LONG BEACH, Calif. — The buzzer sounded for Round 2 of the Chino Hills-Torrance Bishop Montgomery saga and the Huskies delivered the knockout blow they couldn’t in the first go-round Jan. 30 in the Fairfax State Preview.
Chino Hills dominated in every aspect of the game, winning the CIF State Open Division Southern Regional Final, 84-62, Saturday night at the Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State.
The Huskies advance to the CIF State Open Division Finals where they will play De La Salle (Concord) next Saturday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
The line to get in to the Pyramid filed down the street and wrapped around some corners, but few of the 4,556 people packed into the arena expected the highly-anticipated rematch between these two teams to turn into a defensive battle of sorts.
Chino Hills, the Super 25 No. 1-ranked team in the country led by the Naismith Player of the Year in Lonzo Ball and his two bucket-getting brothers, has scored 100 or more points 18 times this season, but managed just 28 points on 11 of 29 shooting in the first half.
Bishop Montgomery (Torrance), the second-best team in California, is led by the guard trio of Ethan Thompson, David Singleton and Jordan Schakel, which is tough to rival at the prep level in any part of the country, and it could only put 17 points on the board, connecting on just 6 of 22 field goals in the first two quarters.
“The game plan was defense,” Lonzo said. “We felt that if we covered the 3-point line we had a good chance. The first half was a little slow for us, but we picked it up in the second half.”
The second half was a much different story, for Chino Hills, at least.
The Huskies (34-0) opened the third quarter with an 18-2 run – 14 of those points scored by junior UCLA commit LiAngelo Ball – and Chino Hills’ lead grew from 11 to 27 in the blink of an eye.
And in that same blink, the game was over.
The Huskies led 56-31 after three quarters and a basket from Onyeka Okongwu midway through the fourth gave Chino Hills its largest lead of the night, 71-40.
LiAngelo Ball said the offensive game plan was to pound the ball inside from the get-go.
“The coaches said they can’t stop us getting to the rim and we’re letting them off the hook with jumpers,” he said. “We just had to pound them inside.”
With the game in hand, only one question remained: Would Lonzo get another triple-double?
That he did.
A two-handed transition dunk off of a lob from Elizjah Scott late in the fourth quarter gave the senior UCLA-signee his 10th and 11th points of the game to go along with 15 rebounds and 10 assists with a few minutes left in the game.
Chino Hills coach Steve Baik said he made a few adjustments based on what he saw in the teams’ first meeting back in late January – a game which the Huskies won by four, 71-67.
“It was totally different,” he said. “Energy-wise, things that are common sense like guarding shooters and taking away their strengths. It was great for us to see them in that showcase and we were able to come in with a better game plan.”
Lonzo finished with 13 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists and six steals. LiAngelo scored a team-high 27 points, while freshman LaMelo Ball scored 17, Okongwu added 15 and Scott chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Singleton, a sophomore, led all scorers with 33 points for Bishop Montgomery (28-3). Thompson and Schakel added 16 and 11 points, respectively, but combined to go 10 of 35 from the field.