Video: Chino Hills vs. Jonesboro in MaxPreps Holiday Classic semifinalsHuskies put up 124 points on two-time defending Georgia state champions.
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. –
For the first time since 2010, there will be an all-California championship game at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic.Chino Hills (Calif.)
– the nation's No. 1-ranked team – advanced with another stirring performance at Rancho Mirage High School, running past two-time defending Georgia state champion Jonesboro
On the other side of the bracket, Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
held off 17-time Nevada state champion Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Those results set up the third meeting in as many seasons between Chino Hills and Redondo Union. Chino Hills won a playoff matchup in March of 2014 while Redondo Union emerged victorious last December at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas.
The teams also met twice in fall league play earlier this year. Both meetings were won handily by the top-ranked Huskies.
"They are the No. 1 team in the country for a reason," Redondo Union head coach Reggie Morris said of Chino Hills. "They play like nobody else and they are exciting to play against. We just have to stay as close to character as possible. They have the best player in the country (Lonzo Ball) as far as I'm concerned and they are a family unit. We won't break that kind of chemistry."MaxPreps Holiday Classic Open Division bracket
Tuesday night against Bishop Gorman, Morris' Sea Hawks built a 21-point lead in the third quarter only to see the Nevada powerhouse cut it to three with two minutes to go.
But every time Gorman threatened, senior Morgan Means
of Redondo Union had an answer. The 6-foot-1 guard finished with 26 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
"Morgan came up with a lot of great plays for us, a couple of key steals, a couple of big pull-ups," Morris said. "He really kept his head in the game. He's a pretty consistent guy who we really depend on."Ryse Williams
added 25 for Redondo while backcourt mates Leland Green
and Elijah Nesbit
made huge contributions for the second night in a row.
That helped offset a heroic performance by Bishop Gorman's Charles O'Bannon Jr.
, who finished with 36 points and seven rebounds. The highly-coveted junior guard hit on 10 of 17 field goal attempts and buried all 12 attempts from the free throw line.
In the night's first semifinal, the greatest show in high school basketball rolled on as Chino Hills topped 120 points for the second night in a row at the Classic.
In Chino Hills' last seven games, it has knocked off teams from seven different states (New York, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Washington, Wisconsin and Georgia, respectively) and averaged 97.1 points per outing in the process.
Though the Huskies get meaningful contributions from six different players, it's hard to get away from the Ball brothers storyline.
Against Jonesboro, senior Lonzo
(23 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds), junior LiAngelo
(41 points) and precocious freshman LaMelo
(13 points, 6 assists) combined for 77 points.
The final tally was a bit of a shock to the system for Jonesboro (9-3), a proud program that has won 50 of its last 54 games dating back to January of 2014.
"That's a hell of a team. I've never seen anything quite like that," Jonesboro head coach Daniel Maehlman said. "It's unreal. Their basketball IQ is unreal, it just seems like they have been together their whole lives. To be able to pass like that and know where everybody is at, you just don't see it like that with high school kids. Do I like the style of basketball? No. But it's a system and they run it well."