Ball, Leaf earn Burger Boy honors and the updated SoCal Top 20 rankings

January 18, 2016

If there’s anything that Southern California high school basketball observers knew heading into the 2015-16 season, it’s that Chino Hills point guard Lonzo Ball and Foothills Christian forward T.J. Leaf were absolute locks to be selected for the prestigious McDonalds All-American Game.

Sunday night’s McDonald’s All-American Game selection show on ESPNU just made things official.

Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf, two UCLA-bound talents, two Burger Boys.

Ball has been averaging a near triple-double this season in leading the Huskies to a No. 1 national (and HoopsByUgland.com) ranking.

Leaf is very much of the same mold. The versatile 6-foot-10 forward is putting up the following (gaudy) numbers: 30.4 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.4 blocks per game, while leading his team to an 11-3 record and No. 5 ranking in the updated HoopsByUgland.com SoCal Top 20.

You’ll be able to watch Ball, Leaf and the rest of the Burger Boys March 30 at 6 p.m. (PST) on ESPN. And if you feel compelled to do so, book a flight to Chicago to watch it live at the United Center.

Here are the updated HoopsByUgland Southern California Top 20 rankings:

1. Chino Hills (16-0 / No. 1)

Observation: The Huskies dispatched their first two Baseline League opponents - Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos and Rancho Cucamonga - by a combined score of 220-95.

Next up: Fresh off a selection to the 2016 McDonald’s All-American game, Lonzo Ball will try and lead Chino Hills to victory in a City of Palms rematch Monday with High Point (NC) Christian Academy at the HoopHall Classic in Springfield (MA). The Huskies won the first match-up, 94-82. The game will be televised on ESPNU at 2 p.m. (PST).

2. Torrance Bishop Montgomery (18-0 / No. 2)

Observation: The Knights opened Del Rey League play with a dominant 76-48 win over Gardena Serra and a 13-point victory over Playa del Rey St. Bernard.

Next up: Bishop Montgomery hosts Los Angeles Cathedral in a league game Wednesday.

3. Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (14-2 / No. 3)

Observation: The Trailblazers advanced to the championship game of the Bass Pro TOC in Springfield (MO) with wins over Springfield (MO) Kickapoo and St. Louis Chaminade. Sierra Canyon then deployed as good a game plan possible when playing against Mouth of Wilson (VA) Oak Hill Academy, but fell in the championship game, 48-47, on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Ty-shon Alexander.

Next up: The Trailblazers will take on Montverde (FL) Academy Monday at the HoopHall Classic in Springfield (MA). The game will be televised on ESPNU at 12 p.m. (PST).

4. Santa Ana Mater Dei (17-2 / No. 4)

Observation: The Monarchs haven’t lost a Trinity League game in the Meruelo Athletic Center since its inception 10 years ago. Santa Margarita kept things interesting through three quarters, but fell apart in the final period, helping seal a 57-48 Mater Dei win.

Next up: The Monarchs will have their toughest test of the season Monday against Oak Hill Academy at the HoopHall Classic in Springfield (MA). You can catch the game on ESPNU at 10 a.m.

5. El Cajon Foothills Christian (11-3 / No. 5)

Observation: The Knights, led by newly-minted Burger Boy T.J. Leaf, beat Solana Beach Santa Fe Christian, 81-47, in a Coastal League game and then took down Waterbury (CT) Sacred Heart, 82-80, Saturday at the HoopHall Classic in Springfield (MA). Leaf netted himself a triple-double, scoring 30 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

Next up: Foothills Christian will pick up league play against La Jolla Country Day Wednesday.

6. Redondo Union (14-3 / No. 6)

Observation: The Sea Hawks earned a tough Bay League road victory over Inglewood by a 58-53 decision, then beat Inglewood Morningside handily at home.

Next up: Some more Bay League action against Palos Verdes Peninsula Tuesday.
 
7. Encino Crespi (18-1 / No. 7)

Observation: The Celts winning streak now stands at 18 after a 12-point road win over Los Angeles Loyola and an absolute drubbing (76-30) of West Hills Chaminade.

Next up: Crespi is on the road at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame Wednesday, followed by a Mission League rivalry game at home against Mission Hills Alemany Friday.

