Just who could be the X-factor for Chino Hills


The talk all season when it comes to the Chino Hills boys basketball team has centered around who will emerge as a scoring threat after the talented Ball brothers – Lonzo and Gelo.

Those two were a big part of the Huskies run to an Open Division title game last year but all basketball enthusiasts recognize that Mark Williams, Bishop Mency and K.C. Cyprian were equally as responsible.

The those three graduated, so what now.

It has taken three-quarters of a season but maybe the Huskies have someone emerging in freshman Cameron Shelton.

He had 13 in the Huskies 67-63 overtime win against Etiwanda tonight. Included in that point total were three 3-pointers, all of which came at crucial times.

He is a freshman starting on a quality team, which pretty much tells you all you need to know. He didn’t have a very good game on Wednesday against Damien, but he bounced back nicely tonight.

He is the team’s third-leading scorer behind the brothers Ball. He also looks pretty poised on the court, even in pressure situations.

“He has a chance to be very special,” Chino Hills coach Steve Baik says. “We have already seen it at times. We just need him to be a little more consistent but the talent is there.”

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Can Chino Hills boys basketball team make another run?


No doubt the Chino Hills boys’ basketball team has talent. Ball brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo (Gelo) are enough to get any team deep into the playoffs.

But can this team win a CIF title, especially considering they’ll most likely be in the difficult Open Division?

After talking with coaches from the other Baseline League teams, the consensus is that will depend on the contribution of the supporting cast.

Last year that duo had some solid players around them in Bishop Mency, now starting at Rice as a true freshman, as well as K.C. Cyprian and Mark Williams.

The Huskies also had a big man in the middle in Nnamdi Okongwu, who tragically passed away over the summer after the injury sustained in a skateboarding accident.

So this season Ball brothers have some unproven players around them. Is there potential? Yes. But they’re still unproven.

The good news is that the Huskies (10-3) have played a challenging schedule which should help those players develop.

Head coach Steve Baik probably thought he was going to have the help those players needed but two transfers, one from Ayala and one from Upland, were not ruled eligible to play by the CIF after those transfers.

Those denials are under appeal but it isn’t often they’re overturned. So the Huskies will be going with the players they have right now.

We’ll see how the season plays out.


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Chino Hills boys basketball team gets national ranking


The Chino Hills boys basketball team is ranked 22nd nationally by MaxPreps.

The Huskies graduated three key seniors but will again be led by the Ball brothers – Lonzo and LiAngelo.

They’re coming off a season in which they went 29-6, won a Sierra league title and worked their way to the Southern Section Open Division Championship

Chino Hills opens the season on Dec. 3 in the Rose City Classic in Pasadena.

There is also much anticipation this year with the Huskies moving into the Baseline League where they’ll compete directly with traditional power Etiwanda.

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Here’s what Huskies’ basketball coach Steve Baik says about Nnamdi Okongwu

Today we lost a significant member in our community. Nnamdi Okongwu was heading into his senior year at Chino Hills High and was one of the best basketball players in California. Tragically, he lost his life due to a head injury while skateboarding.

I feel it is my privilege to recognize and honor one of the most special individuals I have ever known. I loved him for his amazing heart as a person.

This past Friday, Nnamdi had a break from summer school, so he spent his day helping kids at our Summer Basketball Camp. He will be remembered for his amazing, God-given talents. As a basketball player, he had unbelievable natural skills and potential. (He was being recruited by several Division 1 Colleges)

He just loved people and was at his best just being a son, a brother, a friend and a teammate. I would sometimes ask him about his family, and he would always light up talking about them. He often bragged that his younger brothers were going to be better basketball players than him. I could always sense that he was so proud of being a big brother to his siblings and a son to such loving and hard working parents.

Although we cannot comprehend why this has happened to such a special individual, all we know is that Nnamdi was like a seed planted in this world that brought us so much love and joy. His physical life may have ended today, but his legacy as a person will carry on. We will not shrink back and fear because of an accident like this.

