State Teams of the Year 2016

Leaonna Odom from State Team of Year Chaminade and Li'Angelo Ball from State Team of Year Chino Hills look to score in state final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Leaonna Odom from State Team of Year Chaminade and Li’Angelo Ball from State Team of Year Chino Hills look to score in state final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

It’s time to get out the record books for the Chino Hills boys and Chaminade girls as they are officially named Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year in basketball. For Chino Hills, it’s also not too early to compare the Huskies to some of the greatest teams in state history. While Chaminade didn’t actually reach the top of the state’s heap on the girls side until its final game, the All-American duo of Leaonna Odom and Valerie Higgins merit some all-time comparisons as well.

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With two weeks to go in the California prep basketball season, mentions of all-time greatness were being tossed around for both a boys and girls team that were consensus No. 1-ranked teams in the nation.

One of those teams – the Chino Hills boys – completed its mission by winning the CIF Open Division state title last Saturday in Sacramento with a 70-50 win over De La Salle of Concord. The other team – the St. Mary’s of Stockton girls – did not, which cleared the way for Chaminade of West Hills to go all the way to the top. The Eagles did just that last Saturday with their 80-71 win in the CIF Open Division over previously unbeaten Miramonte of Orinda.

LaMelo Ball gives us clenched teeth look similar one we've seen for many years from Kobe Bryant. Photo: Willie Eashman.

LaMelo Ball gives us clenched teeth look similar one we’ve seen for many years from Kobe Bryant. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Chino Hills was the Cal-Hi Sports preseason No. 1 team in the state and behind leading Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year candidate Lonzo Ball ended up going wire-to-wire. Ball, joined in the starting lineup by younger brothers Li’Angelo and LaMelo, orchestrated an attack that reached the 100-point mark 18 times. That total tied the Cal-Hi Sports state record of 18 100-point games set in 1996 by Balboa of San Francisco.

Another state record that the Huskies tied, of course, was the 35-0 mark of Santa Ana Mater Dei from two years ago when the Monarchs won their fourth straight CIF state title. Before Mater Dei went 35-0, the best record in state history was a 34-0 total set in 1982 by Drake of San Anselmo. Note: There are many other teams with losses in the state record book with more than 35 wins.

Mater Dei’s 35-0 squad from two years ago also is a great place to start when trying to put this year’s Chino Hills team into historical perspective. While the Monarchs did complete a run of four straight state titles that season, they did not get a win like the Huskies had at last December’s City of Palms tourney in Florida when they beat Montverde Academy of Florida 83-82 and went on to win the tourney title. Montverde still hasn’t lost to anyone else and may be the favorite to win another Dick’s National title next weekend. Mater Dei of two years ago also was not a consensus No. 1 team in the nation while everybody right now has Chino Hills on top.

“Statistically, they are one of the most dominant teams in state history,” said Ronnie Flores, the managing editor of Cal-Hi Sports and director of the FAB 50 national rankings. “In terms of greatest, especially when talking about teams before the CIF state playoffs, some of those teams played better schedules than casual fans think (like unbeaten 1980 Inglewood).

“There also were some great teams that had college-level players on the bench and won over more than one season,” Flores continued. “I’m thinking of teams like Compton 1968-69 and McClymonds of Oakland 1958 to 1960. That just makes it harder to compare for a team that was unbeaten for one season and without the knowledge on how the players did when they played at higher levels, even the NBA.”

Other than Lonzo Ball, of course, it may take awhile to find out how this year’s Huskies will do in college and beyond since four of the starters will be back next season and two of them – LaMelo Ball and center Onyeka Okongwu – were just freshmen.

Another factor that points to Chino Hills’ favor is that the team knocked off 11 teams that at one point were in the FAB 50 national rankings. One of those teams, Foothills Christian of El Cajon, was beaten three times. Two others, Bishop Montgomery of Torrance and High Point Christian of North Carolina, were defeated twice.

