SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s featured players are Jamar Marshall from St. Mary’s of Stockton and Vanessa Aguirre from Mark Keppel of Alhambra. Photos: Mark Tennis & theaztecnews.com.


Scoring 24 points often isn’t enough to be a player of the week, but St. Mary’s of Stockton junior point guard Jamar Marshall did it when his team ended the state-record and national-best 194-game league win streak held by Modesto Christian. We talked with Jamar at school earlier this week about that game. He’s joined by players of the week from Calabasas, Redding and Alhambra.

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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.

(Editor Mark Tennis visited with Marshall and did the writeup on him. Harold, as usual, did all of the others.)

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

Vanessa Aguirre (Mark Keppel, Alhambra) Sr.

The phrases “under the radar” or “hidden treasure” can get overused, but then again they can be underused, and that’s exactly the case for our SoCal girls award winner despite her being the reigning Pasadena Star-News Player of the Year, First Team All CIF Southern Section and a Cal-Hi Sports All State selection as well.

The way she looked over the MLK weekend at St. Mary’s of Stockton in an 85-61 MLK Day dismantling of a Bishop’s of La Jolla team coming off a win over state No. 20 St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) had us wondering where this girl was headed to college. It wasn’t just her 22 points (three three-pointers), seven rebounds, five assists and three steals with only one turnover, it was the way she took over the game.

In the previous game on Saturday at St. Mary’s, Aguirre had a double-double 30 points and 10 steals with seven rebounds and six steals in a 69-35 thrashing of a decent Lincoln of Stockton.

When we asked head coach Jose Herrera where Aguirre was headed, his answer was he was having trouble even getting her looks let alone an offer.

Well, now, after leading the Aztecs to their ninth straight Almont League title last week, 17th title in the last 18 years, and helping continue a 90-game league winning streak, hopefully that can change when some college coaches’ eyeballs peruse this story.

In a win on the road at San Gabriel that clinched the league championship last week, Vanessa was at her best after finishing with a triple-double 24 points and 11 rebounds with 10 assists plus four steals and only two turnovers. It was her first triple-double but between a combination of points, rebounds, assists and steals Aguirre has had eight other double-doubles. She also had 15 points and 10 steals last week in a win vs. Alhambra.

Aguirre had a double-double with a twist earlier this season when she had season-highs of 37 points and 14 steals in a win at Ribet Academy of Los Angeles.

On the season for the 21-5 Aztecs, who now host Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga) in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs, Aguirre is averaging 19.7 points, 6.2 steals, 5.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.

By the way, for all you prospective college suitors, besides handling the rock, Vanessa carries a near 4.0 GPA in the classroom.

Max Cheylov of Calabasas is the reigning MVP of the very loaded Marmonte League. Photo: Twitter.com.


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

Max Cheylov (Calabasas) Sr.

We go to the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains just west of the far end of the San Fernando Valley where we find a 6-foot-3 senior guard who is having a very solid season for the Coyotes who are 19-9 overall and 7-1 in the Marmonte League.

There are no official reported stats for Calabasas so when the nomination came in it was a combination of a long essay chocked full of stats for Max, and since it all looked pretty legitimate, we decided to give Cheylov some love and honor him as the Southern California Boys Player of the Week.

Last week, on Senior Night and against neighboring league rival Westlake of Westlake Village, Cheylov equaled his season high after dropping in 39 points on 13 of 18 from the field, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Two weeks ago in a 90-84 comeback overtime league win against Newbury Park, Max went mad down the stretch. Cheylov ended up with 29 points, five rebounds and seven assists, but he scored the team’s final six points including a basket with four seconds left to force overtime, then had nine points in the extra period to help seal the deal.

Cheylov’s other 39-point effort came in a loss to San Gabriel Academy of San Gabriel where he also had eight rebounds and seven assists. On the season he’s averaging 20 points, eight rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.

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

Jamar Marshall (St. Mary’s, Stockton) Jr.

As a sophomore athlete for the Rams, Marshall was on the all-state sophomore team in football (kick returner, wide receiver) and he was one of the state’s best hurdlers in track and field regardless of year in school. At least anyone who can dip under 14 seconds in the 110 highs and compete in the CIF state meet finals as a sophomore is quite impressive.

Basketball probably would have been the third sport on Jamar’s list of accomplishments last year since he played well in many moments for a team that went to the CIF NorCal Division II championship. But once you meet him, it’s quick that basketball is actually his favorite sport and the one he dreams about the most.

Marshall says he took it upon his own initiative to skip playing football this past season so he could get ready for what he hoped would be a breakout season on the court. Consider that mission accomplished. The junior guard scored 14 of his 24 points last week in leading St. Mary’s past Modesto Christian 60-54 in a win that snapped Modesto Christian’s all-time state record and national best 194-game league winning streak. The last time that the Crusaders lost a league game was in 1996 to Mariposa. And that they lost at home was perhaps more surprising.

“Yes, it was motivation for us to end their streak,” Marshall said. “We were supposed to get them at our place in the first round (of league play). We were down by 18, but we came back and then it was just one break down the stretch that cost us. Since then, we worked on facing the next team in the next game of course but we also were focusing on them.”

Modesto Christian came into last week’s game after having just played national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy at the Nike Extravaganza. The Crusaders, who despite the loss to St. Mary’s would still rank among the top contenders for the CIF NorCal Open Division title, were led against Oak Hill with 22 points by junior guard Michael Pearson. Marshall has not generally been mentioned among the top junior guards in the state (like Pearson), but scoring 24 against Modesto Christian and the way he played earlier in the season as well (20 points) shows that many scouts need to take notice. There just aren’t many guards at any level who have the quickness and speed of Marshall and as his basketball skills keep improving so should his college possibilities.

“Basketball is the one sport I love the most,” Marshall said. “There has been a lot of interest (from colleges) in track and it depends on how it goes this summer in track to see if I’ll focus on only basketball or track next year or whether I’ll play football once again, too. I’m not done with football yet, I don’t think.”

Jadyn Matthews is not the first from her family to shine at Enterprise. Brother Izzy was an all-state running back who just completed four-year career at Colorado State. Photo: Twitter.com.


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

Jadyn Matthews
(Enterprise, Redding) Sr.

For our girls Northern California award winner we go to the CIF Northern Section and the shadows of majestic Mt. Shasta to honor a girl from a city that not that long ago was ravaged by fire.

We won’t use word rhymes or analogies that refer to the devastating fires, but we will tell you this, the way Jadyn has been playing recently for a 22-5 Hornets team that has stung its way to a 9-0 record in the Eastern Athletic League and the top-ranked spot in the Northern Section, local opponents would like to refuse to let Matthews take the court if they could.

Last week, in a 64-59 victory over a Foothill of Palo Cedro team that is No. 2 in the section, the 5-foot-11 senior guard went for 32 points and nine rebounds with three assists and two blocks, and Enterprise needed every bit of her output. She followed that up with a double-double 22 points and 13 rebounds with two steals in a win against Red Bluff.

Already this week, in the game that got the Hornets to 22-5 and 9-0, Matthews double-doubled for the 16th time this season after throwing down 28 points and 11 rebounds with three assists and two steals in a 77-40 drubbing of crosstown Shasta.

On the season, Jadyn is averaging 23.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals, 2.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game and has been over 30-points four times with a high of 35 against Fall River of McArthur.

We also have to give a shout-out to Matthews’ big brother, Isaiah “Izzy” Matthews. He graduated in 2015 as one of the greatest running backs in school history and led the 2013 team to a runner-up finish in the CIF Division II state bowl game. As a senior at Colorado State this past season, he led the team in rushing.

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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