We may have lost Nnamdi in this life, but it is only temporary. We will look forward to have eternity with him one day. We will not fear death. We will not fear life.

We will move forward and become better for having known someone so special. We will have a greater love for those around us by being better coaches, parents, sons and daughters, better friends and better teammates.

We will always remember Nnamdi’s big smile and will look forward to seeing it again one day. Our loss today is Heaven’s gain, and we look forward to seeing you again Nnamdi!

With all of our love,

Coach Baik and Your Chino Hills Family

Please support Nnamdi’s family now by donating to them at: www.gofundme.com/4unnamdi

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Chino Hills dominates Sierra League boys basketball selections

MVPs – Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills, Soph., and Jeremy Hemsley, Damien, Jr..

First team
Austin Awosika Ayala, Soph.
LiAngelo Ball, Chino Hills, Fr.
KC Cyprian, Chino Hills, Sr.
Chris Edward, Claremont, Sr.
Malik Fitts, Damien, Jr.
Omar Mahmoud, Claremont, Sr.
Bishop Mency, Chino Hills, Sr.
Mark Williams, Chino Hills, Sr.

Second team
Jacob Estrada, South Hills, Sr.
Baron Franklin, Claremont, Sr.
Isaiah McCullough Damien, Jr.
Nnamdi Okongwu, Chino Hills, Jr.
Darik Pradia, South Hills, Sr.
Micah Robinson, Damien, Jr.
Christian Smith, Ayala, Sr.
Amier Thomas, Charter Oak, Jr.

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Chino Hills boys basketball team makes big statement

No one knew quite what to expect when the CIF announced it was having an “Open” Division in which all the premier teams would compete.

Etiwanda boys coach Dave Kleckner, whose team was among those chosen, was vocal about not liking it. His objection is that his was going to be one of the few public schools lumped in with a bunch of high-profile private schools perceived to have a clear advantage.

Others have said they’d love the challenge if they thought they had the talent to really compete.

Chino Hills boys coach Steve Baik was one of those who was on the fence about it. The Huskies have been an up and coming team in recent years. Well they have officially arrived.

Chino Hills (26-4) will face Mater Dei (28-1) at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Honda Center in the championship game of that Open Division. Winning a CIF title in any Division is an accomplishment so this is the “king” of all accomplishments.

The Huskies weren’t the most talked about team in that Open division to start with but the Huskies are the team people ARE talking about now.

It’s a marvelously talented team with so many weapons. UCLA commit Lonzo Ball, just a sophomore, gets most of the attention. He has a freshman brother LiAngelo that might be even better before its all over. The two combined for a phenomenal play on Tuesday with LiAngelo getting a steal at the opponents end, then unleashing a full-court pass with one hand to his brother who connected for an easy layup. You won’t see a better play!

Seniors KC Cyrpian, Bishop Mency and Mark Williams have been stellar too. It was Cyprian leading the effort on Tuesday with 23 points (6 3-pointers) in a win over Redondo Union.

Big Man Nnamdi Okongwu is just a junior and has a lot of raw talent. He’ll work hard over the summer and should be a beast by next season.

The Huskies could have won Division 1-AA but what they’ll get out of this experience and tournament run will be far more rewarding.








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Etiwanda holds off Chino Hills in IE

