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Boys' basketball: Chino Hills begins with 101-82 victory over Rancho Verde

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider

Lonzo Ball drove in from UCLA to watch his brothers and former teammates make their season debut for Chino Hills. It's a different team without him but still entertaining and still capable of scoring points in bunches.

LiAngelo Ball had 26 points, Eli Scott 25, LaMelo Ball 24 and Onyeka Okongwu 20 in Chino Hills' 101-82 victory over Rancho Verde in an opening game of the Corona Centennial tournament.

It was the first-ever coaching victory for new Coach Stephan Gilling, who takes over a team that went 35-0 last season and was everyone's pick for national champion last season.

"I'm looking forward to an extradordinary season," Gilling said.

LiAngelo, a 6-foot-6 senior headed to UCLA, had 20 points at halftime. But he picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, causing his 15-year-old sophomore brother LaMelo to become more aggressive.

Rancho Verde held a 24-21 first-quarter lead and trailed at halftime, 50-46. Ajani Kennedy had an impressive opener, scoring 32 points. Sophomore Jaxen Turner had 22 points.

But Chino Hills had too many weapons and kept attacking from start to finish.

"They're so athletic," Rancho Verde Coach Brandon Baker said. "It's tough to keep up an entire game. My guys gave it all they had."

Chino Hills still can entertain with a flurry of dunks. Scott had the best one in the fourth quarter, and Lonzo stood up to applaud. Okongwu had four dunks on the night.

In another big opener, Chris Williams of Orange Lutheran set a school record with 42 points in a 71-62 win over Redlands East Valley.

Miles Oliver scored 27 points in Etiwanda's 81-35 win over Highland.

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