It was a high school basketball game that lived up to the hype.
Chino Hills and Lake Balboa Birmingham were supposed to score lots of points and unleash lots of dunks. Fans who started lining up 3 1/2 hours before game time outside of Ontario Colony to be among the 2,800 inside were entertained from start to finish.
After 15 dunks were delivered and 240 points were scored, Chino Hills (30-2) came away with a 130-110 victory to advance to Tuesday’s Southern California Open Division regional semifinal game against top-seeded Torrance Bishop Montgomery. It was third-highest combined points by two teams in state history, according to CalHiSports.
LiAngelo Ball scored 52 points for Chino Hills. LaMelo Ball had 17 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. Eli Scott scored 21 points and Onyeka Okongwu and Ofure Ujadughele added 20 points apiece.
Birmingham (27-4), the City Section champion, was inspired and cheered on by fans who arrived in five buses from the San Fernando Valley and the Patriots fought to the very end. Devante Doutrive scored 39 points, Devonaire Doutrive had 25 points and Deschon Winston scored 18 points.
Birmingham Coach Nick Halic kept telling his players to “attack.” It was something opponents rarely try to do against Chino Hills.
"Kudos to them," Okongwu said.
“It was fun,” Winston said. “It was like an intense pickup game without a lot of defense.”
Chino Hills had spent two weeks stewing after its overtime loss to Santa Ana Mater Dei in the Southern Section Open Division semifinals.
“We just had to come back a little more hungry, keep moving forward,” Okongwu said.
Okongwu unleashed a flurry of dunks in the fourth quarter to help the Huskies overcome the loss of Scott to five fouls in the third quarter.
Birmingham’s big mistake was falling behind late in the first quarter after being tied, 20-20. The Patriots committed a series of turnovers.
“We got into trouble early and didn’t take care of the ball,” Winston said. “We had this game. We couldn’t finish it.”
Birmingham closed to within 11 points early in the fourth quarter before Chino Hills did what it does best — score in rapid fashion to pull away.
Chino Hills will face Bishop Montgomery on Tuesday. The Knights won the Open Division title and won Friday over Torrey Pines, 64-49.
“I love the competition,” Okongwu said of facing Bishop Montgomery.
The big upset Friday was San Diego St. Augustine defeating Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, 88-81. St. Augustine made 14 three-pointers and received 27 points from junior Taeshon Cherry.
St. Augustine will play at Mater Dei on Tuesday. The Monarchs defeated Westchester, 74-60. Bol Bol had 22 points and 10 rebounds. Michael Wang added 16 points.