Chino Hills Couldn’t Get Back-to-Back State Championships

LaMelo Ball came up a bit short.

Last March, Chino Hills went 35-0, beat De La Salle (Concord), 70-50, for the CIF State Open Division title and finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country. It was the school’s first state basketball championship and the first for a Chino Valley Unified School District boys or girls basketball team.

Last season’s starting five of UCLA’s freshman sensation Lonzo Ball, his brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo, Elizjah Scott and Onyeka Okongwu is in the discussion of one of the best high school teams the state of California has ever produced.

This season however, without Lonzo, they took an early L in the state playoffs.

With all of the hype surrounding The Ball Brothers, Im surprised the two younger brothers horrific shooting performance in an 83-80 California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section overtime playoffs loss to Mater Dei on Friday didn’t get more ink.

Maybe Daddy LaVar is a genius. A master maestro of a finely-tuned, symphonic basketball funk family. While LiAngelo and LaMelo were taking the term brick city to new heights, the social media moshpit was focused on Daddy’s ballsy proclamation that Lonzo will be better than Steph Curry.

With all the love and hate we showed LaMelo when he dropped 92 points on 61 shots, we have to call the blonde bomber out on his playoff performance.

Baby LiAngelo scored 26 points on 9 of 32 shots including 5 of 18 from three.

LaMelo was even worse, making just 8 of 33 shots and going an abysmal 8 for 28 from 3-point land.  I mean, he has a green light like I’ve never seen. Must be awesome to be able to just take an average of 30 to 50 shots a game and let the chips fall where they may.

Ugly 30-foot jumpers and poor shot selection ruled the day. Not a great way to follow up a state championship, but the real deal balling begins in the summer anyway, so maybe they’re just still shaking off some rust.

I doubt Lonzo had games that poor and the team was definitely weakened with the change of leadership. Right now, Lonzo is killing college and has UCLA poised to win their first title since Tyus Edney.

LaMelo, on the other hand, seems a bit hyped to me. He needs to relax a bit or get in one good fight.

On another note, the legendary Manute Bol’s son, Bol Bol, had 14 points and 15 rebounds and five blocks for Mater Dei.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.