NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week are Nick Klarman (left) of Concord Clayton Valley & Alexis Lowden of Glendora. Photos: Harold Abend & Twitter.com.


After taking a break for the holidays, this feature returns with honors for two players who have led their teams to unbeaten seasons (as of Jan. 3). Plus, we head down to San Diego County for details on reported state scoring leader Cam Barry and we go up north to Chico for a West Coast Jamboree tourney MVP who has signed with Colorado.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate someone by 12 noon on most Mondays, email markjtennis@gmail.com. This is our third set of honorees for the 2017-18 season for basketball.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Boys Player of the Week

Nick Klarman
(Clayton Valley, Concord) Sr.

Some players put up huge numbers but either their team doesn’t consistently win despite the stat sheet being filled, or the player’s performances are inconsistent. For Klarman and the Ugly Eagles this season, inconsistency is the farthest thing from reality. In fact, the Ugly Eagles and the 6-foot-5 senior forward in particular, have been the model of consistency in what is the greatest start in school history.

Since our feature is late this week in being released we’ll add in Klarman’s stats from this week’s game which got Clayton Valley to 13-0 to begin the season after a 7-0 start in the early 1980s was their best previous start ever.

We’ll start with three games before Christmas where Klarman led the team in scoring and rebounding in all three contests. Against Pleasanton Foothill, he had 18 points and 14 rebounds in a 75-55 victory. In a 81-66 win over Berkeley, Klarman went for 28 points and 17 rebounds, including 3-of-4 on 3-pointers, and then in a 68-48 win over Pleasanton Amador He had 19 points and 13 rebounds. Last week, in a 73-57 victory over James Logan of Union City, and with Cal-Hi Sports in the house keeping stats, Klarman had 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, four blocks and three steals. This week, in a 75-67 home win over Pittsburg, the double-double machine had 21 points and 14 rebounds.

A lot of Division 2 colleges are looking at Klarman but due to a lack of summer ball early in his high school career word is just now getting out on him.

“Nick has just started to come on the scene because his AAU experience was limited until he started playing full time this summer,” said Clayton Valley head coach Eric Bamberger, himself a star at St. Mary’s College.

So far this season, Klarman is averaging 19.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.7 steals, 2.4 assists and 2.4 blocks per game.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Boys Player of the Week

Cam Barry
(West Hills, Santee) Sr.

Barry is a perfect example of the prototype student-athlete who not only puts up gaudy numbers on the basketball court but the 6-foot-1 senior guard also carries a 4.1 GPA in the classroom and is the student body president at West Hills.

So far this season, the way Barry has been scoring points has been scary to opponents.

Just before Christmas, San Diego Union Tribune writer John Maffei did a feature on Barry and that night he promptly went out and scored a season-high 53 points with 14 rebounds in a 84-56 victory over Victory Christian Academy of Chula Vista. In his three games before that, Barry had 35 points in a 65-36 win against Fallbrook, 37 points in a 71-38 win over Coronado, and 36 points in a blowout of Chula Vista Castle Park.

Earlier this season, Barry went for 46 points in an 86-59 win against San Ysidro. His low water mark was 27 points (12 rebounds) in a 60-58 squeaker over Mt. Carmel. Even in the first three games for the Wolf Pack that resulted in losses, Barry had 39 points against Vista, 30 versus Mater Dei of Chula Vista and 35 points against Christian of El Cajon. In the other loss for West Hills this season he finished with 28 points.

With those kinds of numbers you almost need an abacus to add them up, but if you do the math you’ll find that Barry is averaging 36.6 points a game (9.8 rebounds) and is the reported state leader and just under three points a game ahead of number two on the list, Nate Kendricks of Reedley Immanuel.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Player of the Week

Serena Tuitele
(Pleasant Valley, Chico) Sr.

It’s kind of a tradition to in some way honor a girl from the West Coast Jamboree the week after the tournament, and we could have gone with the magnificent Haley Jones of Archbishop Mitty after her performances in the Platinum Division.

Instead, for the first time this season, we go to the CIF Northern Section for an award winner, and in doing so find the 6-foot-1 Colorado-bound senior power forward/center that led Pleasant Valley to the Silver Division title.

In a grind-it-out 48-40 win over Dublin in a championship game where Pleasant Valley trailed 36-31 after three quarters, Tuitele came through down the stretch to lead the team to the victory and finished with a double-double 22 points and 10 rebounds with six steals, five assists and five blocked shots. In the semifinals, Tuitele had a season-high 23 points with five rebounds, four assists and three blocks. For her efforts Tuitele was honored with the Davis “Scoop” Jackson Most Valuable Player Award for the Silver Division.

She didn’t have her best game of the season but according to the Folsom players and coaches interviewed at the West Coast Jamboree, Tuitele and the Vikings crew played great in handing the Cal-Hi Sports No. 5 ranked Bulldogs their only other loss except to Mitty this season, when Pleasant Valley came away with a 59-57 victory in the title game of the Roseville tournament. Senior teammate Claire Garcia led the team with 17 points that night but Tuitele was right behind her with 14 points, plus nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.
So far in an 8-3 season Serena is the model of consistency and is averaging 16.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.3 steals, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks per game.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Player of the Week

Alexis Lowden
(Glendora) Sr.

For our NorCal boys winner we went with a player from an unbeaten team and for the SoCal girls honoree we do the same by taking a ride out Old Historic Route 66 to the San Gabriel Valley to pick a girl who does it all for the Tartans.

Had stats been available for this week’s 73-38 victory over San Clemente that got Glendora to 16-0 this season we would have added them in, but even without them, Lowden has been exemplary.

Recently, her time has been limited in blowout wins including three last week in the Tartans’ own Glendora Tournament, however Lowden is still first on the team in scoring with an 18.4 per game average, second in rebounding at 9.8 a game, first in assists with 5.3 per game, and she leads the team and is the No. 6 reported leader in the state in steals at 7.0 per contest.

So far this season, and despite being a 5-foot-8 guard, Lowden has seven double doubles and one triple-double in the first 15 games. Her season best for points was 32 with eight steals, five assists and four rebounds in a 79-38 thrashing of neighboring Covina South Hills. Lowden’s high water mark for rebounds was 16 with 25 points in a 76-31 victory over Whittier Christian of La Habra.

Her top game for steals came in the triple-double where despite having her time limited and only going for 14 points in a running clock blowout of Los Amigos of Fountain Valley, Lowden had 12 steals to go with 10 rebounds plus five assists for good measure.

Lowden signed a letter of intent recently with Azusa Pacific.

Harold Abend is the associate editor of CalHiSports.com and the vice president of the California Prep Sportswriters Association. He can be reached at marketingharoldabend@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend


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