Chino Hills – For the past five years, the Ball family has ruled Chino Hills basketball. Patriarch LaVar Ball oversaw the rise of eldest son Lonzo from promising point guard to surefire NBA Draft pick. In Lonzo’s last season with the Huskies they won everything, taking the state title and the USA TODAY Super 25 national title. A season later with new coach later, Chino Hills led by brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, fell just short of another berth in the state title game.
LaMelo Ball left Chino Hills this year for a professional future in Europe. Lavar pulled him from the school and decided to home school him for his senior year. Dennis Latimore the 1st year coach, after being publicly chastised by LaVar and LeMelo as soon as they left the school, had the last laugh. You would have to score that Latimore 1, Ball 0.
The Huskies claimed their second state title in three seasons led by Junior Onyeka Okongwu, the unquestioned leader of this squad after the departure of LaMelo. Onyeka put together a great night with 27 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and five blocked shots.
The last remaining Ball family member at Chino Hills, cousin Andre Ball had 17 points in the victory. Did the team peak at just the right time this year or were they finally able to focus on basketball and not the Ball family traveling circus.
When reporters asked Latimore about losing Onyeka to foul trouble during the game, his answer could have easily been about LaMelo and LaVar, “I think the team showed they are more than one individual player,” Latimore said. “Our big guy went out, but the team stayed united. That’s what teamwork is all about, and they went and got it done.”