LA South and Orange County: Long Beach Poly, Mater Dei vie for trip to Galen Center

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
7:57
PM PT
CIF State Division 1 boys' basketball Southern California Regional semifinals: No. 4 Mater Dei (29-3) vs. No. 1 Long Beach Poly (31-1), at Long Beach City College Gymnasium, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Five keys to the game:

1. Sprint, dash and run: It will be the third game in five nights for each squad, so this shouldn't be a transition lover's dream. The light at the end of the tunnel? The winner will have an entire week to rest up for the regional final at Galen Center. Now's the time to leave it all on the floor, tired legs or not.

2. Avoid the whistle: Poly dodged a bullet while senior Alexis Moore sat on the bench for the final minutes against Etiwanda on Thursday. He fouled out on an unsportsmanlike conduct technical and, afterward, vowed not to let it happen again. "I'm just glad my guys were able to get the win without me," Moore said. "I apologized to each one of them, I apologize to this whole city."

3. Get the ball down low: Throwing the ball into the 6-foot-8 Ryan Anderson has been working for Poly, so why would the Jackrabbits go away from him? The Boston College-bound forward must be consistent in establishing deep post position against the undersized Monarchs. There should be no troubles if he does so -- Mater Dei's tallest player stands at 6-7.

4. A third option: Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight knows what he has in Xavier Johnson and Katin Reinhardt. The juniors combined to score 47 of Mater Dei's 72 points Thursday in a win against Loyola. Poly -- which held Etiwanda star Byron Wesley to just 12 points Thursday -- will make someone else beat them.

5. The killer instinct: The Jackrabbits couldn't put Etiwanda away on Thursday and it nearly cost them, as the Eagles made it interesting with an 11-2 run to start the fourth quarter. The Monarchs, meanwhile, trailed Loyola by nine heading into the fourth but came back to win. The last eight minutes should be interesting, to say the least.

Blair Angulo | email

Reporter, WeAreSC.com

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