When is a loss perhaps a victory in disguise?
Try Saturday's spirited championship game of the Fairfax tournament.
For two weeks, Chino Hills has been running and gunning and routing opponent after opponent. Then the Huskies took on Crespi, the defending state Division IV champions who hope to be an Open Division team next season.
Chino Hills held on for a 70-67 victory, but Crespi Coach Russell White accomplished his main goal, exposing his players to a team they will have to beat when it really counts in March during the Open Division playoffs.
Crespi gave Chino Hills all it could handle with outstanding play from rising sophomore guards Brandon Williams and Taj Regans and standout senior De'Anthony Melton. The Celts took care of the basketball and made some open shots. Melton had 20 points, Williams 18 and Taj Regans 17.
It took clutch free throws from Chino Hills' Lonzo Ball to keep the Huskies ahead in the closing seconds of a terrific Fairfax tournament final. Ball finished with 23 points.
Centennial defeated Mater Dei, 65-58, in the third-place game. Jordan Griffin scored 25 points. Fairfax defeated Santa Monica, 61-35. Long Beach Poly defeated Windward, 69-62. Orange Lutheran won the consolation title over Loyola.
In the Compton tournament championship game, Bishop Montgomery defeated league rival Cathedral behind Ethan Thompson and David Singleton.
Based on a busy opening month of summer basketball, it appears that Chino Hills, Bishop Montgomery, Crespi, Mater Dei, Sierra Canyon and Corona Centennial are six teams to reckon with when the season begins in November.