Chino Hills of California capped the 22-year Bishop Verot High School era of the 43rd annual Culligan City of Palms Classic with a thrilling, 66-60 overtime victory against Elizabeth (New Jersey) Patrick School.
The Huskies won at a packed John J. Nevins Gymnasium for the same reason they almost lost, attempting 3-pointers with what at times seemed like reckless abandon.
With one minute and 10 seconds remaining in overtime, UCLA-bound senior guard Lonzo Ball, struggling all game with his normally accurate shot, made one, just his second on 12 attempts, for a 59-55 lead.
That lead provided enough of a cushion to endure the final 70 seconds of Patrick School’s defense.
“They did such a tremendous job of pacing the floor and attacking,” said interim Patrick School coach Mike Rice, who coached in a tournament title game for the first time since 2010, when he led Robert Morris to the Northeast Conference championship. This marked Rice’s return to coaching after Rutgers University fired him in 2013.
“They wanted it more than we did,” Rice said of the Huskies, who improved to 9-0 and are sure to ascend from No. 2 to No. 1 in USA Today’s Super 25. The Celtics fell to 2-1. “We tried to slow it down. But they outrebounded us.
“That 3-pointer didn’t bother me at all. It was all the offensive rebounds they got. I give them a lot of credit for finding a way to win.”
Ball received the Most Valuable Player honor.
Highlights of overtime play during City of Palms Championship game as Chino Hills takes on The Patrick School. Video by Jack Hardman/news-press.com
“It’s just confidence,” Ball said of why he kept shooting. His scoring average of 28.3 points per game ranked third in this year’s Classic. He finished the title game with a game-high 20 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds and had 11 assists. “The coaches have confidence in me. I knew if I could make my free throws, I could make up for it, and that’s what I did.”
In winning the 693rd and, at least for now, final game at Bishop Verot, Chino Hills also broke a six-year drought for California teams winning the title, becoming the first since Santa Ana Mater Dei won in 2008.
“It’s the best tournament in the nation,” said Chino Hills coach Steve Baik, who became the first foreign-born coach to win the Classic. Baik was born in Seoul, South Korea. “We’re a small school out of California. We represented them very well.”
Next year, the Classic moves to a new arena at Florida SouthWestern State College.
Meanwhile, Chino Hills and Patrick School ended the run with an extra four minutes.
Baik praised Ball for sinking the decisive 3-pointer.
“For him to have the courage to take that shot, it says a lot about him,” Baik said. “I'm just amazed by it. This has been a dream come true for us. We have a shot to be No. 1 in the nation.”
Connect with this reporter: David Dorsey (Twitter).
The City of Palms Classic All-Tournament team
Most Valuable Player: Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills (California)
LiAngelo Ball, Chino Hills (California)
LaMelo Ball, Chino Hills (California)
Bryce Aiken, Elizabeth (New Jersey) Patrick School
Jamir Harris, Elizabeth (New Jersey) Patrick School
Cyril Langevine, Elizabeth (New Jersey) Patrick School
Rowan “R.J.” Barrett, Montverde Academy
Jayson Tatum, St. Louis (Missouri) Chaminade
Tony Bradley, Bartow
Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, High Point (North Carolina) Christian
Michael Porter Jr., Columbia (Missouri) Father Tolton
Thon Maker, Orangewood (Ontario, Canada) Athlete Institute
Samorie “Slick” Ponds Brooklyn (New York) Thomas Jefferson
Payton Pritchard, West Linn (Oregon)
Austin Wiley, Hoover (Alabama) Spain Park