RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – California high school phenom LaMelo Ball couldn’t match his extraordinary and now infamous 92-point haul on Thursday night, scoring 27 as Chino Hills easily defeated Rancho Cucamonga 105-70 in the regular season finale.
Ball, whose brother Lonzo Ball stars at UCLA and is expected to go in the top five of the NBA Draft, was more subdued here than Tuesday night, when he poured in his remarkable total in a 145-123 win against Los Osos.
The sophomore, who has already committed to the Bruins, went 7-for-17 from the floor as Chino Hills, ranked No. 8 in the Super 25, overturned an early 11-1 deficit to run out easy victors.
However, much of the criticism Ball and first-year coach Stephan Gilling attracted for his lack of defense in the Los Osos game may reappear. For long stretches once his team had opened up a sizeable lead, Ball ventured back no further than midcourt, waiting to turn long passes into easy baskets.
During one stretch at the start of the fourth quarter, two Chino Hills players often waited upcourt, anticipating a full court pass that could be turned into a highlight-reel attempt.
Chino Hills has now won 62 of its last 63 games with the lone loss coming to Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) on Saturday at Nike Extravaganza.
Ball, who also had seven assists, was not even the leading scorer on his team. Onyeka Okibngwu scored a career-high 31 points with 13 rebounds and eight blocks.
Middle brother LiAngelo, a senior small forward also UCLA bound, did not play with an ankle injury.
On Thursday, Gilling removed Ball from the game with five minutes remaining and the result beyond doubt. Chino Hills was leading 101-62 at the time.
For the most famous high school player in the country, the spotlight is only going to intensify, especially as Chino Hills begins its attempt to repeat as the state Open Division champions.