Following a close loss to Oak Hill Academy earlier in the week, the story surrounding top-ranked Chino Hills was how they would respond to their 60-game winning streak being snapped. Well, it seems like the talented youngsters didn’t take too kindly to the loss. With brother LiAngelo nursing an injury, sophomore LaMelo Ball decided to send out a statement to the rest of the nation by posting a monstrous 92-point performance for the ages. Ball, already committed to play for UCLA, scored 41 in the final period, further cementing his legacy among southern California basketball folklore.
LaMelo has been in headlines since he was just a freshman at Chino Hills, as his flashy style of play and family pedigree has caught nation-wide attention. After a solid individual game against a tough Oak Hill squad, Ball’s confidence was at an all-time high as he looked unstoppable during a 146-123 victory over Los Osos High School. The full array of skills were on display for onlookers, as Ball hit multiple deep threes and was finishing around the basket with ease.
Chino Hills, a public high school that doesn’t recruit, has been turning heads with their style of play and this isn’t the first time one of their players has put on a scoring clinic. Senior LiAngelo Ball has scored in the 60’s and 70’s on a couple of occasions earlier in the season, and future lottery pick Lonzo Ball was terrorizing the top teams in California before continuing his playing days at UCLA. They play fast, trap everything on defense, and throw it down court on every made basket by their opponents. They rely on being better conditioned than the opponent, and with the slew of Ball brothers coming through the program, they are also more talented than their competition.
The style of play and scoring outputs bears a strong resemblance to Grinnell College, the Division III School that made headlines in 2012 when a player – Jack Taylor – scored 138 points for them in a game. Taylor’s highlights look nearly identical to Ball’s from his 92-point performance, a lot of easy layups, and not a whole lot of defense.
To be fair, Taylor didn’t possess nearly the athletic ability of Ball, nor did he have the family lineage. Ball is currently the 16th ranked basketball recruit for the 2019 class (according to ESPN.com), and will surely rise up those rankings if he keeps posting stat lines such as this. However, the way Chino Hills plays gives scouts a tough job assessing how good LaMelo will be once the athletic gap decreases and he’s forced to play defense in the halfcourt.
His brother Lonzo has translated well, and although he isn’t a standout defender by any means, he can hold his own. LaMelo doesn’t have the physical tools Lonzo has – isn’t quite as explosive and still has a few inches to grow – but they share similar body types.
For a sophomore in high school, at this point, we are just nitpicking. LaMelo and the rest of the family have been putting on a show for the Chino Hills faithful over the last few years, and it’s exciting for the fan base to know that they still have two more years to cheer this kid on.