Chino Hills Winning Streak Snapped

Oak Hill’s David McCormack and Chino Hills sophomore big man Onyeka Okongwu battle for position during Saturday game at Nike Extravaganza. Photo: Andrew Drennen.

National FAB 50 No. 5 and state No. 2 Chino Hills saw its 60-game winning streak snapped against national power Oak Hill Academy in the final game of the 2016 Nike Extravaganza. Read on for analysis, significance and what it means for the upcoming CIF Southern Section Open Division playoffs. Also on Saturday in big event at Mater Dei of Santa Ana, state No. 1 Sierra Canyon wins behind record performance by Marvin Bagley while host Monarchs (state No. 4) triumphant as well. Make sure Check out Top 25 player rankings on our sister site GrassrootsHoops.net on Sunday after the event.  

For Friday night scores/recaps, CLICK HERE.

(Cal-Hi Sports state rankings are referenced where it applies; Saturday games written up first. New State Top 20 rankings will be released Monday night. It will be a Gold Club post so to get it you will need to be a member. If you’re not and are interested, CLICK HERE.)

Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 96,
No. 2 Chino Hills 91 (FULL Video Highlights)

When a team is on a long winning streak, the law of averages will eventually catch up to it. Something could go wrong at any time: injury, a bad shooting night or just plain dumb luck.

Melo Ball’s shooting and court skills helped pave way for Chino Hills to win 60 straight games covering the entire 2015-16 season and then the first 25 games of 2016-17. Photo: Andrew Drennen.

The team at Chino Hills came into Saturday night’s showdown with perennial power Oak Hill Academy of Virginia having won 60 consecutive games in various fashions: tight one possession games (as was the case versus Jefferson of Brooklyn last season), gut check wins where it did not shoot well (as it did in its state No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown last season against Bishop Montgomery) and entertaining blowouts as has been the case in many of the wins.

Chino Hills was facing a talented foe that could match its talent, and also came in loose and with motivation to win. Oak Hill Academy opened up the season ranked No. 1 in the preseason FAB 50 national team rankings published by Ballislife.com, but suffered three losses along the way. That’s where the looseness came in — Oak Hill Academy really didn’t have much to lose. The motivation was there because Oak Hill Academy saw its 56-game winning streak snapped by another California team, Sierra Canyon, also the state’s current top-ranked team, earlier this season in Indiana and because its players wanted to snap Chino Hills’ long streak on its home soil.

As it does against many teams, Chino Hills raced out to an early lead, but Oak Hill was resilient throughout and was able to gut out a close victory to snap the third longest winning streak in California boys basketball history at 60 games, seven short of breaking the state record of Compton High set in the late 1960s. In the end, Chino Hills lost its first game since the 2015 CIF D1 state final the way it won 60 games thereafter, by firing away without reservations and playing a loose, fast-paced brand of basketball that required excellent rebounding.

Trailing 94-91, Chino Hills (25-1) got one last chance to tie the game with 9.9 seconds remaining after forcing a turnover underneath its own basket. According to sophomore guard La’Melo Ball, the plan was the Huskies’ normal out of bounds play designed for his older brother Li’Angelo Ball or himself in the opposite corner. Gelo Ball got the ball and fired away a 3-pointer that was contested by Oak Hill’s Billy Preston, but it was off. After Melo Ball was called for an over the back rebounding foul with a few ticks remaining, the streak was all but over.

Gelo Ball finished with 23 points and five assists, but made only 8-of-35 field goal attempts, including 4-of-22 3-point attempts. Still, Oak Hill Academy (27-3) found itself down early and trailed by as many as 14 points (45-31) in the second quarter. The main reason was the play of Melo Ball, who showed in this game he has a chance to be a special talent in the mold of older brother Lonzo Ball. He drove by older guards, broke them down at the top of the key to create looks or sprinted past them in transition. He finished with 36 points, on 12-of-26 shooting including 7-of-14 on 3-pointers, nine rebounds and three assists.

“We knew their guards were tough, we knew we were in for a fight, but we didn’t know Melo could get in the key like that,” said Oak Hill Academy guard Lindell Wigginton. “At halftime coaches told us we have to rebound the ball.”