VIDEO: Chino Hills ties it before Etiwanda’s Jordan McLaughlin is fouled

VIDEO: McLaughlin’s free throw and steal wins it for Etiwanda

VIDEO: Jordan McLaughlin talks about the final seconds

There were a lot of things that happened in the Etiwanda-Chino Hills game. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Here’s an outline of the final seconds. After LiAngelo Ball’s 3-pointer brought Chino Hills to within 62-61 with about 1:15 to play, Jordan McLaughlin made one of two free throws in the final minute to go up 63-61. Then K.C Cyprian’s only basket of the game, a runner with 20 seconds left, tied the score for Chino Hills, 63-63. Then McLaughlin drove to the hoop again, got fouled with 6.3 seconds to play. He airballed the first free throw, made the second to go up 64-63. He then deflected a pass to Kenny Barnes, who made another free throw with one second left to make it 65-63 and Chino Hills’ desperation heave was off the mark.
  • When was the last time you didn’t see either team get into the bonus until the final 10 seconds of the second half? That’s what happened. I always thought 3 officials meant more fouls, but not in this case as they let them play.
  • It could have an impact down the line for the CIF-SS Open Division. This obviously gives Etiwanda a leg up into the Open Division that he doesn’t really care for. Watching the game, I firmly believe that these are 2 of the top 16 teams in the CIF-SS, but Etiwanda’s win gives the Eagles a better chance at a higher seed.
  • The Ball brothers are ridiculous, but in this game, especially freshman LiAngelo. LiAngelo Ball scored 27 points, making seven 3-pointers on 15 attempts, after starting out 1-for-6 in the first half. Sometimes he was open, but many times he had a hand in his face and it didn’t matter.
  • I’m still really impressed with Kameron Edwards, who is a serious force inside who had 15 points and eight rebounds against a Chino Hills team that has a team full of bigs.

Kameron Edwards 20, Jordan McLaughlin 18, Kenny Barnes 17, Dominick Alexander 5, Delewis Johnson 3, Ermest Carter 2/
LiAngelo Ball 27, Lonzo Ball 14, Bishop Mency 7, Mark Williams 7, Nnamdi Okongwu 6, K.C. Cyprian 2.
Etiwanda 20 21 12 12 — 65
Chino Hills 9 14 20 20 — 63
3-Pointers: McLaughlin (E) 3, Alexander (E), Johnson (E); Li. Ball (CH) 7, Lo. Ball (CH) 3.


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Inland Empire Basketball Classic starts Monday

Do you want to get your fill of high school basketball? Well this is your week as the Inland Empire  Classic gets underway at several area high schools.

The will be 24 teams competing, beginning with pool play. each pool has three teams. Later in the week the winners of each pool advance to elimination play.

Here are the pools and schedule:

Purple pool - RancSo Cucamonga, Fontana, Canyon Springs
Black – Miller, Colton, Corona Santiago
Red – Colony, Rialto, Silverado
Navy – Los Osos, 29 Palms, Sunny Hills
Green – Upland, Apple Valley, Moreno Valley
Grey – Chino Hills, Lakeside, Alta Loma
Silver – Etiwanda, Citrus Valley, Roosevelt
White – Compton, Montclair, Redlands East Valley

Monday’s games

4 p.m. – Lakeside vs. Alta Loma at Rancho Cucamonga
4 p.m. – Montclair vs. Redlands East Valley at Miller
5:30 p.m. – Los Osos vs. 29 Palms at Rancho Cucamonga
5:30 p.m. – Citrus Valley vs. Etiwanda at Miller
5:30 p.m. – Apple Valley vs. Moreno Valley at Colony
7 p.m. – Fontana at Rancho Cucamonga
7 p.m. – Colton at Miller
7 p.m. – Silverado at Colony

Tuesday’s games
4 p.m. – Compton vs. Montclair at Colony
4 p.m. – 29 Palms vs. Sunny Hills at Upland
5:30 p.m. – Chino Hills vs. Lakeside at Colony
5:30 p.m. – Roosevelt vs. Citrus Valley at Upland
5:30 p.m. – Fontana vs. Canyon Springs at Miller
7 p.m. – Rialto at Colony
7 p.m. – Apple Valley at Upland
7 p.m. – Corona Santiago at Miller

Wednesday’s games
3 p.m. -Silverado vs. Rialto at Rancho Cucamonga
3 p.m. – Colton vs. Corona Santiago at Upland
4:30 p.m. – Los Osos vs. Sunny Hills at Rancho Cucamonga
4:30 p.m. – Compton vs. Redlands East Valley at Upland
6 p.m. – Alta Loma vs. Chino Hills at Rancho Cucamonga
6 p.m. Etiwanda vs. Roosevelt at Upland
7:30 p.m. – Canyon Springs at Rancho Cucamonga
7:30 p.m. – Moreno Valley at Upland

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