NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s first NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week are JoVon McClanahan from Salesian of Richmond and Celeste Lewis (holding trophy) from Sierra Pacific of Hanford. Photos: Samuel Stringer / SportStars &

Our weekly honors switch this week from football to boys and girls basketball where it’s usually the case that we’re looking for tournament MVPs. The two boys winners definitely fit that description from the Gridley Invitational Basketball Tournament and that Father Barry Classic in Carmichael. For the girls, we have a top returnee from a CIF state title team and a sharpshooter who led her team to another major tourney title.

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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

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Boys Basketball Player of the Week

JoVon McClanahan
(Salesian, Richmond) Jr.

As a point guard, your job isn’t always to score a lot of points but to do everything well, including defend, and this week’s NorCal boys award winner does it all.

Not only that, but JoVon picked the biggest and oldest stage in Northern California to perform when it really counted the most, as McClanahan’s star shone the brightest on a very talented group of Salesian Pride players.

Last week, in a final score that even surprised Salesian head coach Bill Mellis, JoVon netted a game-high 24 points in leading an at the time Cal-Hi Sports No. 16 ranked Pride team to a 77-59 victory over state No. 4 Sheldon (Sacramento) in the championship game of the 65th Annual Gridley Invitational Basketball Tournament in the farming and agricultural town on Highway 99 north of Yuba City and 60 miles north of Sacramento.

McClanahan had 10 points in a lopsided win over host Gridley in the first game of the tournament, and followed that with 13 points in a 66-57 win over a very solid Riordan of San Francisco before his performance against Sheldon not only helped secure the victory but tournament MVP honors as well.

“I was a little surprised at our margin of victory,” Mellis remarked. “But JoVon has been playing very well, very consistent in all aspects of the game, and he’s been shooting the ball well.”

“His best quality though is he and his brother’s desire to win,” Mellis continued. “The twins have been setting a level of intensity that is unmatched.”

Oh, that’s right. We forgot to tell you the 5-foot-11 JoVon has a twin brother, 5-foot-11 guard Jaden McClanahan. In fact, Jaden, who was named to the Gridley Invitational All Tournament team along with junior guard Shane Bell, is actually outscoring his brother this season. Jaden had 11 points against Sheldon but is averaging 15.5 points and JoVon is at 13.2 points per game.

According to Cal-Hi Sports Managing Editor Ronnie Flores, who is the primary compiler of the state’s boys rankings, the 6-0 Pride will now be the top team in Northern California and likely will move up to No. 7 in the next rankings.

If JoVon and his twin Jaden, plus Bell continue to play as well as they have to start the season, and with 6-foot-8, 285-pound junior power forward Te’Jon Sawyer joining the team this week after completing the football season last weekend, the Pride may be hard for any NorCal team to beat this season.

The team and season will unfold but this week it’s about JoVon.

“His size is hurting him a little bit so colleges looking at him right now are mainly D2s,” Mellis said. “But I’m telling you he can really play and play at the D1 level. Teams are missing on him, and his brother too.”

Jonathan Salazar from St. John Bosco (Bellflower) has led the state No. 3 Braves to a strong start for this season. Photo: @WCEBball /

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Boys Basketball Player of the Week

Jonathan Salazar
(St. John Bosco, Bellflower) Sr.

If you think they only have good football teams at St. John Bosco, think again because the Braves can play some hoops, and Salazar, who moved from Panama to the United States before his sophomore year and attended Trinity Prep in Las Vegas for his sophomore season before transferring to Bosco prior to his junior year, is the top player on a team that is now 9-0 to start the season.

Last week, in a 85-69 victory over Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) in the championship game of the Father Barry Classic at Jesuit of Carmichael, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound man-child that has committed to the University of Pacific, was a one-player wrecking crew after a monster 36-point performance in which the big guy even drained six shots from outside the arc. He also had seven rebounds and two assists.

Salazar didn’t have any double-doubles in the Father Barry after two solid performances of 14 points and seven rebounds and 13 and seven in wins over St. Mary’s of Stockton and Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, respectively, but he has three this season, including 20 points and 11 rebounds against preseason state ranked St. Anthony of Long Beach, and is averaging 18.0 points and 10.6 rebounds per game for a team that is No. 3 in the current Cal-Hi Sports rankings and certainly won’t be dropping.

