NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week are guards Kyle Paranada from Montgomery of San Diego and Annika Shah of Palo Alto. Photos: Chadd Cady / thestarnews.com & David Hickey / paloaltoonline.com.


Jazlen “Jazzy” Green gets into groove for 39 points and goes nice and smooth with 16 of 16 on free throws in an effort for Lakeside of Lake Elsinore that helps her collect SoCal Player of the Week selection. This week’s other players getting the nod are from Ripon, Palo Alto and San Diego.

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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.

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

Annika Shah
(Palo Alto) Soph.

We head to the shadows of Stanford University where we honor a young woman that has been getting some attention from Palo Alto Weekly associate sports editor Glenn Reeves and rightfully so after the sophomore guard has put Paly on the CIF Central Coast Section girls basketball radar screen this season after helping lead the Vikings to a 16-3 overall record and 8-0 in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League – De Anza Division.

Earlier this month after leading Palo Alto to three victories and the tournament title at the Joe Schram Classic at St. Francis, Shah was named the Palo Alto Weekly Player of the Week. Now, with her recent performances, Annika adds the Northern California Girls Player of the Week to her list of awards that likely will grow larger in the next two-plus seasons.

Last week, in a hard fought 51-47 league win on the road at Saratoga, Shah was awesome after dropping in a career-high 41 points with six 3-pointers, and Paly needed them all.

Two weeks ago, in another close 52-46 victory against Wilcox of Santa Clara, Annika came up huge with a 30-point effort. On the season Shah is averaging 26.6 points per game.

Ripon’s Vincent Olmo often rises above defenders at 6-foot-9 and has a soft shooting touch. Photo: mantecabulletin.com.


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

Vincent Olmo
(Ripon) Sr.

We head to the southern portion of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section just north of Modesto on Highway 99 to a small town that has a tradition of boys basketball excellence. It’s there that we find our Northern California award winner who somewhat epitomizes the phrase “awakening the sleeping giant.”

When we saw on Twitter that Olmo got a write-up from FrontRowPreps.com and the story was about him starting to be more aggressive, we couldn’t help but respond that we were glad to hear it because when we saw the big fella personally at a Northern California NCAA certified viewing event last year, the word among the college coaches and analysts was the 6-foot-9, 250-pound post had the size and tools but he needed to impose his physicality better than he had shown.

Well, it seems the worm has turned, and it began after Ripon lost its first Trans Valley League game to crosstown arch-rival Ripon Christian that also has a lot of tradition, including a 3-0 record in CIF Division V state championship contests.

After that 54-48 home loss that dropped the Indians to 4-1 in league, Olmo has seemingly become a different player. In his next game, and in a 57-49 win over Modesto in the Modesto Christian MLK Showcase, Olmo went for a double-double 20 points and 13 rebounds with four blocked shots.

Last week, he continued his torrid pace with a two more impressive double-double performances after dropping in 26 points with 17 rebounds, four blocks and two steals in an 89-74 league win over Livingston, and 21 points and 10 rebounds with five blocks in a 68-47 victory against Hilmar. Already this week, in an 85-78 victory over nearby Riverbank that got Ripon to 13-11 and 7-1 in league, Olmo had another 20-point performance with five rebounds, five blocks and two steals.

Going into a Thursday night league game with Escalon, Olmo is averaging 17.0 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.

“It’s almost like the Ripon Christian game lit a fire under him,” Ripon head coach Justin Graham told FrontRowPreps. “He’s not shying away from contact and he’s playing incredibly aggressive. Something is going on with Vince.”

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

Kyle Paranada
(Montgomery, San Diego) Sr.

We visit the CIF San Diego Section in the South Bay/Otay Mesa West area of the city of San Diego near the border with Mexico for our SoCal boys honoree this week.

What we find is a smallish 5-foot-9, 145-pound string bean guard who likes to shoot the three-ball and has been putting up some huge numbers for an Aztecs team that is 19-3 overall this season and 5-1 and a game behind nearby rival Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista) in the race for the Mesa League title.

Last week, in a 79-71 league victory over Chula Vista Bonita Vista, the lean Paranada was like a praying mantis after he went for 31 points, including six 3-pointers, plus six rebounds, four steals and two assists.

Kyle liked the number six last week because in the next game, an 80-56 victory over Otay Ranch of Chula Vista, he drained six treys again and finished with 29 points with four steals and three assists. And finally last Saturday, you guessed it, he dropped in six bombs from outside the arc in a 71-67 victory at the San Diego Coaches vs. Cancer event against a Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) team that couldn’t stop him despite having 15 players 6-foot tall and over on its roster.

Paranada only had 11 points in the Aztecs 67-54 loss to Mater Dei and he’ll look to improve that on Wednesday night in the re-match, but even so Kyle is averaging 24.4 points, 4.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game. He’s been in double-figure scoring in all 22 games, has gone for 30 or more points on four occasions, and has a season-high 35 points in an 85-71 victory over Long Beach Jordan.

Jazlen Green poses with J.W. North fan Kelly Smith, who is also a fan of Cal women’s hoops. Photo: Twitter.com.


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

Jazlen “Jazzy” Green
(Lakeside, Lake Elsinore)

At the beginning of the season when we queried Southern California coaches about possible sleeper teams they all said look out for Lakeside and it’s Cal-committed shooting guard.

Lakeside hasn’t quite cracked the top 20 but the Lancers are 20-3 and have been on the bubble all season and a good deal of the success has been because of the production of the 5-foot-10 senior.

Last week, in a 74-65 victory over JW North of Riverside for sole possession of first place at the time in the Ivy League, Jazzy was more than snazzy as Green was like a scoring and rebounding machine. She had a monster double-double 39 points and 11 rebounds. In the outing Green also was 16 for 16 from the free-throw line and that is a number that will get Jazzy some pizzazz because it will earn her a spot in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book on the Most Free Throws Without a Miss (Game) list.

Green, who has had several other 30-point games this season, will now start to focus on the CIF Southern Section playoffs with the rest of her teammates. The Lancers project as one of the favorites in he Division 2A bracket since they’ve been No. 1 in that divisional ranking.

If Lakeside is to go far in the playoffs, like it did in 2016 when it won the Southern Regional Division III championship before a heartbreaking 50-47 loss to Sacred Heart Cathedral in the CIF D3 state championship, Green will need some performances like she had against the girls from Riverside.

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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