LONG BEACH -- Ryan Anderson had such an advantage down low that he could have posted huge numbers. Instead, he settled for something better: rest.
Anderson sat for most of the second half and still finished with 17 points and nine rebounds Tuesday night, leading Long Beach Poly to an easy 77-46 victory against Palisades Charter at Ron Palmer Pavilion. The top-seeded Jackrabbits (30-1) advanced to the second round of the CIF State boys' basketball Division I playoffs. They will play Etiwanda on Thursday in a rematch of last week's CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA semifinals.
"It was good to be able to get guys rest," Poly coach Sharrief Metoyer said. "The schedule is grueling this week if you're able to make it to Saturday. It was good to get our starters off their feet in the fourth quarter."
In reality, the game had been over for a while. Poly blitzed No. 16-seeded Palisades (18-14) and led 44-21 at halftime behind 15 points from Anderson. The remaining 16 minutes of play were a mere formality.
Anderson added a bucket in the third quarter and took his seat for good with more than 10 minutes remaining. Roschon Prince had 17 points and Chris Camper had 15 for the Jackrabbits. Palisades wing Ilya Ilyayev led all scorers with 20.
"What you saw was a group of kids that continued to be extremely focused throughout the game," Metoyer said. "There wasn't any let up in terms of our mindset and our determination. That continued into the fourth quarter until the [starters] went out of the game."
Poly remained aggressive despite the large lead, driving to the basket on every possession and forcing turnovers on the other end. As a result, the Jackrabbits shot 23 free throws in the second half. Metoyer gave the Palisades bench a few glances as if to ask, "Do we really have to drag this out?"
He couldn't have been too happy with the hard fouls. Then again, Palisades coach James Paleno and his players couldn't have been too happy with Poly's numerous dunk attempts.
But, really, there didn't seem anything malicious about the Jackrabbits' play. Poly treated Palisades as it did Corona Centennial in winning the CIF-SS Division 1AA crown last week. Anything not to get blindsided.
They want to add "2011" to the state title banner that hangs in the gym.
"It's a step by step process," Anderson said. "You can't get to the championship unless you win the first game. Each game, it's going to get harder. This was a good game for us tonight."