Story written by Vince Crawford
Each year the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame holds numerous high school and college basketball tournaments across the country. They are called Hoophall followed by a respective themed name.
This year, the 2016 Hoophall West High School Invitational was held in the Valley of the Sun for the fourth year in a row with Scottsdale Chaparral High hosting the event in back-to-back years. The affair was initially held at Grand Canyon University in 2013 and 2014.
The two-day, eleven-game tournament’s top game, on paper, was the national champions Chino Hills (Calif.) versus perennial powerhouse Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman which matched up two 2015-16 state champions.
In the game, the Huskies won 84-70 and never trailed as Chino Hills beat Gorman for the second year in a row following their 98-81 victory, on Feb. 6, 2016.
LiAngelo Ball (30 pts.), Elizjah Scott (20 pts., 14 rebs.), and LaMelo Ball (19 pts., 7 assts.) were the Huskies’ top scorers while Jamal Bey (30) paced Gorman.
Last year, Chino Hills (35-0), led by the three Ball Brothers – senior Lonzo, junior LiAngelo, and freshman LaMelo – and sophomore cousin Andre Ball, were voted the No. 1 team in the country. With Lonzo now the starting point guard for the second-ranked UCLA Bruins, the Huskies are off to a 6-0 start and have won 41 games in a row.
The two other Ball brothers have also committed to UCLA and LaMelo’s game is reminiscent of Golden State’s Steph Curry with his flair on the court and unbelievable three-point shooting even when closely guarded.
Currently, Chino Hills is ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today Computer Poll, No. 6 USA Today Expert Poll, No. 6 Maxpreps’ National Poll, and No. 8 Maxpreps’ Xcellent 25 Poll.
Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei is sixth, seventh, fifth, and third, in that order, poll-wise and blew out Phoenix St. Mary’s, 79-43, on a Saturday’s game. On the day before, St. Mary’s lost 60-45 to New York City (N.Y.) Christ the King.
LaPorte (Ind.) La Lumiere more than doubled up Houston (Texas) Westbury Christian, 91-44, and the Lakers are the Expert’s top-ranked team; No. 11on the Computer; and No. 42 on the National polls.
Locally, Tempe Corona del Sol, who is seated 16th on the Xcellent poll, won both of their games over Moreau Catholic (99-67) and Christ the King (84-74). Chandler Basha (No. 25; National) also went 2-0 in the tournament after beating Lake Oswego (59-49) and Moreau. Lake Oswego (Ore.) likewise fell to Gilbert Perry, 49-42.
Phoenix Hillcrest Prep Academy, led by 7-foot-1 small forward DeAndre Ayton, defeated Westbury 73-51.
In the game, Ayton finished with game-highs in points (20), rebounding (18) and blocked shots (3). He also made two of his five three-point shots and dished out two assists as well as called the majority of the plays on offensive with or without the basketball in his possession.