Column: Chino Hills defeats Sierra Canyon, 105-83, for first section title

Chino Hills' Cameron Shelton (20) and Liangelo Ball (2) go for the block on Sierra Canyon's Terrance McBride (3) during the CIF Southern Section Championships on March 5.

Chino Hills’ Cameron Shelton (20) and Liangelo Ball (2) go for the block on Sierra Canyon’s Terrance McBride (3) during the CIF Southern Section Championships on March 5.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Early in the first quarter of Saturday’s Southern Section Open Division championship game at Honda Center, Chino Hills students started throwing around beach balls and a plastic green alligator in the seating area while their No. 1-ranked basketball team began to dismantle another opponent.

Even Chino Hills fans need a little distraction on occasion.

Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (26-4), considered the second-best team in California, fell behind by 18 points in the first quarter, trailed by 23 points at halftime and never figured out what to do to counter Chino Hills’ scoring surges.

The Huskies (31-0) cruised to their first Southern Section championship, 105-83, and provided plenty of entertainment in the process.


There was an Eli Scott dunk down the lane that had some 12,000 fans screaming in delight. There was a 30-foot three-pointer by 14-year-old freshman LaMelo Ball. And there was the Huskies reaching 100 points for the 17th time this season, one short of tying the state record.

“To do what Chino Hills has done against the competition they’re playing against is truly something we don’t see often in high school basketball,” Sierra Canyon Coach Ty Nichols said.

No one was more impressive than the UCLA-bound Lonzo Ball, everyone’s No. 1 player in California. All he did was score 20 points, grab 17 rebounds, hand out 10 assists and block four shots.

“That’s what pros look like when they’re 18, 19 years old,” Nichols said.


LiAngelo Ball scored 31 points and LaMelo Ball finished with 26 points on 11-for-17 shooting. Remy Martin led Sierra Canyon with 31 points.

Chino Hills hardly celebrated after the win. It’s clear the Huskies’ primary goal is spending March 26 in Sacramento playing for a state championship.

“We’re glad about the win, but at the end of the day, we still got to get one more,” Lonzo Ball said. “It’s another step. We took that step and now we have to get to the top.”

There’s little explanation for what’s been happening to Chino Hills opponents other than to say it’s a season like few others in Southern California history. The Huskies are blowing out good teams, and they’re doing it with a style that just hasn’t been seen before.


“What separates Chino Hills is their commitment to their system and it fits perfectly their kids,” Nichols said.

Follow Eric Sondheimer on Twitter @LATSondheimer