Southern California's High School Sports Blog

Boys Hoops: 2017 All-Inland Empire Team

UCLA-bound LiAngelo Ball (No. 3) of Chino Hills. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

UCLA-bound LiAngelo Ball (No. 3) of Chino Hills. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.


2017 SO CAL SIDELINES BOYS BASKETBALL HONORS


ALL-INLAND EMPIRE TEAM


PLAYER OF THE YEAR


UCLA-commit LiAngelo Ball of Chino Hills. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

UCLA-commit LiAngelo Ball of Chino Hills. Photo/Manny Alvarez.

LiAngelo Ball, Chino Hills, Sr.

Gelo Ball put up some very big numbers and shockingly enough no scoreboards were harmed. Helping to lead the Huskies to a 30-3 record, Ball also helped Chino Hills win the Battle Zone, Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas and the Rancho Mirage Invitational and make trips to the CIF-SS Open Division semifinals and the CIF So Cal Regional Open Division semifinals. Ball put up some impressive numbers with a season high of 72 points against Rancho Christian of Temecula at the Battle Zone, while scoring more than 50 points five other times. Just like his older brother Lonzo, Gelo will head to UCLA with the title of Inland Empire Player of the Year.


COACH OF THE YEAR


Stephen Singleton of Roosevelt of Eastvale. Photo/Mark Tennis.

Stephen Singleton of Roosevelt of Eastvale. Photo/Mark Tennis.

Stephen Singleton, Roosevelt of Eastvale

How much credit can you give Stephen Singleton when he has a dynamite 1-2 combo in Jemarl Baker and Matt Mitchell? Well, he also had to keep the rest of the roster at the same level and while doing so, guided the Mustangs to Sacramento to capture a CIF State Title. Singleton coached Roosevelt to a third-place finish at the Pac Shores Tournament, a fourth-place finish at the Tarkanian Classic and a third-place finish at the Damien Holiday Classic. All three tournaments got the Mustangs battle-tested on the way to a Big VIII League title and a run to the CIF-SS Open Division quarterfinals. The cherry on top, of course, was the CIF Division I State Title. For his fantastic season at Roosevelt, Stephen Singleton is the Inland Empire Coach of the Year.


FRESHMAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR


DJ Davis of Centennial of Corona. Photo/Mark Bausman.

DJ Davis of Centennial of Corona. Photo/Mark Bausman.

DJ Davis, Riverside Poly/Centennial of Corona, Fr.

Probably the first and only time ever, someone will win an award while playing for two different schools in the same season. Davis started out the season at Riverside Poly, but then transfered mid-season to Centennial of Corona. You can tell how big of a blow it was because the Bears struggled mightily without him. For Centennial, it was perfect timing after losing Gio Nelson to an ACL/MCL injury. Davis filled in and helped Centennial to the CIF So Cal Regional Finals, losing to Roosevelt of Eastvale for the fifth time in the season. Davis averaged 14.8 points for the Huskies with season highs of 27 points against King of Riverside and four steals against Redondo Union in the CIF So Cal Regional quarterfinals. For delivering when it mattered most for Centennial, DJ Davis is your Inland Empire Freshman Player of the Year.


FIRST TEAM


UCLA-commit LaMelo Ball of Chino Hills. Photo/Mark Bausman.

UCLA-commit LaMelo Ball of Chino Hills. Photo/Mark Bausman.

LaMelo Ball, Chino Hills, So.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you are very familiar with Melo Ball, in fact way too familiar. Even though they had another big year at Chino Hills, the bar was set so high that it wasn’t as successful as they hoped it would be. The Huskies expect more from themselves, but it was a huge year for Melo nonetheless. Ball averaged 26.2 points this season with a season high of 92 points against Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga. If you are a sports fan, I’m sure you saw that on Sportscenter. Although he has two more years left with the Huskies, Ball is already planning to join the Bruins of UCLA, just like his brothers.

Eli Scott, Chino Hills, Sr.

Scott put up big numbers despite having other big-time players on his team. Scott helped lead the Huskies to another 30-win season, a trip to the CIF-SS Open Division semifinals and a trip to the CIF So Cal Regional Semifinals. Loyola Marymount got a steal as Scott will join the Lions next season.

Matt Mitchell throws down a dunk in Roosevelt of Eastvale's 68-65 victory over Cenetnnial of Corona in the CIF So Cal Division I Regional Finals on Saturday, March 18, 2017. Photo/Mark Bausman.

Matt Mitchell throws down a dunk in Roosevelt of Eastvale’s 68-65 victory over Cenetnnial of Corona in the CIF So Cal Division I Regional Finals on Saturday, March 18, 2017. Photo/Mark Bausman.

Matt Mitchell, Roosevelt of Eastvale, Sr.

Matt Mitchell never took his game face off this season. Mitchell was in the zone and didn’t smile until his job was done. Luckily, he got to smile when the Mustangs captured the CIF Division I State Title. Mitchell averaged 25.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game with season highs of 36 points against Santiago of Corona, 18 rebounds against Centennial of Corona in the consolation semifinals of the CIF-SS Open Division playoffs, seven assists against Chino Hills at the Tarkanian Classic and against Norco and seven steals against Taft of Woodland Hills in the semifinals of the CIF So Cal Regionals. Mitchell will keep the Orange and Blue and head to Cal State Fullerton next season, but you have to wonder how the big-time schools missed out on him.

Matt Bradley, San Bernardino, Jr.

