There was tough defense, clutch shots and great coaching. Not bad for the championship game of the Redondo tournament in the opening week of the high school basketball season.
Long Beach Poly came away with a 63-61 overtime victory over Redondo, with 6-foot-5 sophomore Zafir Williams earning MVP honors after a 27-point performance in the final.
At one point in the first half, Poly fell behind by nine points. But that’s when Coach Shelton Diggs got his team to enter defensive mode, and Redondo suddenly began to struggle. The rest of the game was back and forth.
Elijah Nesbit, a 5-foot-2 junior, made major contributions for Redondo, contributing 15 points, including a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter. His pass to Billy Preston for a dunk with 55 seconds left tied the game in regulation, 57-57.
Jordan Dallas, who finished with 15 points for Poly, had two big baskets in overtime. Two missed free throws by Leland Green with 5.3 seconds left could have sent the game into a second overtime.
What was learned is that both teams are likely to be Southern Section Open Division representatives. Point guard KJ Feagin made some nice assists and provided court leadership for Poly. Preston, only a sophomore, figures to get better each game.
In the third-place game, St. John Bosco defeated Westchester, 57-50. Rodney Henderson had 17 points and Vance Jackson 16. Evan Council scored 17 points for the Comets.
In the fifth-place game, Calabasas received 25 points from Conner Longmire in a 56-53 win over Gardena Serra. Taft won the consolation title with an impressive 67-58 win over Santa Monica. Damian Wilson scored 16 points and Darius Henderson had 15. Taft appears to be one of the top four teams in the City Section this season. Jonah Mathews led Santa Monica with 22 points.
Compton defeated Inglewood, 53-52. Narbonne defeated Mayfair, 54-48. Campbell Hall got 22 points from Jordan Cohen in a 62-51 win over Peninsula. Lawdale defeated Hart, 59-51, with Chimezie Metu scoring 28 points.
In a nonleague game, Windward defeated Oaks Christian, 74-64. Jalen Harris scored 24 points. The first high school game for freshman Austin Galuppo of West Ranch turned out to be one to remember. He made a three-pointer at the buzzer to give West Ranch a 68-67 victory over Viewpoint. Ryan Beddeo scored 32 points for West Ranch.