When Chino High hired head coach Eric Cooper, a CIF-Southern Section championship coach several times while at La Verne Lutheran and Diamond Ranch high schools, in 2019 as their boys’ basketball coach they hoped he’d turn around a program without much success in decades. 

So far, he’s off to a good start. 

The Cowboys won nine straight games, including Thursday night’s 82-72 win over Don Lugo High, to capture the Mt. Baldy League championship, their first league title in the sport since 1979. 

Jason Hillard, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, led the Cowboys with 28 points, including 18 in the first half when the Cowboys led Don Lugo by nine at the break. Andrew Palacios, a transfer from Don Lugo, connected on five 3-pointers and finished with 20 points and Aaron Harris added 15 points for Chino, which finished its regular season at 9-1. The CIF-Southern Section playoff brackets will be announced Sunday with first-round games set for Wednesday.

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