SANTA ANA, Ca. – The national powerhouse program of legendary coach Steve Smith that is Mouth of Wilson (VA) Oak Hill Academy saw its 56-game, two-season winning streak snapped by Chatsworth (CA) Sierra Canyon in December.
Saturday night at Mater Dei High, in the finale of the 22nd Nike Extravaganza, Smith’s Warriors will get a chance to turn that trick on another California program.
Chino Hills, which extended its own two-season winning streak to 60 Friday night with its 91-60 Baseline League victory over Upland, takes on Oak Hill Saturday (at approximately 8:45 Pacific Time) in the finale of the 14-game, two-day event in Mater Dei’s Meruelo Athletic Center.
Saturday’s evening session (six) games has been a sellout since mid-way through the week with a standing-room-only crowd of 3,200-plus anticipated.
Potential on-site spectators are warned by event officials not to show up at the school for the evening session (tickets for three “morning session” games still remain) without tickets in hand as they will be turned away.
Those without tickets wishing to follow the game in “real time” are urged to do so by clicking on www.ScorebookLive.com (it’s free) or watching the live-streaming of the game via the NFHS network (there is a subscription cost involved).
ScorebookLive will “score” in “real time” each of the nine games played Saturday (they begin at 8:30 a.m. with JSerra and Dos Pueblos) with NFHS (with the broadcast crew of Paul Westphal and yours truly) streaming the final six games (beginning with the 1:15 p.m. Los Altos vs. Corona Centennial contest).
The Oak Hill-Chino Hills contest has been among the most eagerly anticipated high school games of this season since the matchup was announced by Nike Extravaganza officials in the summer.
The Huskies, even with 2016 National Player of the Year Lonzo Ball now at freshman at UCLA and coach Steve Baik having moved to L.A. Fairfax, haven’t missed a beat since their stunning 35-0 run of last season.
Now directed by Coach Steph Gilling and with four returning starters on the floor, Chino Hills ran through three December tournaments that were “national” in scope although based in the West and have scored at least 100 points 13 times.
Each of those four returning starters, seniors Gelo Ball (a UCLA signee) and Eli Scott (who signed with Loyola Marymount in November), along with sophomores Melo Ball and Onyeka Okongwu, has been mostly superb this season
Oak Hill takes a 25-3 record into Saturday night’s showdown after its 86-59 win over El Cajon (CA) Foothills Christian Friday night in the Meruelo Athletic Center.
The Warriors’ roster is chock-full of future major college players, notably 6-foot-9, McDonald’s All-American and Kansas-bound Billy Preston (19 points and 12 rebounds in a bit more than 19 minutes Friday night), as well as guards Matt Coleman (11 points and seven assists Friday/he’s headed for the University of Texas); Ty-Shon Alexander (12 points and four assists Friday/he signed with Creighton) and Lindell Wigginton (29 points Friday, including six 3s/he’s going to Iowa State).
Foothills Christian got 34 points from its own McDonald’s All-American, UCLA-bound guard Jaylen Hands.
In another high-profile game Friday night, host Mater Dei improved to 25-1 with its 74-42 victory against Sun Valley (CA) Village Christian.
Juniors Spencer Freedman (12 points, eight assists and just one turnover), 7-1 Bol Bol (19 points, including six dunks, and nine rebounds) and Harrison Butler (13 points and four rebounds) were outstanding for the Monarchs in less than three quarters of playing time apiece.
In the other three games (including a girls contest) played Friday:
*Saddleback Valley Christian 48, Servite 40: The Warriors outscored the Friars by eight points in the third quarter, taking a 10-point advantage in the fourth quarter, and Servite got closer than within five points the rest of the way.
SVC, playing without injured leading scorer Trey Smith, improved to 22-3 while the Friars (one or six Trinity League teams playing in the event), fell to 11-15.
Jonah Tolmarie (11) and Nick Andrews (10) scored in double figures for the Warriors while guard Devyian Roberson had game-highs of 12 points and nine rebounds for Servite.
*Rancho Mirage 58, Rolling Hills Prep 52 (OT): Rolling Hills Prep came up with the crucial 3-pointer but Rancho Mirage was the one that had the most juice left in overtime.
Chris Koon knocked in a shot from behind the arc with 27 seconds to go and, ultimately, deadlock Rancho Mirage for the extra four minutes of action.
The Rattlers, however, scored the first eight points in OT – four of those by Matt Barajas-Tiedeman – and held on to improve to 25-3 as the third-ranked squad in the CIF Southern Section 3AA Division (after Crossroads and Saddleback Valley Christian).
Senior guard Charles Neal didn’t actually sizzle from the field (missing 17 of 30 shot attempts) but did score 30 points for Rancho Mirage to go along with six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and three steals.
Koon, a sophomore left hander, led the Huskies (16-2 and top-ranked in the 5AA Division) with 18 points and five rebounds.
*Mater Dei 81, Palisades 69: The Monarchs had a 16-rebound advantage on the Dolphins and got double-figure scoring from four players with Emma Torbert leading the way with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Chelsey Gipson (37) and Kayla Williams (26) combined for all but six of Palisades’ points – with Jane Nwaba getting those.