Bradley put up numbers that would rival any video game. Bradley’s high scoring helped lead the Cardinals to the CIF-SS semifinals and the CIF So Cal Regional quarterfinals. Bradley averaged 33.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game with season highs of 72 points against Rubidoux of Riverside, 15 rebounds against Vista Murrieta at the Tarkanian Classic and Rubidoux, 10 assists against Colton, five steals against Banning and six blocks against Vista Del Lago of Moreno Valley. Bradley still has one more year remaining, which makes you very very happy if you are a San Bernardino Cardinal.

Jemarl Baker of Roosevelt of Eastvale with the layup. Photo/Mark Bausman.

Jemarl Baker of Roosevelt of Eastvale with the layup. Photo/Mark Bausman.

Jemarl Baker, Roosevelt of Eastvale, Sr.

It’s a good thing the rumor of Baker going to Mater Dei of Santa Ana in the summer as just rumor because staying at Roosevelt ended up working out. Baker helped led the Mustangs to a CIF State Title thanks to one of the best 1-2 punch combos in So Cal. Baker averaged 17.1 points and 4.1 assists per game with season highs of 31 points against Santa Monica at the Damien Holiday Classic and Redondo Union of Redondo Beach in the first round of the CIF-SS Open Division, nine rebounds against Santiago of Corona, 10 assists against Oak Park in the quarterfinals of the CIF So Cal Division I Regionals and seven steals against Corona in both meetings and Norco. Baker will be headed to Cal next season.

Justin Hemsley, Damien of La Verne, Sr.

Hemsley’s older brother Jeremy, who rewrote the record books at Damien, but Hemsley did help break a school record for most wins in a season. Hemsley led the Spartans to the CIF-SS Open Division quarterfinals and the CIF So Cal Regional semifinals en route to a 31-5 record. Damien is hoping there is another Hemsley brother out there to help them in the future.

Cameron Shelton, Damien of La Verne, Jr.

Shelton made a change of address this season. After coming off the bench and helping Chino Hills to a national title in 2016, Shelton transferred to Damien and helped the Spartans reach the CIF-SS Open Division quarterfinals. Shelton did run into his old teammates in the CIF-SS playoffs and also ran into his old coach in the CIF So Cal Regional quarterfinals. Shelton hopes to lead Damien to a Baseline League title next season.

Jalen Hill (No. 23) of Centennial of Corona. Photo/Mark Bausman.

Jalen Hill (No. 23) of Centennial of Corona. Photo/Mark Bausman.

Jalen Hill, Centennial of Corona, Sr.

Hill had a big year for Centennial despite not having an entire supporting cast this season with Legend Stamps sitting out the first 30 days due to the transfer rule, Gio Nelson out with a ACL/MCL injury and DJ Davis showing up later in the season from Riverside Poly. If he had the entire squad, maybe the Huskies win a few games over Roosevelt of Eastvale. Hill averaged 18.8 points and 12.5 rebounds this year with season highs of 30 points against Corona and 25 rebounds against JW North of Riverside at the Inland Valley/Big VIII Showcase. Hill is heading to UCLA next season.

Charles Neal, Rancho Mirage, Sr.

Neal put his name all over the Rancho Mirage record books and helped lead the Rattlers to back-to-back CIF-SS semifinals. Neal averaged 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game this season as he helped lead the Rattlers to 101 victories in his career. Those are going to be huge shoes to fill for Coach Rob Hamner and the Rattlers.

Kessler Edwards of Etiwanda shoots a jumper. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

Kessler Edwards of Etiwanda shoots a jumper. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

Kessler Edwards, Etiwanda, Jr.

Edwards helped lead the young Eagles to the CIF-SS semifinals. Despite playing in a tough Baseline League, Edwards led the way for Etiwanda, which will be expected to go deeper next season with all but two players returning.

Onyeka Okongwu, Chino Hills, So.

The Big O had pretty good stats which is hard to do when you have the Ball brothers and Eli Scott in front of you, but Okongwu proved to everyone why he is one of the best sophomores in So Cal. Okongwu averaged 12.8 points per game with a season high of 31 points against Rancho Cucamonga in the regular season finale. Okongwu’s stats will definitely improve now that Melo Ball and himself will run the show for the next two seasons.

Isaiah Mobley, Rancho Christian of Temecula, So.

Mobley led a young Eagles team to the CIF-SS semifinals with the help of his right-hand man, his younger brother Evan. Mobley averaged 17.6 points, 13.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 3.0 blocks per game with season highs of 41 points and 20 rebounds against Calvary Murrieta, 11 assists against Chino Hills at the Battle Zone, and six blocks against Mater Dei Catholic of Chula Vista. With the entire team back next season, Rancho Christian will be a team to be feared with Mobley leading the way.

Elizjah Scott of Chino Hills. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

Elizjah Scott of Chino Hills. Photo/Patrick Takkinen.

Kim Aiken, Redlands East Valley, Sr.

Aiken led the Wildcats to a 20-win season and a second-place finish in the Citrus Belt League. Aiken averaged 25.1 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game with season highs of 38 points against Riverside Poly at the Battle Zone, 20 rebounds against Yucaipa and six blocks against Cajon of San Bernardino. It will be difficult for REV to battle for a league title with Aiken not in the picture next year.

Jeremiah Martin, Cajon of San Bernardino, Jr.

Martin helped lead Cowboys to a Citrus Belt League title and a trip to the CIF-SS semifinals. Martin averaged 23.7 points and 14 rebounds per game. Luckily for Cajon, Martin will be back next season. That isn’t good news for the rest of the Citrus Belt League.

Joe Quintana, Bonita of La Verne, Sr.

Quintana had a huge year for the Bearcats, leading them to a Palomares League title. Quintana was a big threat and will be missed next season at Bonita.

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