Time is now for Compton in Moore League
COMPTON, Calif. — Depth isn’t just the number of players on a particular team. It’s the number of players that contribute.
Compton (13-3, 2-0 Moore League) gets contributions from each member of its basketball team. All nine of them.
If you take a look up and down Compton’s bench while any given game is in play, you’ll see more staff members in street clothes, eight, than you’ll see players in uniform, four.
"It’s tough," said head coach Tony Thomas who is in his eighth season coaching the Tarbabes. "For practice, we need 10 bodies.
Still, this is supposed to be the year Compton gets over the hump also known as Long Beach Poly in the Moore League. The Jackrabbits (11-6, 3-0 Moore League) have won the last four league championships and will take a 53-game Moore League winning streak into Wednesday’s showdown with Compton. The Tarbabes will be looking for their first win over Long Beach Poly since sweeping the season series in the 2007-08 season.
This year we have great leadership and we should be able to do it. That’s the thing that caused us from getting over the hump in the past.
Youth, inexperience and lack of leadership have led to Compton’s shortcomings against Long Beach Poly in recent years.
The leadership, they feel, is now strong in tri-captains Bailey, Iziahiah Sweeney, and Kyron Cartwright.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Thomas and Cartwright, the point guard, were on a string during games.
There is constant communication between the two. The Tarbabes point guard is constantly checking in with his head coach. On just about every dead ball, you can look over to the Compton bench and see point guard and head coach standing side by side discussing strategy, making sure they’re on the "same page." Cartwright is the leader among leaders in helping the Tarbabes to 13 wins in their first 16 games.
Be not misled, however. The leadership is not just verbal. All three are more than capable of leading by example with their stellar play. Bailey is headed to Fresno State, Cartwright to Loyola Marymount, and Sweeney, undecided, has offers that include Gonzaga and Nevada.
If there was a time for the Tarbabes, that time is now. They have a nucleus that has endured some hardships on the floor together. Kameron Chatman, who was expected to lead Long Beach Poly this season, transferred back to Oregon before the start of the season and the Jackrabbits longtime leader Sharrief Metoyer is serving a one-year suspension.
"They’re good," Thomas said of Long Beach Poly. "People underestimate them not being as good as the past but they’re still good."
Added Cartwright: "We know what it takes and we had two years we should have got (the Moore League title) …this year we’re ready."