CORONA – The championship game of the inaugural Battle Zone boys basketball tournament at Centennial High featured two of the state’s top-ranked teams, each led by future UCLA Bruins.
Chino Hills, featuring star guard Lonzo Ball, started fast, faced a little adversity, but closed with consistency in 106-86 victory over El Cajon Foothills Christian on Saturday night.
Ball, a 6-foot-5 do-everything quarterback of a guard, had 34 points, including 17 in the second half after picking up his fourth foul.
T.J. Leaf, a 6-10 post, who is signed on to unite with Ball in Westwood next fall, had 44 points and 12 rebounds for Foothills Christian (4-1).
Chino Hills (5-0), ranked as high as No. 1 in the state by MaxPreps.com, attacked from the jump and led 40-13 after the first quarter.
Foothills coach Brad Leaf adjusted by inserting 5-7 freshman Jaren Nafarrete in the second quarter as the Knights pulled to within 57-35 at halftime.
“He just changed the whole game,” Coach Leaf said. “Just adding a guy that can handle the ball against pressure and was not afraid of it. I had the two point guards in and it changed the whole game.”
Ball picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter with Chino Hills leading by 20. But Ball never left the floor until the outcome was decided and, despite 12 points and six rebounds by Leaf in the third, the Huskies just kept rolling, 79-59 after three.
LiAngelo Ball had 27 and Elizjah Scott 18 for Chino Hills.
Playing for third place following a Wednesday loss to Foothills, Centennial routed L.A. Cathedral, 92-69. Jordan Griffin had 23 of his 32 points in the first half. Junior Jalen Hill added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Huskies (4-1).
Milan Acquaah made seven 3-pointers and had 41 points for Cathedral (3-2).
In the loss to Foothills, Centennial’s 6-7 senior forward Paris Lubin broke his right (shooting) hand and is out indefinitely. Lubin had the ability, along with Griffin, to help stretch the floor for the Huskies, opening up the middle for Hill and fellow 6-10 post Ike Anigbogu.
With Lubin out, Jaylen Wiltz, another shooter, has stepped into a starting role and had 15 points against Cathedral.
In the game for fifth place, Etiwanda made 11 of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter to erase a big deficit and stun Eastvale Roosevelt, 68-67.
Miles Oliver had 22 points for Etiwanda (3-2).
Matt Mitchell scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half for Roosevelt (4-5). Alize Travis had 22 and Baker had 14 for the Mustangs.
In other games Saturday:
Temecula Rancho Christian 75, Corona Santiago 64: Owen Chidestar had 22 points, including six 3-pointers, as the Eagles defeated the Sharks. Isaiah Mobley had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Trace Redfield had 15 points for Rancho Christian (4-5). AJ Wallace had 25 points, 9 steals, 8 assists and 8 rebounds for Santiago (3-2).
Temecula Great Oak 71, Glendora 29: Jacob Tryon had 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Wolfpack prevailed. Caleb Giordano added 12 for Great Oak (2-3).
Riverside Poly 74, San Bernardino 49: Hassan Berry had 20 points and Dylan McDowell added 17 as the Bears downed the Cardinals. Rayhaan Kayanda had 22 for San Bernardino.
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