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  • Devin Ugland

Chino Hills retains No. 1 spot in HoopsByUgland SoCal Top 20

Not much changed toward the top of the Southern California Top 20 rankings with two weeks of high school basketball in the books.

Chino Hills (who else?) blew through the field at the BattleZONE tournament at Corona Centennial high school behind the guidance of point-god Lonzo Ball and retained the No. 1 spot in the rankings.

Teams are listed with record (through Sunday, Dec. 6) and previous ranking: 1. Chino Hills (5-0 / No. 1) Why this ranking: The Huskies won the BattleZONE at Corona Centennial with four blowout wins over San Bernardino, Eastvale Roosevelt, Temecula Great Oak, Los Angeles Cathedral and Foothills Christian. UCLA-bound senior Lonzo Ball is on pace to average a triple-double. Chino Hills is averaging 108.4 points per game through its first five contests. Next up for Chino Hills: A trip to Florida for the City of Palms Classic - one of the more difficult tournament fields in the country. 2. Bishop Montgomery (5-0 / No. 3) Why this ranking: The Ethan Thompson-led Knights opened their season with a close call at the Coaches for a Cause event against Santa Margarita, then went on to win the Trevor Ariza Tip Off Classic at Westchester. Next up for Bishop Montgomery: A nonleague road game against Peninsula on Dec. 10. 3. Mater Dei (1-0 / No. 4) Why this ranking: The Monarchs flew out to Chicago for the Chicago Elite Classic, winning their one and only game over Marian Catholic, 58-46. Junior swingman Justice Sueing and University of Oregon-bound senior M.J. Cage each performed well in the Windy City. Next up for Mater Dei: A (certain) cakewalk through the Beach Bash at Corona del Mar beginning on Dec. 7. 4. Sierra Canyon (0-1 / No. 2) Why this ranking: The Trailblazers’ season opener didn’t go as planned in a 60-59 loss to Hayward Moreau Catholic in the 9th annual Prep2Prep Tip-Off Classic. Next up for Sierra Canyon: A little home cooking. The Trailblazers host the Sierra Canyon Invitational which begins on Dec. 7. 5. Foothills Christian (4-1 / No. 8) Why this ranking: The Knights jumped up three spots from the preseason top 20 thanks to a strong showing in the BattleZONE at Corona Centennial. Foothills beat Great Oak, Etiwanda, Corona Centennial and Rancho Christian before losing to No. 1 Chino Hills in the tournament championship on Saturday. T.J. Leaf was spectacular throughout, averaging 33 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 3.2 blocks in his first five games, including a 44-point, 16-rebound effort against Chino Hills. Next up for Foothills Christian: A Dec. 18 meeting with Katy (TX) Cypress Lakes at HoopHall West in Phoenix. Cypress Lakes is led by Kentucky-bound five-star guard De’Aaron Fox. That game will be televised on ESPN2. 6. Corona Centennial (4-1 / No. 6) Why this ranking: The BattleZONE hosts (and no, the fantastic hospitality room played no part in the making of this ranking) lost a barn burner to No. 5 Foothills Christian, 69-61, after UCLA-bound center Ike Anigbogu fouled out with just under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Next up for Centennial: A Dec. 16 match-up against Las Vegas Desert Pines in the Tarkanian Classic. 7. Redondo Union (4-0 / No. 7) Why this ranking: The Sea Hawks won their own event - the 64th annual Pacific Shores Tournament - with a 64-49 result over Long Beach Poly. Next up for Redondo: A nonleague road tilt against La Mirada on Dec. 11. 8. Fairfax (4-0 / No. 11) Why this ranking: The Lions breezed through the El Segundo tournament, winning by an average margin of 29.8 points per game. Next up for Fairfax: A Dec. 10 home game against Venice to open Western League play. 9. Long Beach Poly (3-1 / No. 5) Why this ranking: The Jackrabbits lost to No. 7 Redondo Union in the Pac Shores title game, but the most devastating part of that loss was that senior guard Drew Buggs left the contest with a knee injury. The seriousness of Buggs’ injury is still unknown. Next up for Long Beach Poly: The Jackrabbits will head to Vegas for the Tarkanian Classic, opening the tournament on Dec. 16 against Indiana-bound center De’Ron Davis and Aurora (CO) Overland. 