Valerie Higgins celebrates with teammates after Open Division state final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

USC-bound Valerie Higgins celebrates with teammates after Open Division state final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

There is no doubt, on the other hand, that the Huskies are the greatest/best team ever from the Inland Valley/Inland Empire. This year’s team, in fact, is the first ever State Team of the Year in boys basketball from that region.

For the Chaminade girls, meanwhile, they are not the first-ever State Team of the Year from the San Fernando Valley but they are the first since El Camino Real of Woodland Hills went unbeaten in 1979.

The Eagles will move up from No. 2 to No. 1 in the final state rankings after their win last Saturday over previous No. 1 Miramonte of Orinda. St. Mary’s of Stockton, which had been No. 1 in the state and nation since the preseason, was upset in the CIF Northern California Open Division semifinals 72-69 by Pinewood of Los Altos Hills, Pinewood then lost to Miramonte in the NorCal Open Division final.

At least one national ranking still has St. Mary’s No. 2 in the nation and highest among all California teams based on its results from two major national tournaments from last December. At Cal-Hi Sports, however, a team cannot have lost its last game and then be State Team of the Year unless that last game was to an out-of-state opponent in an exhibition or special matchup.

Chaminade’s four losses makes it very tough for the team to get much all-time greatness consideration, but many along press row on Saturday night were thinking about any other pair of players on the same team who have shined quite like the Eagles’ duo of Leaonna Odom and Valerie Higgins.

“They’re definitely in the top five,” said Harold Abend, who is Cal-Hi Sports’ lead analyst on girls basketball. “You’d have to rank Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Jordan Adams (Mater Dei) higher as well as Alexis Gray-Lawson and Devenai Hampton (Oakland Tech) because they won multiple state titles. Other than them, I’m not sure I’ve seen any better.”

Congratulations to all of the players and coaches for the 2016 State Teams of the Year from Chino Hills and Chaminade. A list of State Teams of the Year through the years for both boys and girls follows.

Ivan Rabb of Bishop O'Dowd goes well above the rim to get to a shot by K.J. Smith of Mater Dei during 2015 CIF Open Division state final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Ivan Rabb of Oakland Bishop O’Dowd goes well above the rim to get to a shot by K.J. Smith of Mater Dei during 2015 CIF Open Division state title game. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Cal-Hi Sports Boys Basketball
State Teams of the Year All-Time List

2016 – Chino Hills (35-0)
2015 – Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (28-4)
2014 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (35-0)
2013 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-2)
2012 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-2)
2011 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (32-3)
2010 – Los Angeles Westchester (32-3)
2009 – Los Angeles Westchester (35-2)
2008 – Oakland McClymonds (32-0)
2007 – Lakewood Artesia (33-2)
2006 – Lakewood Artesia (32-1)
2005 – Los Angeles Westchester (25-3)
2004 – Los Angeles Westchester (23-2)
2003 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-2)
2002 – Los Angeles Westchester (32-2)
2001 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (33-2)
2000 – Compton Dominguez (35-2)
1999 – Compton Dominguez (32-3)
1998 – Los Angeles Westchester (29-3)
1997 – North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (35-1)
1996 – Compton Dominguez (34-2)
1995 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (36-1)
1994 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (29-2)
1993 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (26-2)
1992 – Alameda St. Joseph (32-3)
1991 – Alameda St. Joseph (31-3)
1990 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-1)
1989 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (25-2)
1988 – Los Angeles Manual Arts (27-3)
1987 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (31-1)
1986 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (25-2)
1985 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (24-0)
1984 – Long Beach Poly (31-2)
1983 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (27-2)
1982 – Carson (26-2)
1981 – Long Beach Poly (26-2)
1980 – Inglewood (29-0)
1979 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (28-1)
1978 – Pasadena (26-2)
1977 – Oakland Fremont (25-1)
1976 – Long Beach Poly (30-1)
1975 – Elk Grove (27-5)
1974 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (30-2)
1973 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (29-2)
1972 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (30-1)
1971 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (29-2)
1970 – Berkeley (32-0)
1969 – Compton (30-0)
1968 – Compton (32-0)
1967 – Los Angeles Fremont (16-2)
1966 – Los Angeles Jordan (18-0)
1965 – Long Beach Poly (29-3)
1964 – Long Beach Poly (32-1)
1963 – Oakland McClymonds (19-3)
1962 – Oakland McClymonds (23-0)
1961 – Compton (28-3)
1960 – Oakland McClymonds (22-0)
1959 – Oakland McClymonds (22-0)
1958 – Oakland McClymonds (21-0)
1957 – San Francisco Poly (28-1)
1956 – El Cerrito (31-1)
1955 – Alhambra (27-2)
1954 – San Francisco St. Ignatius (26-2)
1953 – Los Angeles Loyola (34-2)
1952 – Compton (32-0)
1951 – Los Angeles Jefferson (27-0)
1950 – Chico (15-3)
1949 – Los Angeles Washington (21-0)
1948 – San Francisco Lincoln (29-2)
1947 – Los Angeles Mt. Carmel (34-2)
1946 – Stockton (20-2)
1945 – San Diego Hoover (16-1)
1944 – Alameda (15-1)
1943 – San Francisco St. Ignatius (14-0)
1942 – Palo Alto (18-0)
1941 – Glendale Hoover (21-1)
1940 – Long Beach Poly (22-2)
1939 – San Francisco Lowell (17-3)
1938 – Whittier (24-3)
1937 – San Francisco Lowell (17-3)
1936 – San Diego (14-1)
1935 – Santa Barbara (14-1)
1934 – Santa Barbara (16-1)
1933 – Stockton (16-2)
1932 – San Francisco Lowell (18-3)
1931 – Whittier (25-1)
1930 – Palo Alto (13-0)

