Fohi basketball men obtain Skyline title, earn No. 1 seed in CIF 5A tournament; see video | Sports

Two years ago, the Fontana High School basketball men endured a frustrating season with a 4-20 record.

But what a difference a new coach and a new attitude can make.

This year, the Steelers have rocketed to the Skyline League championship and are seeded No. 1 in the CIF Division 5A playoffs. They will play at home against a wild card winner on Friday, Feb. 11 in the opening round of the tournament.

Coach Mel Wilkins is very pleased with the spectacular rise to the top by the Steelers, who had not had a winning record since the 2006-2007 season.

Here in 2021-22, they are 20-5 and have won the league for the first time in more than two decades, which is a “great feat,” Wilkins said.

“They put in a lot of work in order to accomplish what they have so far, so I’m very proud of them,” he said.

He acknowledged that the Steelers aren’t as talented as some of their opponents, but they work together extremely well and play solid defense.

Providing strong leadership are Sergio Avalos, Joshua Okolugbo, and Esteban Perez.

“They’ve been leaving it on the court every night. They have made a big difference for us,” Wilkins said.

In the finale of the league tournament on Feb. 4, the Steelers smashed Rim of the World, 81-40, as Avalos fired in 32 points. Okolugbo supplied 19 points and Perez had 10.

Now the Steelers get a chance to continue their splendid season in the playoffs.

“Making the playoffs is extremely awesome for this program,” Wilkins said. “I’m excited, and I’m hoping we can give it a good run.”

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