Sunday, March 27, 2016

PERFECTION: Chino Hills wins State Championship

Chino Hills High School’s Lonzo Ball, right, drives up the court as De La Salle High School’s Jordan Ratinho defends during the Open Division CIF State final basketball game on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Ca.  (Micah Escamilla/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
Chino Hills High School’s Lonzo Ball, right, drives up the court as De La Salle High School’s Jordan Ratinho defends during the Open Division CIF State final basketball game on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin) 
SACRAMENTO >> At long last, there was a celebration.
The Chino Hills boys basketball team had promised as much all along the way, but its celebrations at each stop to this point had been rather modest.
But with no other games to look forward to, the Huskies could finally let loose - and they did.
The Huskies polished off Concord De La Salle 70-50 to win the CIF State Open Division championship on Saturday at Sleep Train Arena. It was the program’s first state title and it comes in the school’s second try in boys basketball.
“I’m just in awe right now,” Chino Hills coach Steve Baik said. “We played a tough schedule and so many things could have happened but they were just determined and they were going to finish the job.”
Last year, Chino Hills advanced to the title game in Division I and was favored but lost to San Ramon Valley in overtime. That misstep motivated Chino Hills throughout its 35-0 campaign.
“That wasn’t a good feeling and we didn’t want to let that happen again,” said Lonzo Ball, the lone senior on the squad.
It was the final time the popular Ball brothers played together in high school.
Junior LiAngelo Ball recorded 18 points and seven rebounds. Lonzo Ball had 15 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals and was the catalyst of the third-quarter run that made the difference.
Freshman LaMelo Ball scored 14 points.
Players not named Ball were stellar as well. Eli Scott tossed in 16 with eight rebounds and Onyeka Okongwu tallied seven with nine rebounds and five blocks.
The final few minutes turned into a personal Ball dunk fest, igniting the large crowd. It was a popular sendoff.
Baik told his guys “you better celebrate.”
The contest took a bit of a different turn as the Huskies were actually challenged. They had won every playoff game big, with an average margin of victory in the playoffs of 31 points.
But this time the Huskies struggled out of the gate and played from behind much of the first half. Concord De La Salle did a good job of spreading the floor and hitting the boards. It didn’t help that the Huskies got in early foul trouble.
The Spartans led by as many as 10 at 19-9 late in the first, but Chino Hills crept back and trailed 20-14 after one and 30-28 at the half. It marked the first time since a Jan. 30 game against Bishop Montgomery that the Husikes were down going into the locker room.
They regrouped at the intermission and set the tone for the rest of the contest in the opening minutes of the third quarter. A driving layup by Lonzo Ball started a 14-2 run and tied the score at 30.
A Spartans turnover led to a fast break 3-pointer by LaMelo Ball that gave the Huskies a 33-30 lead they never relinquished.
Lonzo Ball was mobbed after the game by media as well as autograph seekers. He also tried to enjoy a few minutes with his brothers. Had it sunk in that it was the last time the three will play together in high school?
“Not yet,” he said. “We’re just trying to enjoy it right now.”

Freshman LaMelo Ball had 15 points in Chino Hills' 70-50 win over Concord De La Salle in the CIF Open Division Championship on March 26.
 (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

Varsity Times Insider  |  LA Times  |  March 26 2016  |  Article Link

Iwas halftime Saturday night in the CIF Open Division state championship boys' basketball game. Unbeaten Chino Hills trailed Concord De La Salle by two points. Lonzo Ball, the national player of the year, sat in a chair looking out onto the court at Sleep Train Arena with a steely gaze on his face that offered a hint of what was to come.
Chino Hills turned up the defensive pressure, went into attack mode and put on a show in the third quarter. The Huskies went on a 15-2 run that featured consecutive dunks by the 6-foot-6 Ball. By quarter's end, there were blocked shots by Onyeka Okongwu, a three-pointer by LaMelo Ball, a three-pointer by LiAngelo Ball. And Lonzo Ball was involved in seemingly everything — rebounding, assisting, leading and coaching.
By game's end, Chino Hills was celebrating perfection after a 70-50 victory gave the Huskies a 35-0 record and the No. 1 ranking in the nation. The crowd of about 5,000 was treated to a dunkathon in the fourth quarter.

Ball brought his teammates together at halftime to give them a talk.
"I told them I know what it's like to lose," he said, referring to the last time the Huskies lost, a double overtime game in last year's Division I state final. "We're 10 times better than them. Settle in."
Ball finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. LiAngelo Ball had 18 points, Eli Scott 16 and LaMelo Ball 15.
"He just knew we weren't playing our game and got into them a little in the locker room," Coach Steve Baik said. "We trust that guy. He's proven it over and over where he can win the game for us and we knew it was going to be our night."
De La Salle (31-3) executed its game plan to perfection in the first half by spreading out on the court with two guards up front against the Chino Hills trapping zone defense. The Spartans would get the ball in the middle and attack. Jordan Ratinho had 11 points in helping the Spartans open a 19-9 lead in the first quarter and lead, 30-28, at halftime. He finished with 16 points.

