Varsity Times Insider | LA Times | March 15 2016 | Article Link
Chino Hills High basketball has become the greatest road show hitting Southern California since . . . the Rolling Stones? Bruce Springsteen? The Harlem Globetrotters?
As the venues and games get bigger, the crowds and media interest keep increasing. It reached the point this past weekend that the CIF suspended ticket sales for Saturday's state regional finals at the Pyramid in Long Beach to leave open the possibility of implementing a contingency plan should the unbeaten Huskies make it to the Southern California Open Division final.
Well, it has happened.
Before a sold-out crowd of more than 2,800 at Ontario Colony High, the No. 1-ranked team in America rolled to its 33rd consecutive victory, an 82-62 triumph over El Cajon Foothills Christian on Tuesday night. The Huskies will play Torrance Bishop Montgomery, a 72-56 winner over San Diego Cathedral Catholic.
In an effort to deal with the continuing stampede of Chino Hills fans, the CIF has moved up the start of the six championship games scheduled at the Pyramid from 10 a.m. to 9 a.m. and will require a separate ticket for the Chino Hills-Bishop Montgomery game scheduled for 8:30 p.m. The arena will be cleared after the 5 p.m. Open Division girls' final.
"I never thought it was going to be this crazy," Chino Hills Coach Steve Baik said of the Huskies' season. "What they are doing is special."
UCLA Coach Steve Alford had a front-row seat to watch four UCLA commits on the court.
"It's a great environment," Alford said.
Alford might want to try to get a fifth UCLA commitment in 6-foot-9 Chino Hills freshman Onyeka Okongwu, who contributed 19 points and 11 rebounds and frustrated 6-10 UCLA recruit T.J. Leaf of Foothills Christian at times in the first half.
"He had a big-boy game," Baik said. "O was huge."
Leaf finished with 36 points and ended his high school career with 3,022 points.
"He's the best player I've played against this season," Okongwu said.
UCLA-bound Lonzo Ball struggled with his shooting but still finished with 23 points. Eli Scott had 19 points.
Ball and Scott each started the fourth quarter with four fouls. Baik left them in the game, and Chino Hills quickly extended a 14-point lead.
"We've been playing in situations like this all year," Baik said. "We trust them to make the right decisions."
Ball will get a chance to make amends for his worst game of the season. He made only two of 21 shots in a 71-67 victory over Bishop Montgomery on Jan. 30.
"I'll be ready to go," he said.
Bishop Montgomery got 26 points from sophomore David Singleton in its win over Cathedral Catholic.
In Division I, Morgan Means made two free throws with 1.8 seconds left to give Redondo a 63-62 win over Harbor City Narbonne. Encino Crespi defeated San Diego St. Augustine, 68-55, as De'Anthony Melton scored 26 points.
Follow Eric Sondheimer on Twitter @LATSondheimer