Posted On: 03/13/18 1:34 AM
BELLFLOWER – Five observations from Saturday night’s Long Beach Poly at St. John Bosco State Southern Regional Division-I second-round game, won by the host Braves, 64-61:
*The Jackrabbits – as was the case pretty much the entire season – faced a significant size disadvantage against the hosts.
Six-foot-six, 230-pound (give or take) junior Jonathan Salazar – who didn’t become eligible until the Braves’ Jan. 4 Trinity League opener at Orange Lutheran after a 30-day sit following his transfer to the school – overwhelmed the Jackrabbits in the post.
Salazar scored 18 points (seven of 15 from the field and four of six on free throws) to go with 18 rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots – with eight points and four rebounds coming in the fourth quarter.
Six of those points and three of those rebounds came in the final three minutes after his team had fallen behind by five points.
*The Braves, the division’s top seed, will take a 24-7 record into their Tuesday night home semifinal against Rancho Christian.
They also got double-figure scoring from two more of Coach Matt Dunn’s deep and gifted Class of 2019 crew, 6-4 Christian James (12 of his 14 points after intermission) and 6-1 Fernando Gomez (11 points, nine of those on 3s).
*St. John Bosco’s depth extends to it sophomore class, as well.
Point guard Josh Camper gave Dunn quality minutes off the bench in handling the ball against the Jackrabbits’ tenacious full-court pressure and knocked in two free throws to push his team’s advantage to three points with 13.9 seconds to go.
*Poly point guard Darryl Polk Jr. (PICTURED) closed out his high school career in solid fashion, albeit going scoreless after dropping in 13 points over the first 24 minutes.
Polk’s quickness, with or without the ball in his possession, had a major impact on his team coming oh-so-close to leaving Bellflower with a spot in the semifinals.
He’ll be among the most highly sought-after players among those college programs in search of a senior point guard.
*Three Poly juniors, Giordan Williams, Justin Rene’ and Malik Salahuddin, combined for 42 points – with Williams scoring 19 of those (12 on 3s).
They’re why Coach Shelton Diggs’ Jackrabbits will not only be expected to once more be the dominant program in the Moore League but could also be a strong contender for one of the Southern Section’s eight Open Division playoff slots