If Melo Ball was the reason the Huskies took control early, Wigginton, bound for Iowa State, was the reason for the Warriors’ comeback win. He willed Oak Hill mentally and also produced when it counted. Oak Hill entered the final quarter trailing 72-68 and was behind 80-72 with five minutes remaining but the powerful guard originally from Nova Scotia, Canada scored 14 points over the last five minutes of the game on a variety of tough pull ups and drives to the basket. He finished with 35 points, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers.

“We were confident, but we didn’t play like I thought we would to begin the game,” said Oak Hill coach Steve Smith. “We got open threes in the first half we just didn’t hit. We had some chemistry problems the first 20 games, but we’ve been playing real well in the last three weeks. Our guys really wanted to break the Chino Hills winning streak.”

Chino Hills out-rebounded Oak Hill in the first half 26-24, but by the end of the game Oak Hill held the advantage, 52-47. Although he made four costly open court turnovers, senior forward Billy Preston worked hard around the rim and made a couple of huge field goals for the Warriors, finishing with 16 points and 21 rebounds. A McDonald’s All-American, Preston previously played at Redondo Union of Redondo Beach and St. John Bosco before moving to Texas for his junior season.

For Chino Hills, LMU-bond Eli Scott was efficient with 12 points and 16 rebounds, while sophomore Onyeka Okongwu had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

“We’re going to learn from this and we got to stay focused,” Gelo Ball said. “There’s no excuses, I’ve got to use better shot selection.”

Chino Hills will go down with the third longest winning streak in state history, but has the CIFSS Open Division playoffs coming up. From a national perspective, it will fall behind Oak Hill Academy in the FAB 50 (which was No. 12 coming in), but will likely stay at No. 2 in the state rankings. Top-ranked Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth now has an important common opponent factor in its favor (it beat Oak Hill), so it’s obvious the Trailblazers will remain No. 1 in the state and deserve the top seed in the playoffs should it close the regular season without another loss. Chino Hills also has a previous win over state No. 4 Mater Dei.

It was a great ride for this team and its fans, but it has to quickly re-focus because it potentially has even bigger games coming up in the post-season.

“Always proud of these guys, they are the hardest working guys I’ve been around and people don’t get to see that,” said Chino Hills coach Stephan Gilling. “Of course the outcome was not what we wanted, but I clearly communicated with the team we have to move on. I communicated to them that goals we set as a team still remain.”

For more national perspective on Chino Hills’ winning streak and full game highlights via Ballislife.com, CLICK HERE.

ALL-TIME STATE RECORD LIST
MOST CONSECUTIVE WINS

Source: Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book

66 — Compton, 1967-1969
65 — Oakland McClymonds, 1957-60*
60 — Chino Hills, 2015-2017
59 — Santa Ana Mater Dei, 1984-86
57 — San Anselmo Drake, 1980-82
53 — Compton, 1951-53
53 — Stockton Stagg, 1971-73
49 — La Mesa Helix, 1968-70
49 — Cloverdale, 1982-84
48 — Oxnard Santa Clara, 1988-90
46 — Bakersfield East, 1966-68
46 — Easton Washington Union, 1984-86
46 — Santa Ana Mater Dei, 2013-2015

*Three abbreviated post-season games (one half in length) at the 1957 Acker Tournament in Redding are not officially counted as wins. If those three were counted, Mack’s streak would be 68.

Note: Chino Hills is No. 5 in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. Oak Hill is ranked No. 12.

No. 4 Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 74, No. 10 St. Augustine (San Diego) 62

The host Monarchs defeated San Diego County’s top-ranked team in a game where the fans were buzzing in anticipation of the big showdown between Chino Hills and Oak Hill Academy. Although many were distracted or just settling in their seats, for many it was the first glimpse of 7-foot-1 Bol Bol and they were not disappointed.

A sign outside Mater Dei on Saturday shows how hard it was for fans to get a ticket to see the final games in person. Photo: Nick Koza

Mater Dei (26-1) took control early and the crowd went bonkers when Bol went through his legs on a breakaway dunk . Mater Dei led 30-21 at halftime and its lead grew to as large as 19 points (51-32).

