SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of our four SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week are Bryce Pope from Torrey Pines of San Diego and Suzette Quinlan from Aliso Niguel of Aliso Viejo. Photos: & Courtesy Photo through

Tulare High in the CIF Central Section has another record-breaker this winter after Kazmeir Allen lit up Friday nights during the football season. Now it’s Kiara Brown of the girls basketball team, who had 46 points and 30 rebounds for one game last week. In addition to Brown as our NorCal Girls POW, our other selections this week are from San Diego, Aliso Viejo and Redding.

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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 Southern California
Boys Player of the Week

Bryce Pope
(Torrey Pines, San Diego) Jr.

The Falcons’ star guard has been flying higher than the famous Torrey Pines themselves, and in doing so he has been a big reason the Falcons are 23-2 and on the bubble knocking on the door of the state rankings. In the local San Diego Section rankings, though, they’re currently No. 1 and were No. 1 early in the season as well.

Last week, in a 84-52 victory over San Dieguito Academy of Encinitas, the 6-foot-2 junior dropped in 33 points and shot 86 percent from the field. He followed that up with something a little closer to his 23.3 points per game average with a 23-point performance against crosstown Francis Parker in a 72-63 victory.

Pope has gone over the 30-point mark seven times this season with a high of 36 points in a victory over Poway. He is often joined as one of the top scorers at Torrey Pines by his twin brother, Michael, who is averaging more than 12 ppg. Bryce has been one of the most improved players in Southern California this season and has shown he can attack the basket and score and not just shoot jumpers from the perimeter.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Player of the Week

Suzette Quinlan
(Aliso Niguel, Aliso Viejo) Sr.

We go to the hills of southern Orange County for our SoCal award winner to honor a senior guard who tied the OC record for three-pointers in a game last week.

In a 77-33 victory over visiting El Toro of Lake Forest, the Wolverines’ senior drilled 11 three-pointers and scored 33 points. The 11 treys was obviously a school record and according to the OC Register the 33 points she scored in the game was also a school record.

What makes the mark unique is if you do the arithmetic you’ll see that all her points came on shots from outside the arc.

The county record for three-pointers in a game was 11, set by Brea Olinda’s Nicole Erickson in the 1992-93 season and tied earlier this year when Irvine Beckman senior Katrina Metcalf on Jan. 18 had 11 in a 41-point effort against Irvine Northwood. In the Cal-Hi Sports state record book, we also have 11 for Fabrizio Mendiola of El Toro in a Feb. 1997 game vs. Santa Margarita.

Unfortunately, the way the girls are draining three-pointers in Orange County this season the record tied by Quinlan only lasted a week. We’re not going to tell you the who, what, where and when because the new record-holder may be next week’s honoree.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Boys Player of the Week

Austin Larson
(Redding Christian) Sr.

The old expression “if you do not succeed at first try, try again” is somewhat appropriate for our NorCal boys winner since he was nominated previously but right after the nomination came in his team lost for only the second time in a 21-2 season.

Larson has continued his torrid pace since the previous nomination, so as result we go back to the CIF Northern Section for the second time this season, and after previously honoring a girl from Chico we go even further north to a Redding community of surprisingly nearly 100,000 residents to recognize this 6-foot-1 junior wing.

Last week, in a 68-27 victory at Red Bluff Mercy, Larson recorded a triple-double with 23 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists with four steals and four blocks. He then followed that up in a 66-26 victory at Burney with a monster double-double 40 points and 13 rebounds with seven steals, five block and three assists.

For the season, Austin is averaging 24.2 points, 12.7 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 3.4 blocks and 3.3 steals per game.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Player of the Week

Kiara Brown
(Tulare Union, Tulare) Sr.

It seems like we just can’t stay away from the CIF Central Section in honoring either a boy or girl from an area we consider part of Northern California for these awards.

The result is after choosing a girl from the far northern region of the CIF North Coast Section last week we go over 500 miles south this week to honor this record-breaker that was nominated by longtime Cal-Hi Sports friend and contributor and Central Section historian Bob Barnett.

Not only did Brown set one school record but The Tribe star established three records in a 72-64 victory over Monache of Porterville. The 6-foot junior scored 46 points, pulled down 30 rebounds and made 20 free-throws in the win. In her second game last week she didn’t see a lot of time in a 61-14 rout of Delano but still managed a double-double 24 points and 20 rebounds.

So far this season, Brown is averaging 27.0 points a game and that’s No. 11 reported in the state. Her 18.0 rebounds a game is even higher on that list as the No. 2 reported mark.

Tulare as a school so far this school year has had its share of record-breakers, led by Kazmeir Allen on the football field. Brown is now shining on the hardwood.

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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