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Boys' basketball: Lonzo Ball fouls out and San Ramon Valley wins Division I title

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider

Frustration was visible on the faces of Chino Hills players and their coach, Steve Baik. Their opportunity for a state Division I championship appeared to crumble with 3:18 left in regulation at Haas Pavilion on Friday night when standout junior guard Lonzo Ball was called for his fifth foul during a loose ball situation.

He ran off the court disgusted. The Huskies ended up losing in double overtime, 79-71, to San Ramon Valley.

"It's really frustrating," Baik said. "I'm disappointed we weren't allowed to play with the guys who deserved to be on the court. San Ramon Valley played a heck of a game."

Ball finished with 30 points and his brother, LiAngelo, scored 23 points until he fouled out in the second overtime.

Keith Smith, the nephew of L.A. Windward coach Steve Smith, had 20 points for San Ramon Valley (27-6). Christian Fuca, whose father, Joey, was an athlete during his days at Crespi High, had 18 points, including four threes.

"We made some critical mistakes in not guarding Fuca," Baik said.

Smith, in discussing the strategy for Ball, said, "We tried to attack him every chance we got. He's a key component to everything they do, so the idea was to get him out of his comfort zone, be physical and tire him out. He's an unbelievable player. One of the best I've played against."

Chino Hills finished 14-17, including nine forfeit losses. The Huskies are expected to be one of the top teams in the state next season. The Ball brothers will be joined by their third brother, LiMelo, an incoming freshman.

But the memory of Friday's loss will be hard to get rid for a while.

 

Twitter:@LATSondheimer

 

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