It’s the most wonderful time of the year; playoff time in the LBC.
The time of year when coaches and sportswriters kiss their loved ones on the head and say, “See ya in a month!”
No less than 16 different Long Beach high school teams across four sports will compete in the playoffs this week. That group is headlined by the football playoffs on Friday, but there’s also girls’ volleyball, boys’ water polo, and girls’ tennis action as well.
We’ve got a few playoff superstitions. Mike doesn’t shave or cut his hair during the playoffs, which means that when there’s a good run by a local team, he ends up receiving adoption offers from local animal lovers.
The biggest games of the week will all be on the gridiron, with no less than five local teams playing first-round playoff games. Long Beach Poly hosts Orange Lutheran, Wilson hosts Fullerton, St. Anthony hosts Newport Harbor, Compton travels to El Rancho and Lakewood travels to Brea Olinda.
Game of the Week
Long Beach Poly hosting Orange Lutheran will be the biggest game of the week, big enough that Fox Sports is pulling up to Veterans Memorial Stadium for the first-round clash. The Jackrabbits were left out of the eight-team Division 1 bracket, but will still host a marquee-type game between a traditional public school power in Poly and a Trinity League private program in the Lancers.
Water Polo Playoffs
The big news for the water polo playoffs is Wilson.
The Bruins are down in Division 3 for the first time, as one of America’s best water polo programs fell on some hard times in the last few years. The time is right for Wilson to strike with a reloaded roster of talent in the younger classes. Wilson is seeded No. 1 in the Division 3 bracket and favored to win what would be the school’s 13 CIF-SS championship in the sport.
The Bruins open the playoffs at the Belmont Pool at 5 p.m. Tuesday evening and would play again Thursday and Saturday. Millikan and Poly also host first-round playoff matches, Tuesday evening.
It’s been a busy week already for Long Beach’s high school tennis players. Because of the air quality concerns last week, the Moore League tournament was completed on Monday of this week, instead of last Friday. California Academy of Mathematics and Science’s Jody Chang became the first CAMS athlete to win a Moore League title, with Poly’s Kate Johnson and Ava Deguzman winning the doubles title.
League champion Poly, Wilson, Millikan and Lakewood will all open the playoffs this week.
Moore League Cross Country Finals
An exciting Moore League cross country season is coming to a close on Wednesday afternoon at Heartwell Park, with varsity races beginning at 3:30 p.m. Team and individual champions will be decided by the results on Wednesday, with CIF-SS racing to follow a week and a half later.
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