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.
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.
BOX SCORE ETIWANDA (65)
Kameron Edwards 20, Jordan McLaughlin 18, Kenny Barnes 17, Dominick Alexander 5, Delewis Johnson 3, Ermest Carter 2/ CHINO HILLS (63)
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.
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
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
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
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