Video: Steve Smith postgame interview
Legendary coach after one of his bigger wins during an illustrious career.SANTA ANA, Calif. —
The Meruelo Athletic Center was sold out a week early largely to see the most talked-about spectacle in high school basketball take on arguably the most storied program in the prep game. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
and Chino Hills (Calif.)
Oak Hill, the nine time national champions, broke Chino Hills' national-leading 60-game win streak with a stunning 96-91 victory Saturday night.
Before almost 3,500 fans jammed into the Mater Dei facility, Billy Preston
(16 points, 21 rebounds) broke an 86-86 tie with two free throws and Lindell Wigginton
(35 points) drilled a three-pointer and the Warriors never trailed from there.
"We didn't play our best, but we played awfully well in the final three or four minutes," Oak Hill Academy coach Steve Smith said. "I was proud of our guys. They showed a lot of heart and dug deep to do what they needed to do to win."
Oak Hill (26-3), which had suffered three previous defeats against nationally-ranked opponents, fell behind 19-6 and the much familiar Chino Hills route appeared to be on. Sophomore guard LaMelo Ball
, who led all scorers with 36 points, banked in a three-pointer from straightaway for the game's first points and the Huskies appeared on their way.
See live scoring from Oak Hill Academy and Chino Hills
But Smith remained calm on the sideline and eventually the Warriors tied the game at 25.
"I told them there would be a million possessions in the game and to just hang in there," Smith said. "Our chemistry wasn't great earlier in the year, but it's gotten much better. We have some tough kids. They never stopped believing. They wanted to break Chino Hills' streak."
The rally to even the score seemed to take something out the Warriors, making a late-season cross-country trip. Plus, chasing Chino Hills is no walk in the park. They fell behind 45-31, cut it to 51-41 at halftime and kept chipping away, eventually taking their first lead 84-83 on a driving layup by Wigginton with 2:36 left.
The Iowa State signee was brilliant all night, breaking his career high of 29 set the previous night. His two free throws with 6.3 seconds left clinched. He finished 14 of 22 from the field, including 4-of-6 on three-pointers. Rest of Nike Extravaganza Saturday - Marvin Bagley breaks scoring record
He boldly said Friday that his team wanted to beat Chino Hills badly and that the Warriors "would run right through" the third-ranked Huskies.
"He's a tough, confident kid," Smith said of Wigginton. "He's a big time player. He definitely stepped up to the plate. In many ways he's been our best player all year."
It helped Oak Hill that the the Huskies
, nursing a badly sprained ankle, had a rare off night. The UCLA-signee, averaging better than 30 per game, had 23 points but made just 8 of 35 shots, including 4-of-22 on three-pointers. Chino Hills was 11 of 38 on three-pointers and 14 of 25 from the free-throw line.
"Free throws, rebounding, a lot of missed threes we often make," Chino Hills first-year head coach and former assistant Stephan Gilling said when asked what turned the tide. "We're OK. I just told the guys afterward to move forward. We have a lot of basketball in front of us."
Asked if having the weight of the win streak snapped might be a good thing or beneficial down the stretch, Gilling just shook his head.
"No, not at all," he said. "These guys don't play with a lot of tension. They play loose, so I don't think the streak had anything to do with the loss or any game in the future."
Oak Hill, ranked fifth in the MaxPreps Independent Top 10, got many more contributions. Ty-Shon Alexander
scored 11 but his strength was on the defensive end. He was blanketing LiAngelo Ball most of the night. David McCormack
(11 points, 13 rebounds) also came up big.
For Chino Hills, Elizjah Scott
had 12 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Onyeka Okongwu
, a 6-9 sophomore, had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Chino Hills grabbed 21 offensive rebounds overall which led to 34 second-half points.
"That was way too many chances," Smith said. "You don't often give up that many offensive rebounds and still win. We just found a way."
The two teams met once before, an 86-77 Oak Hill victory at the 2015 Bass Pro Shops
Tournament of Champions. In that game, Chino Hills led by 13 in the fourth quarter.
"This was a very similar game," Smith said. "We were down almost the entire way and pulled through at the end."
Smith, now with 1,052 wins, wasn't about to call this his greatest or most satisfying win. "But it was a good one," he said. "We'll take it. It was a great environment. Great crowd. Not everyone was against us, but most of them were. ... All of it makes for a nice trip home."
OAK HILL ACADEMY (96)
Ty-Shon Alexander 4-12 3-4 11, Matt Coleman
4-7 1-2 11, Kenny Nwuba
1-1 0-0 2, Lindell Wigginton 14-22 3-6 35, Devontae Shuler
5-13 0-0 10, Billy Preston 6-17 4-5 16, David McCormack 4-10 3-3 11. Totals 38-82 14-20 96. CHINO HILLS (91)
Elizjah Scott 4-4 4-10 12, LaMelo Ball 12-26 5-8 36, LiAngelo Ball 8-35 3-3 23, Phaquan Davis
0-1 1-2 1, Onyeka Okongwu 7-13 0-0 14, Ofure Ujadughele
2-3 1-2 5. Totals 33-82 14-25 91.
Oak Hill 21 20 27 28 - 96
Chino Hills 24 27 21 19 - 913-point goals:
Oak Hill 6-18, Chino HIlls 11-38. Rebounds:
Oak Hill 52 (Preston 21, McCormack 13), Chino Hills 47 (Scott 16, Okongwu 11). Assists:
Oak Hill 14 (Coleman 7), Chino Hills 16 (LiAngelo 5). Turnovers:
Oak Hill 12, Chino Hills 14. Second-chance points:
Oak Hill 18, Chino Hills 34.