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LaMelo Ball ‘only’ scores 27 points in Chino Hills’ latest basketball victory

Chino Hills guard LaMelo Ball bring the ball up court against Rancho Cucamonga during a game Thursday night.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

It’s 20 minutes after Chino Hills High has beaten Rancho Cucamonga, 105-70, to improve to 27-1 on Thursday night. LaMelo Ball, coming off a 92-point performance, scored 27 points and had seven assists.

He’s gone through numerous interviews over the last two days with TV, radio and newspaper reporters. And what’s happening in the visiting team locker room helps explains why he’s handling everything as if he were a pro.

He has joined teammates in a surfing pose in the locker room. Everyone is smiling. Ball is wearing a white hat and standing on a tiny red plastic surfboard pointing his finger as if he’s conquered North Shore, Oahu. Then he dunks a basketball on a five-foot hoop near the shower as everyone laughs.

Yes, this is how a 15-year-old acts even though he has become a nationally known basketball player as a sophomore at Chino Hills.

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“It’s fun to do,” he says of the attention. “I’ve gotten used to it.”

UCLA was playing Oregon at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday night and Chino Hills was playing at Rancho Cucamonga. LaVar Ball, the father of the Ball boys, had to make a choice where he would be. Would he watch Lonzo, the oldest, or LaMelo, the youngest?

“Always take care of the young ones,” he said, sitting in his usual front-row seat. “Lonzo is on his path.”

Ball was pulled from the game with 5 minutes 34 seconds left. No controversy about running up the score or running up his stats. His 92 points on Tuesday were the second most in Southern Section history.

Ball had a big smile before Thursday’s game when he successfully dunked the ball in warmups. His father called him over to the bleachers right before player introductions to pose for a photo with a young fan.

Chino Hills fell behind, 9-1, and 11-3, but the Huskies quickly started to dominate behind 6-foot-9 Onyeka Okongwu, who was blocking shots. Okongwu came on in the second half offensively and finished with 31 points, eight blocks and 13 rebounds.

When Ball left the court, there was a horde of fans who wanted to take photos. He’s all for participating but also has his focus on helping Chino Hills win the Southern Section Open Division championship and the state championship.

Brother LiAngelo Ball missed his second consecutive game while resting a sore ankle. He’ll be ready for next week’s playoff game.

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LaMelo seems ready to handle anything and everything.

“He’s a smart player,” Coach Stephan Gilling said. “He knows when it’s his time and when it’s other players’ time. I’m glad people could see what he does.”

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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Twitter: latsondheimer


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