St. Augustine (21-4) competed and closed the game strong in the fourth quarter, preventing a complete Monarchs runaway. Talented junior forward Teashon Cherry scored a team-high 24 points for the Saints. Senior guard Otto Taylor added 15, but St. Augustine shot only 34 percent (24-of-71) from the field.

Mater Dei shot 56 percent (32-of-57), led by Bol (13-of-16) and recent Cal commit Justice Sueing (9-of-13). Bol finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. Sueing netted 20 points.

Even though Chino Hills suffered its first loss the the season on Saturday, Mater Dei is still likely to enter the CIFSS open division playoffs seeded No. 3 behind the Huskies and state No. 1 Sierra Canyon. Mater Dei’s only loss this season came at the hands of Chino Hills, but will Bol be the open division’s X-factor? Will he be the difference in the outcome if the teams were to meet in the post-season?  

Note: Mater Dei is ranked No. 18 in the FAB 50.

No. 1 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 98, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 72 

There was no doubt this Sierra Canyon team was going to be very good based on last year, but it’s clear with the addition of junior Marvin Bagley this team has a chance to be special. Bagley is proving to be a special player, and is giving this team the opportunity to be special. Bagley, a 6-foot-10 forward with speed like a guard, ran and jumped faster and higher than everyone else on the court, scoring 43 points on 14-of-22 shooting while pulling down 14 rebounds and blocking three shots.

Cody Riley has been a standout at Sierra Canyon for four years. Photo: sierracanyonschool.org.

“With Marvin we can get out and run more, whether he’s leading the break or me,” said UCLA-bound Cody Riley, who added 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Trailblazers. “I also have gotten to work in the high post more and if I take a jumper, I’m confident someone is there to get the rebounds.”

Sierra Canyon (23-1) is physically dominant and Riley also said senior leadership and experience has made a difference, but it’s hard to ignore how athletically gifted Bagley is compared to the competition. Last season Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills had a magical season at played at a level rarely seen in the annals of SoCal high school basketball, but the whispers are growing that Bagley is playing at a similar level. He’s that gifted and like Ball has some talented teammates to work with.

With his performance, Bagley broke the individual Nike Extravaganza game scoring record by two points. In the previous 21 events, the highest scoring output was a 41-point performance by Shabazz Muhammad of Bishop Gorman versus Whitney Young of Chicago in 2012. Muhammad currently plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Gaels head coach Grant Rice surely could have used that kind of scoring pop versus California’s top-ranked team.

Senior guard Christian Popoola Jr. led Bishop Gorman (14-9) with 22 points, while junior Jamal Bey added 21 points. McDonald’s All-American Charles O’Bannon Jr. struggled from the field (1-of-16) and finished with four points.

Adam Sieko, man, nobody will talk about how he held O’Bannon to zero points in the first half,” said Sierra Canyon coach Ty Nichols. “San Diego State is getting a hell of a player.”

Note: Sierra Canyon is ranked No. 2 in the FAB 50.

Poly (Long Beach) 72, Orange Lutheran 49

Poly senior Jeremiah Sadler sparked the Jackrabbits to victory with his hot shooting in a game in which the outcome was never in doubt. Sadler, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, hit 5-of-9 on 3-pointers and finished with 26 points. He had four 3-pointers and 16 points in the first half as Poly (19-6) had a 27-11 lead after one period.

According to Devin Ugland of HoopsByUgland.com, Sadler is now just routing into form after having a heart operation in the off-season. He was a part-time starter for last year’s team that advanced to the CIF D2 state title game, where it lost to Serra of San Mateo. Poly didn’t play in the CIFSS Open Division playoffs last year, but will be a middle of the pack seed this season and therefore won’t be back in D2 for the regional/state playoffs.

Orange Lutheran (11-15) was led in the scoring department by Josh Griffin and Isaiah Pope, who each netted 10 points.

