camino Real Coach David Rebibo said. "But we're still learning."

Freshman Max Heidegger led Crespi with 12 points. London Perrantes added 11 points.

The Conquistadores won a Division II championship last season, and virtually the entire team is back, led by guards Maleke Haynes and Julian Richardson.

"We're no longer sophomores and juniors," Rebibo said. "We're juniors and seniors. We've been battle tested. There's a great camaraderie. Guys don't care who's scoring. Our chemistry is very good right now."

Wednesday's championship quarterfinal schedule has Pasadena playing Fairfax at 7 p.m. and Harvard-Westlake playing Chaminade at 8:30 p.m.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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