Alijah Arenas sets record with 44 points in Chatsworth's Division IV state basketball loss

Playing at an NBA arena and with his famous father, former NBA guard Gilbert Arenas, sitting courtside and offering encouragement, 16-year-old sophomore Alijah Arenas of Chatsworth turned in the second-greatest scoring performance in state basketball history next to the 64-point effort by Tracy Murray of Glendora in 1989.

Arenas finished with 44 points, a Division IV record. He made 17 of 32 shots and did his best but Chatsworth was beaten by Monterey 74-66 at Golden 1 Center on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m very grateful,” Arenas said. “I wish I could have left here with a win.”

The Chancellors (20-15) started slowly and could never catch up to a Monterey (25-6) team that received balanced scoring. Kavon Collins finished with 22 points, Joshua Roth scored 19 and Ryan Roth had 18.

Chatsworth received a strong game from 6-foot-8 center Taj Unuakhalu, who had 19 rebounds and nine blocked shots. He’ll be back on the volleyball court starting Monday.

“This was tough for us,” interim coach Sam Harris said. “We started off slow. They blitzed us a little bit. We regrouped. We came out sluggish. We let them get comfortable.”

Arenas had 16 points at halftime and scored 15 in the third quarter. He didn’t receive much scoring help other than freshman TJ Phillips making three threes in the first half. He suffered an ankle injury and was limping in the second half.

The 6-foot-6 Arenas, who came in averaging 33 points, was very emotional afterward. It remains to be seen if he’ll be back for a third year at Chatsworth. His father said last year he was committed to two years, then would examine the future. He’ll be playing for Compton Magic this spring and summer.

“He’s not too much in my ear because he wants me to do my game,” Arenas said of his father.

Arenas’ presence has helped bring excitement to Chatsworth basketball. The team won nine games his freshman year and made it to the City Section Open Division semifinals this season before a last-second loss to Los Angeles CES. The team made a comeback during the regional playoffs as the No. 1 seed for Division IV, advancing to its first state final.

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