Note: List continues back to 1903 in Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac. All selections prior to 1975 made retroactively based on research by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis.

Sierra Smith of Stockton St. Mary's surveys the floor during 2015 CIF NorCal Open Division championship. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Sierra Smith of Stockton St. Mary’s surveys the floor during 2015 NorCal Open Division final. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Cal-Hi Sports Girls Basketball
State Teams of the Year All-Time List

2016 – West Hills Chaminade (31-4)
2015 – Stockton St. Mary’s (34-1)
2014 – Long Beach Poly (27-3)
2013 – Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (30-3)
2012 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-3)
2011 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-1)
2010 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (32-1)
2009 – Brea Olinda Brea (33-2)
2008 – San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral (33-0)
2007 – Long Beach Poly (36-1)
2006 – Fullerton Troy (33-1)
2005 – Piedmont (32-2)
2004 – Piedmont (33-2)
2003 – Lynwood (32-1)
2002 – Lynwood (32-0)
2001 – Harbor City Narbonne (28-3)
2000 – Harbor City Narbonne (34-0)
1999 – San Jose Archbishop Mitty (31-0)
1998 – Harbor City Narbonne (32-1)*
1997 – Berkeley (29-3)
1996 – Irvine Woodbridge (32-2)
1995 – Irvine Woodbridge (33-1)
1994 – Brea Olinda Brea (33-0)
1993 – Lynwood (31-0)
1992 – RH Estates Peninsula (33-0)
1991 – Berkeley (30-2)
1990 – Inglewood Morningside (32-3)
1989 – Inglewood Morningside (33-1)
1988 – Fremont Oakland (28-0)**
1987 – San Diego Point Loma (34-0)
1986 – San Diego Point Loma (31-1)
1985 – Compton (26-0)
1984 – Ventura Buena (31-0)
1983 – Ventura Buena (28-4)
1982 – Riverside Poly (34-0)
1981 – Riverside Poly (29-0)
1980 – Berkeley (29-0)
1979 – Woodland Hills El Camino Real (19-0)
1978 – Huntington Beach (25-2)
1977 – Los Angeles (16-0)
1976 – Ventura (23-0)
1975 – Chula Vista Hilltop (18-0)
1974 – Berkeley (19-1)
1973 – Fresno San Joaquin Memorial (12-0)
1972 – Ventura Buena (8-0)

*Forfeit losses not included. CIF Division I state title vacated due to residency issues.
**Eleven wins forfeited due to use of ineligible player.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports


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