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Changes are coming to the high school basketball schedule next season

Changes are coming to the high school basketball schedule next season
Andre Ball of Chino Hills goes up for a shot against Las Lomas in Friday's Division I state championship game. Ball, the cousin of Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, was able to avoid injuries this season and was a key contributor to Chino Hills' title run. (Nick Koza)

Big changes are coming to high school basketball for the 2018-19 season.

Changes in the sports calendar will result in the season starting and finishing earlier than ever, with lots more Turkey Classics in addition to Christmas Classics.

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The first games in the Southern Section can be played on Nov. 12. The last regular-season game is Feb. 2. Southern Section and City Section finals are Feb. 22-23.

The state playoffs have been compressed from three weeks into two weeks. The regional finals will be Tuesday, March 5, followed by the state finals Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, in Sacramento.

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Coaches were complaining that there was too much time between games. Now they won't have a week between the regional and state finals.

Teams are having to revise their league schedules, with some having to play league games before January. Others, like the Trinity League, don't want to schedule three league games in a week and will play only one round of league games — five instead of 10.

Schools are allowed to play in 28 games and can play in four tournaments. They are deciding whether to play more nonleague games or more tournaments.

The Nike Extravaganza, normally the first Saturday in February, will be a week earlier. The Rolling Hills State Preview Classic, normally the last Saturday in January, is also moving up a week.

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Basketball isn't alone in its changes. Football practice starts on July 30 for schools with zero week games. Football games begin on Aug. 17 for zero week. The state bowl games are Dec. 7-8 at Cerritos College and around the state.

Also in 2019, high school baseball will begin playing on Feb. 9, with championships in the Southern Section May 17-18. It's going to result in lots of scheduling adjustments in the coming months.

Rise of Andre Ball: Chino Hills' Andre Ball had been overshadowed by his more famous cousins Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, but he's more than come into his own during his senior year.

His development helped the Huskies win the state Division I boys' basketball championship Saturday night at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. He made clutch free throws throughout the playoffs and delivered big baskets when teams tried to focus on 6-foot-9 Onyeka Okongwu.

Pepperdine and Long Beach State stepped forward to make scholarship offers, and others are expected to follow. He's a 6-foot-7 senior who was hampered by injury issues in previous seasons. He played most of this season injury-free and was able to demonstrate his potential.

Coaching changes: The end of the high school basketball season also marks the beginning of coaching changes. There could be some openings announced shortly.

Among the private schools, San Juan Capistrano JSerra has a rare opening in the Trinity League and should be making a hiring announcement soon.

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