It’s Basketball/Soccer/Water Polo/Wrestling Season!

We’re still smarting about the abrupt end of the fall high school sports season, but there’s a silver lining: the winter sports season!

That means we’re gearing up for three months of basketball, soccer, girls’ water polo and wrestling all across the city, and there’s plenty to be excited about. We’ve got a breakdown of every single team and all the top players up at the562.org.

Here’s a few storylines for you.

Boys’ Basketball

Long Beach has two legit Division 1 teams this year in Long Beach Poly and St. Anthony. The Jackrabbits are the 10-time defending Moore League champions and the favorites to win this year. St. Anthony has risen from Division 5 to Division 1 in five years, and the Saints are ranked as high as No. 5 in Southern California.

The Jackrabbits boast the top talent the city has seen in a long time in junior Peyton Watson, a USA Basketball youth player over the summer and a top 40 recruit in the 2021 class.

Girls’ Basketball

Long Beach Poly is the 13-time defending league champion and, ranked No. 13 in the State, are certainly the favorites to do it again. Cal State Fullerton signee Ashlee Lewis and Kalaya Buggs lead a Poly team that’s hoping to contend for a CIF and State title this year.

Girls’ Soccer

Millikan is defending an outright league championship for the first time since 1985, and the Rams will have their work cut out for them to hang onto the trophy. Hungry Long Beach Poly and Wilson teams are coming for the crown, and the games between those three teams have the potential to be classics this season.

Boys’ Soccer

Wilson is coming off its first Moore League title in 12 years, and Cabrillo is coming off the school’s first-ever postseason championship, having won last year’s CIF State Division 2 Regional title. This year’s Moore League crown will come down between those two teams and traditional power Millikan.

Girls’ Water Polo

In the 18 years that the Moore League has had girls’ water polo, only two league championships have gone to a school other than Wilson–and the Bruins are the favorites as usual headed into this season.

Wrestling

The Millikan boys’ wrestling team is the 10-time defending league champion, and the Rams’ girls’ team has won all five league titles since girls’ wrestling became an official sport. The Rams are the favorites once again this year.

Game of the Week

With the winter season just starting there aren’t a lot of games going on yet, but St. Anthony hosts Wilson in a boys’ basketball clash tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m.

Freezing Fresno

The last fall team standing is the Long Beach Poly boys’ cross country team, which is headed to Clovis for the State meet for the third consecutive year. The forecast for the start of Saturday’s State meet in freezing Fresno (or chilly Clovis, to be more specific), is 39 degrees. It may also be raining/hailing/snowing, not exactly ideal conditions for a three-mile race. The Jackrabbits are led by Moore League champion Ronan McMahon-Staggs, who’s hoping for a podium finish at the finals.

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run the562.org, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.
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