Ball brothers lead Chino Hills past El Cajon Foothills Christian, 85-83

Ball brothers lead Chino Hills past El Cajon Foothills Christian, 85-83
UCLA-bound point guard Lonzo Ball drives to the basket against Foothills Christian's T.J. Leaf (left) and Omajae Smith earlier this season. (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

The Chino Hills boys' basketball team is having a ball this season behind its multi-skilled band of brothers.

The UCLA-bound trio of Lonzo, LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball put on a show for the capacity crowd, which included UCLA Coach Steve Alford, who must have liked what he saw in the Huskies' 85-83 victory over El Cajon Foothills Christian in Saturday's feature game of the Sierra Canyon Super Showcase in Chatsworth.


The Ball brothers combined for 63 points as Chino Hills, ranked No. 1 in the Southland by The Times and No. 1 in the nation by USA Today, improved to 14-0 and defeated Foothills Christian for the second time this season.

Lonzo, a 6-foot-6 senior point guard, had 25 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, and made the tying and winning free throws with 10.1 seconds left and added another with 0.8 seconds left to provide the final margin after a tip-in attempt by Knights guard Jordan Starr rolled off the rim.

"I hate to lose and as much as I try to get my teammates involved I wanted the ball in my hands at the end," Lonzo said. "We three [brothers] have good chemistry because we grew up playing in the backyard together, we live together and we all know what the others are going to do."

LiAngelo, a 6-6 junior shooting guard, finished with 21 points and LaMelo, a 5-10 freshman point guard, had 17 points, including four three-point baskets. LiAngelo and LaMelo have committed early to UCLA.

"Now that we're No. 1 in the country we know every team we play is going to come and out and try to knock us off and we have to be ready," LiAngelo said.

Foothills Christian (9-3) was led by UCLA signee T.J. Leaf, a 6-10 senior forward who had 43 points.

"Lonzo does everything well ... he's a great passer and his defense is sometimes overlooked but he has really quick hands and you have to protect the ball at all times," Leaf said. "He's going to get his, you just have to limit what everyone else does. Next year is going to be a blast playing with him and Coach Alford is a great coach to play for."

Chino Hills outscored the Knights, 28-16, in the second quarter to take a 45-40 halftime lead and led by seven points entering the fourth quarter before surviving a furious Foothills Christian rally.

Lonzo enjoyed going head to head against Leaf in a game of "Can you top this?"

"It seemed like he scored 60 on us," Ball said. "He's one of the best big men in the country and I can't wait to play with him."


Sierra Canyon, ranked No. 2 by The Times and seventh nationally by USA Today, capped off the eight-game event with a 74-59 victory over Las Vegas Desert Pines.

Devearl Ramsey led the way with 18 points, Adam Seiko had 16, Terrence McBride had 15 and Cody Riley added 14 points for reigning Division V state champion Sierra Canyon, which built a 44-21 halftime lead.

The Trailblazers (11-1) are still waiting to hear when and if 6-10 transfer Marvin Bagley III, the top-rated sophomore center in the country, will be ruled eligible by the CIF Southern Section. Bagley III left Phoenix Hillcrest Hoops Academy in early November. As a freshman he averaged 19.6 points and 10.3 rebounds while leading Tempe Corona del Sol to its fourth straight Division I title.