10. Crespi (4-1 / No. 10) Why this ranking: The Celts lone loss of the season came in shocking fashion in a 3-point decision to Peninsula. Crespi also lost senior forward Mitchell Mykhaylov to injury during that game. The Celts bounced back to win the Pac Shores consolation title, 63-59, in two overtimes over Temecula Rancho Christian. Next up for Crespi: A road trip to Arizona where the Celts will take on Kansas-bound forward Mitch Lightfoot and his Gilbert Christian squad on Dec. 12. 11. Orange Lutheran (5-0 / No. 12) Why this ranking: The Lancers skipped their way to the Godinez Tournament title, defeating Yorba Linda, 53-45, in the championship game on Saturday. Next up for Orange Lutheran: The Lancers open the Beverly Hills Tournament on Dec. 8 against Lake Balboa Birmingham. 12. San Diego St. Augustine (4-0 / No. 19) Why this ranking: The Saints made their way up to Los Angeles and won the Rose City Classic at Maranatha High with a 50-42 victory over No. 17 Cantwell-Sacred Heart. Next up for St. Augustine: The Santa Margarita Christmas Classic. 13. Santa Margarita (4-1 / No. 16) Why this ranking: The Eagles their season opener to No. 2 Bishop Montgomery, 58-56, in gut-wrenching fashion. Santa Margarita then went to Arizona and won the Christian Cup Tournament with a 75-55 result over Phoenix St. Mary’s. Next up for Santa Margarita: The Eagles will host a “Christmas Classic” beginning on Dec. 17. 14. Westchester (4-3 / No. 10) Why this ranking: Legendary coach Ed Azzam picked up his 800th win of his career in a 65-51 win over No. 19 J.W. North, but the Comets lost to No. 2 Bishop Montgomery, 57-52, in the Trevor Ariza Tip-Off Classic title game. Next up for Westchester: A Dec. 16 match-up against South Jordan (UT) Bingham. Bingham is led by BYU-signee Yoeli Childs. 15. La Verne Damien (5-0 / NR) Why this ranking: Damien dominated the Sierra Vista Tournament, defeating opponents by an average of 44.8 points per game en route to an 88-46 win over Ontario Colony in the championship game. Next up for Damien: A nonleague home game against Redlands Citrus Valley on Dec. 9. 16. Los Angeles Cathedral (3-2 / No. 17) Why this ranking: The Phantoms won their first three games of the BattleZONE tournament over Corona Santiago, Rialto and Eastvale Roosevelt. Cathedral then dropped its final two games, respectfully, to No. 1 Chino Hills and No. 6 Corona Centennial. Next up for Cathedral: A Tarkanian Classic opener against Plano (TX) Prestonwood Christian. 17. Cantwell-Sacred Heart (3-1 / No. 13) Why this ranking: The Cardinals picked up three solid wins in the Rose City Classic at Maranatha, but lost the title game to No. 12 St. Augustine. Next up for Cantwell: The Beverly Hills Tournament. 18. Etiwanda (3-2 / No. 15) Why this ranking: The Eagles had mixed reviews in their first five games at the BattleZONE tournament. Etiwanda lost big to No. 5 Foothills Christian and No. 6 Corona Centennial, but picked up a nice comeback victory over Eastvale Roosevelt on the final day of the event. Next up for Etiwanda: A match-up against Fontana Summit in the Inland Empire Classic on Dec. 12. 19. J.W. North (3-1 / No. 18) Why this ranking: The Huskies earned solid wins over Los Angeles Dorsey and Playa del Rey St. Bernard in the Trevor Ariza Tip-Off Classic. It’s only loss of the tournament came by way of No. 14 Westchester. Next up for J.W. North: The Huskies will head way north to Canada for the REB Tournament beginning on Dec. 10. 20. San Diego Cathedral Catholic (0-0 / No. 20) Why this ranking: Cathedral Catholic hasn’t played a game yet, so no sense in moving it up or down, right? Next up for Cathedral Catholic: A match-up against San Francisco St. Ignatius in the Father Barry Classic at Jesuit High on Dec. 10.


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