Long Beach Poly proved to be just as good as advertised Tuesday in defeating Montebello High School, 74-65, in a boys’ basketball CIF Southern Section 1AA Division quarterfinal.
The Jackrabbits (27-1), already rich and storied in tradition, hopped into the Oilers’ gym top-seeded in the division and ranked second in the nation. But Poly couldn’t rest on its laurels on this night as eighth-seeded Montebello gave the Jackrabbits all they could handle.
The Oilers (27-4) led 30-29 at halftime, but in the second half the Jackrabbits used their speed advantage to apply full court pressure and beat the Oilers in transition that enabled them to open a 10-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
A slam dunk by Ryan Anderson, who is headed to Boston College next season, highlighted Poly’s run to the lead. Anderson scored a game-high 25 points to lead his team.
Montebello’s Darius Middleton had an outstanding game and kept the Oilers in it, scoring 10 of his team-leading 18 points in the fourth quarter. He hit two 3-pointers.
Middleton was one of four Oilers to score in double figures. John-Michael Carabes was also brilliant, drilling five 3-pointers and finishing with 16 points. Antonio Worthy scored 13 points and Richard DelaCruz had 11 points.
Poly, which also got 19 points from Alexis Moore, will play Etiwanda (28-2) in a semifinal Tuesday at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Montebello earned the right to advance to the quarterfinal with Long Beach Poly by defeating Corona Roosevelt, 46-43, last Friday in Corona. A 3-pointer by Anthony Osorio with 50 seconds remaining lifted the Oilers to the win.
Worthy, the 6-10 senior, blocked two shots in the game’s final minute to preserve the win. Worthy and Carabes scored 12 points each to lead Montebello.
Carabes poured in 30 points to lead Montebello to a 72-48 victory over Redlands in the first round.
On a side note, two of Montebello’s four losses were to teams – Long Beach Poly and Capistrano Valley – that will be playing in the semifinals. Also, St. John Bosco, which beat Montebello in December, reached the quarterfinals.