Last year for a team that went 25-8 before being upset in the CIF Southern Regional Division I title game by eventual state champion Chino Hills, Salazar was second on the team in scoring at 14.1 points a game and led the team in rebounding at 9.8 boards a contest.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Basketball Player of the Week

Celeste Lewis
(Sierra Pacific, Hanford) Jr.

As is the case with our football players of the week feature that just ended, the CIF Central Section is considered part of Northern California for the this feature and that’s exactly where we go right out of the box as we head to the Central Valley agricultural and commercial hub of Hanford for the first week of basketball for our Northern California Girls Player of the Week.

The Golden Bears have picked up right where they left off last season after the defending CIF Division V state champions are off to a 7-0 start, and our NorCal honoree and flashy junior point guard has been a big part of the success both last year and to start this season.

Last week, Lewis was the model of consistency and found ways to contribute across the stat sheet in leading Sierra Pacific to the championship of the Hoover High Holiday Classic in Fresno.

The Golden Bears’ leading scorer had 20 points, five steals, two assists and two rebounds and two blocked shots against Fresno Sunnyside. In a win over Fresno Edison in the next game, and against head coach and three-time Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year Jackie White, Celeste was at her best, and nearly had a triple double after finishing with 13 points, 15 assists, eight steals and five rebounds.

In a semifinal 52-41 win over host Hoover, Lewis had 13 points, six rebounds, four steals and three blocks. Finally, in the championship against Washington Union of Fresno, Lewis had another double-double in a 57-40 victory in which she netted 14 points, dished out 10 assists, pulled down seven rebounds, snagged four steals and blocked three shots.

Already this week Lewis had another near triple double in a blowout of Woodlake after finishing with 22 points, 10 assists and eight steals. So far this season she leads the team in every statistical category except rebounding and blocked shots, with averages of 16.0 points, 8.1 assists, 6.4 steals, 4.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

Last year as a sophomore she led Sierra Pacific in scoring at 12.5 ppg and she came up huge with 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the Golden Bears 71-70 CIF Southern Regional Division V title game.

Hayley Berfield has helped Granada Hills Charter look like a strong favorite this year in the CIF L.A. City Section. Photo: Mike Terry /

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Basketball Player of the Week

Hayley Berfield
(Granada Hills Charter, Granada Hills) Sr.

The football stadium at Granada Hills Charter is named John Elway Stadium for the Highlanders’ most famous graduate, but at the school just up the street from Cal State Northridge the girls basketball team has been recently making a name for itself.

Despite a tough loss to Valencia, they’re still 9-1 and the top team in the CIF Los Angeles City Section, and Berfield has been a huge part of the success both to start this season and because of it the Highlanders 5-foot-7 guard not only has earned the Daily News Girls Athlete of the Week, but she snags our Southern California girls honor as well.

Last week, in a solid performance against some familiar names in the world of Southern California girls basketball, Berfield shined in leading Granada Hills Charter to the championship of the top division of the Burroughs Tournament in Burbank where she was also named the Most Valuable Player.

For four games, one of which was an out of bracket blowout of Newbury Park in which she hardly saw action, and an opening round lopsided win over Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Montebello, Haley had 71 points, but it was in the two games that really counted in which she showed her prowess.

In a semifinal 56-53 victory over Harvard-Westlake of Studio City, Berfield had 27 points, four rebounds and two steals. She followed that up with 28 points and three steals in a 67-44 tournament title-game victory over Chaminade of West Hills.

So far this season, Berfield leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game while adding 3.5 rebounds and 3.1 steals per contest.

Head coach Jared Honig has a lot of girls that can play and a shout-out goes to Berfield’s backcourt mate and 5-foot-8 senior Stephanie Ornelas. She had 17 points against Harvard-Westlake and 23 against Chaminade.

Berfield and her teammates are next in action at the Great 8 Tournament at Marlborough of Los Angeles before traveling to Northern California where they will try their hand in the Gold Division of the West Coast Jamboree.

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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