NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week are Tevian Jones of Culver City and Talia Taufaasau from Canyon of Canyon Country. Photos: &

Scoring 48 points in a game earlier this season at The Classic at Damien has helped Tevian Jones of Culver City get even more attention from D1 colleges and now he gets SoCal Player of Week accolades with two 30-point outings out of his last three games. Also selected this week are players from Bakersfield, Canyon of Canyon Country and Arcata.

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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 This is our third set of honorees for the 2017-18 season for basketball.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Boys Player of the Week

Justin Greiner
(Centennial, Bakersfield) Sr.

We really didn’t want to go back to Bakersfield this week after our NorCal girls winner last week from an area we consider part of Northern California for these awards, although it is from the southernmost part of what they call The Valley, but after scouring for things we just couldn’t overlook the performance of Justin.

Although Greiner was flying high, the Golden Hawks were grounded in back-to-back Southwest Yosemite League losses to Bakersfield and Liberty of Bakersfield, so when he dropped in his second-highest total of 37 points against crosstown Frontier last week, it helped snap the skid in an 84-70 victory that got Centennial to 3-2 in league.

In a bit of a twist, Greiner did it against his former team as the 6-foot-2 guard transferred to Centennial from Frontier after his junior season when he was Bakersfield Metro honorable mention after averaging 17.1 points per game and previously 13.4 as a sophomore.

This season, Justin is averaging 25.9 points per game with a high-water mark of 42 points in a win over Porterville. With the 708 points he had at Frontier, the outing against his old mates gets him to 1,304 career points combined.

He’s caught the eye the past three years of Bakersfield Californian prep writer Trevor Horn.

“He was good as a junior at Frontier. Now at Centennial his game has taken off. He’s a good shooter,” said Horn about Greiner, who has 96 three-pointers this season and shoots 86 percent from the free throw line.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Player of the Week

Kaylie McCracken
(Arcata) Sr.

For the first time this season, we go to the far northern portion of the CIF North Coast Section to the Redwood Empire and behind the Redwood Curtain for our girls NorCal winner. It’s also certainly not a stretch to say that Tigers’ head coach Doug Oliveira rarely has to ask the 5-foot-11 McCracken to “get cracking.”

The coach didn’t have to last week in a 75-68 victory over McKinleyville as the Huskies forward went for 37 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and three assists. It was the second time this season McCracken has “cracked the whip” against McKinleyville. Earlier this month, she went for 41 points, 14 rebounds, seven steals and four assists in a 89-62 victory over the same team.

McCracken had another 40-point game when she scored 44 with 16 rebounds, seven steals and five assists in an 87-78 win over St. Bernard’s of Eureka.

So far this season, McCracken has had 18 double-doubles in 19 games with the lone miss being a recent loss to a solid Oregon South Medford where she still had 26 points. All in all, McCracken is No. 4 in the NCS for reported scorers at 27.3 ppg and No. 6 in rebounds with 12.6 per game. Earlier this season, McCracken cracked the 1,000-point mark and now has 1,166 points to go with 798 rebounds in her four-year varsity career.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Boys Player of the Week

Tevian Jones
(Culver City) Sr.

Culver City is pretty much surrounded by Los Angeles, and some of the jets taking off from nearby LAX gain altitude as they pass by the town, but we’re here to talk about Tevian Jones, the Centaurs’ 6-foot-7 senior wing whose game has taken off and has him doing some high flying himself.

Last week, in a 71-69 victory over Beverly Hills that got Culver City to 13-8 and 6-0 in the Ocean League, Jones, who has interest from a dozen D1 programs with offers from Illinois, Nevada, San Diego State and Nevada Las Vegas, poured in 34 points and the Centaurs needed them all to hold onto first place in league.

Prior to the Beverly Hills win, Jones had 33 points and nine rebounds in a victory over Santa Monica. Back in December in The Classic at Damien, he went for 48 points (six three-pointers) and 13 rebounds with five assists in a triple-overtime 118-116 loss to Taft of Woodland Hills. In that same game, freshman teammate Tsalta Wainwright made 10 three-point shots.

So far this season, Jones is averaging 20.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He moved to Culver City from Chandler, Arizona where he scored 994 points in his first three seasons.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Player of the Week

Talia Taufaasau
(Canyon, Canyon Country) Sr.

We go out to the Santa Clarita Valley for the first time this season to honor a 5-foot-7 senior point guard who is a major reason the Cowboys’ girls are 20-4 and 6-0 in the Foothill League, and On the Bubble knocking on the door of the state rankings.

Last week, Taufaasau had the Cowboys’ fans saying wow after she had a point guard’s triple double 24 points, 14 steals and 11 assists in a blowout win of neighboring West Ranch of Valencia. It’s the second time she’s put a triple-double on West Ranch after going for 14 points, 12 assists and 10 steals in the first meeting.

Those are the only triple-doubles for Talia but she’s been in double figures for assists eight times and steals twice. Point-wise Taufaasau is averaging 15.4 points per game, and that’s second on the team to 6-foot-3 senior post Rachel Bowers, but her 7.5 assists per game is No. 5 reported in the state. She’s also averaging 3.6 steals per game and that’s top 50 in the state.

Of note is Taufaasau had 24 points and six assists in a 55-43 win over a Granada Hills Charter team that owns an upset of state No. 19 Ribet Academy and its international lineup, including 6-foot-9 Andrea Aquino.

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

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