|Chino Hills High School’s Lonzo Ball, left, drives up the court as Bishop Montgomery High School’s Ethan Thompson defends during a CIF Open Division State Regional Final at Walter Pyramid on Saturday, March 19, 2016 in Long Beach, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)|
Eric Sondheimer Contact Reporter
Varsity Times Insider | LA Times | March 19 2016 | Article Link
Chino Hills' singular focus to end the basketball season with a state championship is one win away from fruition.
The Huskies, ranked No. 1 in the nation, improved to 34-0 on Saturday night before a standing-room-only crowd of 4,556 at The Pyramid in Long Beach by putting on an unusual display of defensive excellence en route to an 84-62 victory over Torrance Bishop Montgomery in the Open Division Southern California Regional final.
Known more for tying the state record for most games scoring 100 or more points (18), Chino Hills showed it can put together a smothering defensive performance, too.
After opening an 11-point halftime lead, Chino Hills went on a 14-0 run to start the third quarter, and the rout was on.
By the fourth quarter, it was show time. Lonzo Ball scored on a dunk off a lob. Freshman Onyeka Okangwu had a dunk, too.
LiAngelo Ball finished with 27 points. Lonzo Ball had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. LaMelo Ball had 17 points, making four of five shots from three-point range. Okongwu had 15 points and six rebounds. And Eli Scott added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"They were more physical," Bishop Montgomery Coach Doug Mitchell said. "I just thought we were tentative and overwhelmed by the moment. The thing people miss about them is they're a phonomenal rebounding team."
Sophomore David Singleton scored 33 points for Bishop Montgomery (28-3), which suffered two of its three losses this season to the Huskies.
"We've been playing better defense since the playoffs started," Coach Steve Baik said. "We've really targeted the defense. Game after game, we've been getting better and better and tonight was a great defensive effort."
Chino Hills will face Concord De La Salle in next Saturday's 8 p.m. championship game at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
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LONG BEACH >> Everyone knows the Chino Hills boys basketball team is an offensive juggernaut. Well they can play defense too.
The Huskies used a tenacious defensive effort to cruise past Bishop Montgomery 84-62 in the CIF State Open Division Southern California Regional final on Saturday at The Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State.
The win propels the Huskies (34-0) into the state championship game next Saturday against Northern California representative Concord De La Salle a 41-40 winner over Modesto Christian.
“Our guys aren’t going to be happy until they win it all,” Chino Hills coach Steve Baik said. “We have one more to go. As much as we’re known for our offense, tonight and in the entire playoff run we have played great defense.”
The Knights (28-3) looked to be a formidable foe. They faced Chino Hills once before and only lost by four 71-67, although that was six weeks ago. They’re also the No. 2 ranked team in the state. But yes the Huskies appear to be that much better than everyone else right now.
Evidence of that is in their other convincing wins. They beat No. 3 Redondo Union by 16 and have beaten the No. 4 and 5 teams by a combined 70 points, both of those in the playoffs.
All say having played the Knights earlier was beneficial.
“We gave them way too many open looks the first time,” Baik said. “Getting out and contesting those shots was definitely as big part of the game plan and it was the difference.”
Lonzo Ball finished with 13 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists, marking his 16th triple-double of the season. He also had five steals. Junior brother LiAngelo Ball led the way with 27, with the third Ball - freshman LaMelo contributing 17, highlighted by a 4-for-5 showing from long distance.
All five Huskies starters finished in double figures. Freshman Onyeka Okongwu added 15 points and six rebounds while Eli Scott had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“Gelo is the scorer. Melo, he’s just the firecracker, he can shoot from anywhere,” Lonzo Ball said. “The first half we kind of struggled on offense but we did the job defensively.”
Chino Hills never trailed, although it missed some point blank chip shots underneath the basket. Okongwu tallied seven of the Huskies first 13 points, the last of those making it 13-2 with just 1:14 left in the quarter.
The half ended with the Huskies ahead 28-17. They held Bishop Montgomery to a 6-for-22 showing from the field in the first half. Jordam Schakel, who killed the Huskies in the game between the two teasm earlier, went 0-for-8 from the field while Ethan Thompson was 1 for 7.
LiAngelo Ball nailed a 3-pointer to start a 14-0 second half run. He also had the last points in that run, with a bucket inside making it 42-17. The Huskies never looked back.
“He played much better defense this time,” Okongwu said. “We cut down their 3-pointers and contested their shots.”
The Huskies shot 33 of 66 for the game and enjoyed a huge 46-23 advantage on the boards.
Bishop Montgomery hit only 21 of 56 shots, with a 6 for 26 from long distance. David Singleton led all scorers with 33 points, 21 of those coming in the second half.