8. Los Angeles Fairfax (17-2 / No. 8)

Observation: The Lions bounced-back after a two-point loss to Narbonne with two Western League blowouts over Hamilton and University.

Next up: Fairfax has a road game at Venice Wednesday before hosting Westchester Friday in what is always a raucous atmosphere.
 
9. La Verne Damien (17-1 / No. 10)

Observation: The Spartans are riding an eight-game winning streak and sit 2-0 in the Baseline League with wins over Rancho Cucamonga and Upland.

Next up: League play really heats up for Damien as it hosts Etiwanda Tuesday.

10. Corona Centennial (11-6 / No. 9)

Observation: The Huskies took care of Riverside King in their first Big VIII League game, but then lost on the road to Eastvale Roosevelt, 56-55, Friday.

Next up: Centennial will look to take out its frustrations against same-street rival Corona Santiago on Wednesday.

11. Santa Monica (15-2 / No. 13)

Observation: The Vikings won their first two Ocean League games - over Hawthorne and Lawndale - by an average of 38.5 points per.

Next up: More league action for SaMo with a home game Wednesday against Culver City and a road game Friday at Beverly Hills.

12. Chino Hills Ayala (17-2 / No. 14)

Observation: The Bulldogs earned Palomares League wins over Claremont and Glendora and defeated Hemet Tahquitz in a nonleague last week.

Next up: A league match-up against West Covina South Hills

13. San Diego St. Augustine (13-4 / No. 11)

Observation: My friend and colleague Aaron Burgin (@FullTimeHoops1 on Twitter) dropped a S-Bomb after Saints’ forward Taeshon Cherry dunked on a Cathedral Catholic defender Saturday. AB’s excitement couldn’t propel St. Augustine past CC, though, as the Saints fell, 56-53, in a big-time rivalry game.

Next up: St. Augustine will be on the road Tuesday at La Jolla in a Western League game.

14. Los Alamitos (16-3 / No. 14)

Observation: Who can stop Eyassu Worku? Nobody in the Sunset League yet. The Griffins beat Fountain Valley and Newport Harbor last week.

Next up: Los Al will be at Huntington Beach Friday in a Sunset League contest.

15. Santa Margarita (11-6 / No. 12)

Observation: The Eagles have had their fair share of late-game struggles and Friday’s Trinity League loss to No. 4 Mater Dei was no different.

Next up: Santa Margarita takes on Fresno Bullard Monday in an MLK Classic tournament.

16. Orange Lutheran (15-3 / No. 16)

Observation: The Lancers beat both Anaheim Servite and San Juan Capistrano JSerra in Trinity League games last week.

Next up: Orange Lutheran will take on Concord De La Salle in the MaxPreps MLK Classic at Haas Pavilion on the campus of University of California, Berkeley.

17. Mission Hills Alemany (14-5 / No. 19)
 
Observation: The Warriors earned a couple tough Mission League wins last week. First was a five-point victory at Studio City Harvard Westlake which was followed by a 14-point win over Loyola at home.

Next up: A Mission League home game against La Canada St. Francis

18. Harbor City Narbonne (12-5 / No. 17)

Observation: The Gauchos dropped a spot this week only due to the fact that Alemany’s two wins last week were more impressive as far as competition goes. Narbonne beat King/Drew and San Pedro last week to improve to 3-0 in the Marine League.

Next up: The Gauchos are at home Wednesday against Gardena and on the road Friday at Banning.

19. Los Angeles Westchester (14-5 / No. 20)

Observation: The Comets blew out all three of their Western League opponents last week.

Next up: Westchester hosts L.A. University before a huge road game at Fairfax on Friday.

20. Eastvale Roosevelt (12-5 / No. 21)

Observation: The Mustangs are back in the top 20 after a huge Big VIII League win over No. 10 Corona Centennial.

Next up: Roosevelt will be on the road at Corona Wednesday and at home against Riverside King Friday.

No.’s 21-25: 21. Inglewood (13-5); 22. Woodland Hills Taft (16-4); 23. San Diego Cathedral Catholic (10-4); 24. Moreno Valley Rancho Verde (18-0); 25. Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart (12-5)

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