Legendary Oak Hill Academy head coach Steve Smith (coach on left) gets surrounded by happy players after his team came from behind on Saturday night to edge a Chino Hills team from California that was No. 1 in the nation last year and was pushing for a repeat performance this season. Photo: Nick Koza.

No. 13 Santa Margarita (RSM) 59,
No. 9 Fairfax (Los Angeles) 51

In a matchup of state-ranked teams, Santa Margarita knocked off a ranked team in a showcase game for the second consecutive weekend. Last week, it defeated No. 14 Centennial without Darmouth-bound Adrease Jackson. On Saturday, the Eagles had a solid all-around performance to knock off the higher ranked Lions. The basic difference was the second quarter, as Santa Margarita (19-5) outscored the Lions, 17-11. The score was tied 13-13 after one period and both teams scored 18 points each in the fourth period.

Kaden Rasheed led four Santa Margarita (21-3) players with 14 points. Sophomore Jake Kyman had 13 points, while Jackson added 11 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Jamal Hartwell led Fairfax with 15 points, while Robert McCrae and Kirk Smith each scored 11 points. The Lions continue to play without sophomore guard Ethan Anderson.

No. 14 Centennial (Corona) 83, Los Altos (Hacienda Heights) 53

Although the Huskies won’t capture the Big VIII title, they are prepping for the upcoming CIF Southern Section playoffs and came away with a quality win. Centennial (20-7) was sparked early by UCLA-bound center Jalen Hill and never looked back. He converted three lobs early in the game and had 16 points in the first half. Hill finished with 21 points and 17 rebounds.

Los Altos (20-4) played better in the second quarter and got to within 28-22 after trailing 20-3 to begin the game. Los Altos was out-rebounded 55-28 and shot 30 percent (17-of-57) from the field, while the Huskies shot 51 percent (36-of-71).  Sophomore Jared Lucas scored 13 points for the Conquerors. He was an all-state freshman after last season.

Centennial got 13 points and 10 assists from senior point guard Isom Buter and freshman Jaylen Clark added 12 points and six rebounds. On Tuesday, Centennial had lost UC-bound Gio Nelson for the year to a knee injury, but added Riverside Poly transfer D.J. Davis on Thursday versus Corona. He scored seven points in that game and had six in 19 minutes versus Los Altos. A 5-foot-11 freshman, Davis was averaging over 23 ppg per game at Poly. Can he potentially make the all-CIFSS team for one team and participate in the CIFSS Open Division playoffs for another?

Los Alamitos 54, Villa Park 48

Jacob Eyman led the Griffins with 25 points and seven rebounds while Julien Franklin topped the Spartans with 23 points. Los Al shot 47 percent (13-of-38) from the field and Villa Park connected on 33 percent (20-of-61).

St. John Bosco (Bellflower) 81,
Capistrano Valley (Mission Viejo), 75 (3 OT)

In a game that could have really set back the day’s schedule if it kept going and going, Makani Whiteside of the victorious Braves wound up with a game-high 30 points. Alpa Okoli added 19, which also was the total of Capo Valley’s top scorer, Nic Lipovic. He also went 5-of-8 on 3-pointers.

Capo Valley was leading 54-40 entering the fourth period after outscoring Bosco 18-5 in the third, but was outscored 18-4 in the fourth to send the game into overtime. Whiteside, one of the better sophomores in SoCal, got hot in the second half to lead the Braves. He netted 22 points in the second half and overtime, including a 3-pointer with 28 seconds remaining in the third OT that gave his team a 79-75 lead.

JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 73,
Dos Pueblos (Goleta) 51

It was an easy win by Mater Dei’s Trinity League rivals inside the Monarchs gym as Joel Mensah topped all scorers with 21 points and also had seven rebounds. Bryan Hustrulid also had 16 points for the Lions while Diego Riker rolled up 16 for the Santa Barbara area school.

For Top 25 player rankings from the event, visit GrassrootsHoops.net on Sunday.

Ronnie Flores is the managing editor of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at ronlocc1977@yahoo.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores


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  1. By Nike Extravaganza: Top 25 Player Rankings on February 8, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    […] Chino Hills Winning Streak Snapped | Oak Hill vs. Chino Hills: Epic Game […]

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