Corona Centennial and Chino Hills engaged in a memorable overtime thriller on Saturday night in the Southern California Regional Division I final at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills made a three-pointer with 32 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, 64-64. KC Cyprian then barely missed on giving Chino Hills a victory in regulation when his shot at the buzzer went in and out.
In overtime, Deontae North of Centennial scored seven of his 27 points to lift his team to an 80-73 victory and its first berth in the state championship game in Sacramento. Centennial (29-3) will face Monte Vista in the 8 p.m. final on Friday at Sleep Train Arena.
Earlier in the week, Centennial defeated Loyola in overtime.
"It was an amazing atmosphere," said North, a Long Beach State signee who had 13 rebounds. "We had the same situation against Loyola. We told each other we've been here before and can do it again."
Chris Famous, who finished with eight points, contributed a big basket in overtime. Sedrick Barefield had 21 points and five assists. Kyle Hamilton added 11 points.
Ball struggled shooting, making six of 16 shots, but he made two three-pointers in the fourth quarter under pressure to rally Chino Hills (29-6), which produced enough turnovers in the final two minutes of regulation to wipe out an eight-point deficit. Ball finished with 17 points. Cyprian had 15 points, Bishop Mency 14, Mark Williams 12 and LiAngelo Ball 10.
"In the second half, we played great for the first 14 minutes," Centennial Coach Josh Giles said. "The last two minutes we were playing not to lose. We were panicking."
But Centennial was able to re-group in overtime to earn its first trip to Sacramento.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," Giles said. "Two years ago, these juniors went 7-19 as freshmen. We were getting beat up. To come back this quick and have an opportunity to play for a state title speaks to their work ethic."
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