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.