Follow Eric Sondheimer on Twitter @LATSondheimer

STATE BASKETBALL: Chino Hills Huskies enjoy perfect finish over DLS in Open title game

SACRAMENTO -- The coronation party had to wait two quarters to get going. And when it did, it was something to see.
With a second half to remember, the Chino Hills boys basketball team punctuated a perfect season Saturday night, surging ahead in the third quarter and defeating Concord De La Salle, 70-50, for the CIF-State Open Division title in the final high school championship at Sleep Train Arena.
Chino Hills, the consensus national No. 1, fulfilled a season of expectations with the win. That, of course, included the usual array of crisp passes, thunderous dunks, and eventually, a locker room ice bath for Coach Steve Baik as the Huskies tossed whatever they could find in the air in celebration.
“I am so proud of these guys,” Baik said. “Obviously, tonight was a challenge, but the whole year was a challenge. For everything to fall into place is a miracle."
“It’s definitely a special story.”
Senior Lonzo Ball, the UCLA commit and Gatorade Player of the Year, had 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in the victory, while junior and younger brother LiAngelo Ball had 18 points. Younger brother and freshman LaMelo Ball scored 14 and freshman Eli Scott had 16. Chino Hills finished the season 35-0.
“I can’t imagine anything better,” Lonzo Ball said.
And when the state championships move to the new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento next year, these Huskies might be back as Lonzo is the only Ball brother graduating.
First, though, the Huskies were tested in Saturday's first half by De La Salle, Northern California’s No. 1 seed. De La Salle led by 10 points early, but the Huskies started the second half on a 13-2 run and were never challenged again. Chino Hills outscored the Northern regional champ, 19-5, in the third quarter.
What won’t be remembered from this game, in which the Huskies were able to showcase their high-flying routine in the fourth quarter, is the sensational defense that broke down the Spartans. De La Salle did everything but kneel down to slow the game’s tempo.
“In the past in a game like this, we might have,” Baik said, when asked if there were any concerns when De La Salle took a 30-28 lead into halftime. “We needed something to open up.”
And so it did in the third quarter, when Lonzo Ball drove for a bucket to open the quarter, Lamelo hit a 3-pointer and freshman Onyeka Okongwu converted a 3-point play.
Chino Hills held De La Salle to 25 percent from the floor in the second half – after the Spartans (31-3) hit half of their field goals in the first 16 minutes – while the Huskies shot 53 percent in the final two quarters.
Then came the fun in the fourth quarter. Lonzo Ball brought the crowd to its feet with a sensational swan song, as he scored on three consecutive alley-oop dunks at the end of the game.
De La Salle falls to undefeated Chino Hills in state title game
By Phil Jensen,
POSTED:   03/26/2016 09:45:40 PM PDT | ARTICLE LINK   |    UPDATED:   ABOUT 7 HOURS AGO

SACRAMENTO -- For one half, De La Salle High shocked the high school basketball world in the CIF Open Division state championship game Saturday.
De La Salle, playing against Chino Hills, the consensus No. 1 team in the country, held a 30-28 halftime lead. But Chino Hills showed in the second half why it is so highly regarded, outscoring the Spartans 42-20 to win 70-50 at Sleep Train Arena.
"The second half, we weren't able to execute at that level and they raised the bar a little bit," De La Salle coach AJ Kuhle said. "Our guys compete. They come out and play every possession hard."
Chino Hills (35-0) showed in the first minute of the second half that it was determined to speed up the pace. De La Salle (31-3) did an excellent job in the first half of controlling Chino Hills' fast break defensively and slowing the pace down offensively. The Spartans shot 50 percent from the field (11 for 22) and limited Chino Hills to 36.7 percent field goal shooting.
"They are a great team at controlling the ball and dictating the pace," said Chino Hills coach Steve Baik about De La Salle. He also said that the most important words at halftime in the Chino Hills locker room weren't delivered by him, but by 6-foot-6 senior point guard Lonzo Ball, who is considered by many to be the best player in the country.
"The biggest thing was Zo got on the guys," said Baik, who also said that the Huskies gave up too many first-half points to Emeka Udenyi. The junior had nine of his 11 points in the first half.
Lonzo Ball, who scored only three points in the first half thanks to impressive defense by De La Salle's Jordan Ratinho, opened the second-half scoring with a drive for a layup just 10 seconds into the third quarter. A 3-pointer by freshman LaMelo Ball gave Chino Hills the lead for good with 7 minutes, 17 seconds left in the third quarter. Those two baskets started a 27-5 run by Chino Hills that gave it total control.
Chino Hills entered the game averaging an eye-popping 98.3 points per game. The Huskies had two players averaging more than 23 points per game entering Saturday — LiAngelo Ball and Lonzo Ball. Lonzo also broke Jason Kidd's state career assists record this season.

The Huskies, who were limited to their second-lowest point total of the season by De La Salle, had balanced scoring in its championship win.
It was paced by junior LiAngelo Ball with 18 points. Teammate Elizah Scott had 16 points, including seven in the fourth quarter. Lonzo Ball finished with 15 points and LaMelo Ball had 14 points. Lonzo Ball, who was 7 for 17 from the field, also had 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals.
De La Salle was paced in scoring by Ratinho with 16 points. Both Nikhil Peters and Udenyi had 11 points for the Spartans. Udenyi also had a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Spartans showed from the opening tip that they weren't intimidated by Chino Hills. A Ratinho 3-pointer accounted for the first points of the game, and the Spartans held a 20-14 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Ratinho had 10 of those De La Salle points, and Udenyi had five.
But Chino Hills went on a 9-0 run at the start of the second quarter to take the lead. De La Salle battled back and scored the last four points of the first half on a 3-pointer by Peters and a free throw from Ratinho for the 30-28 advantage.

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