Chino Hills boys will learn from tough state setback

Chino Hills coach Steve Baik talks about double overtime loss to San Ramon Valley

The Chino Hills boys basketball team couldn’t quite finish the job. The Huskies lost the Division I state title game to San Ramon Valley 79-71 in double overtime Friday night at Cal-Berkeley.

There will be a lot of “what ifs” for the Huskies. The biggest of those . . . What if star player Lonzo Ball hadn’t fouled out with 3:17 left in regulation of a nip and tuck contest?

The Huskies did will to survive a first overtime but collapsed in the second. But give San Ramon Valley some credit. The Wolves made all the clutch shots down the stretch.

The Huskies have gotten just enough offense from players not named Ball to advance this far. But in the end the inexperience of those players showed.

The scarey thing, the entire team will be back in tact. The team has five seniors, but only one of those saw significant playing time, that being Jared Nyivih. They’ll also have the two transfers who weren’t eligible and are expected to be huge contributors next year in Shane Hopkins (Ayala) and Eli Scott (Upland).

They’ll also have another Ball, this one also supposedly very good.

Look for the Huskies to use this loss as motivation moving forward.


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Chino Hills boys basketball team to play in Florida next December

The Chino Hills boys basketball team has developed a national reputation in the past couple of years led by a marquee player in UCLA-bound junior Lonzo Ball.

Well the Huskies will be part of the 43rd Culligan City of Palms Classic field Dec.18-23 in Fort Myers, Fla. The event has become one of the nation’s premier basketball events.

The event features 20 teams from around the country, 16 of which compete in one main bracket with four others in what is called a Signature Series. Those schools are typically from basketball academies/boarding schools.

Tournament Director Donnie Wilkie says Chino Hills was one of the first schools he locked in for the coming season. He typically tries to get teams from different geographic regions while sprinkling in some locals.

Sierra Canyon, which won the Division V state title early Friday, played in the event last year. Mater Dei has competed there on multiple occasions.

“We try to get the big fish from as many ponds as possible and then put them in one big pond,” Wilkie said. “We’re about great teams and great players but great stories too.”




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Chino Hills Lonzo Ball, Damien’s Jeremy Hemsley honored

Junior Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills and senior Jeremy Hemsley of Damien have led their respective teams to state tournament championship games. So not surprisingly they have earned special recognition.

Both are among the seven recipients named winners of the John R. Wooden Award for their division. Ball was the honoree in Division 1 while Hemsley is the honoree in Division 3.

They are in select company. Here is the list of those honored:

* Open – Lindsey Drew, Los Angeles Fairfax
* Division I - Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills
* Division II – Chimezie Metu, Lawndale
* Division III – Jeremy Hemsley, Damien
* Division IV - Stephen Thompson Jr., Bishop Montgomery
* Division V - Cody Riley, Sierra Canyon
* Division VI - Roderick Williams, Price

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Lonzo Ball leads Chino Hills into state title game

He runs. He jumps. He passes the ball with pinpoint precision. He scores at will. Defense? He plays that pretty well too.

Yes he probably leaps tall buildings in a single bound.

He’s Chino Hills junior guard Lonzo Ball. If you haven’t seen him play do yourself a favor and make a it a point to do so next season, his senior campaign.

He’s one of those players that come around every 10, maybe 20 years or so. He’s a lean 6-foot-6 but he plays much bigger than that.¬† His game is so well rounded it’s scarey.

Most think he’ll be one and done at UCLA, then go on to the NBA. That’s a lot of expectations for a guy not out of high school but he passes that eye test. Everywhere I go basketball fans and true experts are talking about him, even when his team isn’t necessarily playing.

He single-handedly propelled¬† Chino Hills to a 62-51 win over Corona Centennial in the Division 1 Southern California Regional at The Pyramid In Long Beach. His line for the night – 26 points, 15 rebounds, 8 steals, 5 assists, 3 blocked shots. That’s pretty insane when you think about it.

Despite how good he is, he is still pretty grounded and has a good temperment on the court.¬† He stole the ball right out of the hands of Centennial’s Ike Anigbpgu in the closing seconds of the third quarter with Chino Hills up 45-34. The Centennial player, perhaps a little embarrassed and frustrated had a few choice words and it looked like there might be minor skirmish. Ball just shook his head, grinned and walked away.

Here’s what Centennial coach Josh Giles had to say about him:

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Chino Hills to sell advance tickets for boys basketball game

Anyone hoping to take in the Open Division boys basketball quarterfinal between Chino Hills and Mater Dei on Wednesday is advised to get tickets in advance because there likely won’t be any available at the venue before the game.

All the details are still being worked out and the contract is expected to be signed today with the game being played at Colony High School.

The CIF directed Chino Hills to move the game because it’s gym holds just 1,300, well under what the CIF wants for a game of this magnitude.

Students can purchase tickets at the student store during school hours.

The general public may also purchase tickets at the school between noon and 2:50 p.m. but must check in at the main office and they will be directed back to the store.

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Open Division basketball bids to come out Friday

The CIF will announce the Open Division bids for basketball at 3 p.m. on Friday. There probably won’t be any drama when it comes to what local teams are selected.

The Baseline League teams all play their last game today but those won’t change anything.

Damien (22-3, 8-1) is a shoe-in. The Spartans finished first in the difficult Baseline League and took three of four head-to-head meetings with premier teams in Etiwanda and Chino Hills. That’s reason enough to include them. But they also have some quality wins out of league to bolster their resume.

Etiwanda (19-7, 7-2) finished second to Damien. The Eagles also beat both Chino Hills and Damien the second time through league play after losing the first time to both. Like Damien, Coach Dave Kleckner’s team has played a top-notch schedule.
And heck, they’re Etiwanda. History alone would indicate they’re deserving.

Chino Hills (9-15) will likely end up third in the league. Yes there was a matter of those nine forfeits. But the Huskies had a great run in the Open Division last year, advancing to the final before losing to Mater Dei. They have played national caliber schedule. And they have a marquee attraction in Team Ball. They’re going to be in, even if they end up fourth.

On the girls side the lone team that should get in and will is Etiwanda (15-6, 9-0). The Eagles are a perennial title contender on the girls side too. Even though Coach Anders Anderson graduated nine players, he’s still loaded. And he has probably played the most difficult schedule of any team anywhere.

Despite graduating so many players the Eagles still won every league game by 20 points or more. Yes they have a game left but it will be a win. They’re in too.

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Will Chino Hills be without key player tonight against Damien?

Gelo Ball in game against Dmaien earlier this year.

The Chino Hills boys basketball team could be without a key player tonight when it takes on Baseline League frontrunner Damien.

Sophomore standout LiAngelo (Gelo) Ball, the team’s leading scorer, sustained a sprained ankle in the Huskies win over Upland on Tuesday. He scored 12 points in the first quarter before being injured and did not return.

There was no need for him to even try to come back as the Huskies coasted to a 97-45 victory.

The Huskies look like a shoe-in for an Open Division bid and they’re chances of winning the league title are pretty slim after the nine forfeits, two of which were league wins.

If there is even a doubt, they’d probably be better off sitting him and making sure he is ready to go for the playoffs in two weeks because there will be no easy games in the Open Division.

If you want to give him some minutes in the regular season finale just to shake off the rust and test the ankle, then fine.

We’ll see what happens tonight. Tip off is set for 6:30 at Damien.

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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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