No. 1 Poly throttles nationally-ranked California school in Beach Ball opener; Murray scores 23

Poly’s Brandon Murray takes off to slam down two of his 23 points Friday night against California’s Harvard Westlake in the opening round of the Beach Ball Classic. The No. 1 Engineers handed Harvard Westlake, ranked 19th nationally by MaxPreps, its first loss, 56-46, in a quarterfinal match inside the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina.

Poly High boys basketball felt slighted when it wasn’t listed in national preseason rankings, especially with four starters back from last season’s Class 3A state championship three-peat squad. But like its meteoric rise locally, the Engineers’ play, not words, will get them the respect they desire on a larger scale.

Friday night in Myrtle Beach, Poly got some major attention. The top-ranked Engineers defeated California’s Harvard Westlake, 56-46, in the opening round of the Beach Ball Classic inside the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in South Carolina.

Senior guard Brandon Murray scored 23 points for Poly (5-0 overall), and Marquette University recruit Justin Lewis added a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds. Holden McRae led Harvard Westlake with 10 points.

The Engineers led wire-to-wire against the Los Angeles private power (12-1), ranked 19th in the latest MaxPreps national rankings, to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal against St. John’s College from the District. The winner Saturday will play either Arizona’s Millenium or nationally-ranked Long Island (N.Y.) Lutheran in the semifinals Monday.

Poly scored the game’s first nine points against Harvard Westlake, which shot just five-of-23 in the opening half. The Engineers led 34-12 late in the opening half, setting for a 34-14 advantage.

Harvard Westlake rallied in the second half, closing to 42-33 on a basket from junior Trumann Gettings with five minutes, three seconds left. Murray answered for Poly with a jumper and, after a Harvard Westlake miss, Lewis finished a Raymond English pass with a dunk for a 13-point advantage.

English, Lewis and senior point Rahim Ali each finished with four assists for the Engineers, who shot 36-percent in the second half (nine-of-25) after a 12-for-27 first half start. Murray went 11-of-18 from the field.

Beach Ball Classic

at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Convention Center

No. 1 Poly 56, Harvard Westlake (CA) 46

Harvard Westlake – McRae 10, Hubbard 6, Gettings 4, Dottin 2, Hooks 8, Hinton 7, Thrower 9. Totals 19 6-10 46.

Poly – Lyndsay 2, Lewis 15, Ali 5, Evans 6, Murray 23, English 3, Lamothe 2. Totals 21 8-11 56.

Harvard Westlake 14 32 – 46

Poly 34 22 – 56