NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Isuneh “Ice” Brady of San Diego Cathedral Catholic and Andre Crump Jr. of Elk Grove Monterey Trail. Photos: elcidonline.com & @MTHSMBB / Twitter.com.


With NorCal ending the regular season while most of SoCal was in the first week of section playoffs, we have stops this week in Elk Grove, Fairfield, Encino and San Diego. One of our tips of the hat is for a 50-point game while another was for a huge outing against a team led by one of the four we featured in this space one week ago.

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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
Boys Basketball Player of the Week

Andre Crump Jr. (Monterey Trail, Elk Grove) Sr.

The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section hits a trifecta this week because not only is the NorCal boys honoree from the SJS just like the girls award winner, he also comes from a team with Mustangs as its mascot, and finally we were made aware of the prowess of Crump via a nomination (also like the girls).

Last week, in 100-78 victory over River City of West Sacramento, the 6-foot guard had half the team’s points and that means Andre hit the half century mark after finishing with 50 points, four assists, three rebounds, one steal and two blocked shots, and he was 10 of 15 from outside the arc. Crump followed that up with 24 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals in a 95-64 victory over McClatchy of Sacramento.

Andre seems to like playing against River City because in mid-January Crump was pumped after he recorded the first triple-double in school history after finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and unlike the second meeting the Mustangs needed every bit of his production in a 70-65 victory.

So far this season, Crump is averaging 15.7 points, five rebounds and five assists and currently holds the single-season assist record at 126 and counting.

The two-sport athlete is also a pretty good football player as well. Last season for a 12-1 Monterey Trail team that made it all the way to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title game before bowing out to Folsom, Crump was the Mustangs’ leading wide receiver with 38 receptions for 830 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The 18-10 Mustangs who finished 9-3 and in second place in the Metropolitan Conference, are the No. 8 seed in the SJS Division I playoffs and are hosting Davis on Wednesday night.

Milia Gibson gave it her all for team at Rodriguez (Fairfield) in overtime win last week vs. league rival Vanden. Photo: thestampedenews.org.


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

Milia Gibson (Rodriguez, Fairfield) Sr.

The whole idea of this feature is not only to look for potential additions to the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book, but also to uncover some diamonds in the rough that don’t get the big-time ink of the top stars.

In Gibson, while she is far from setting any marks that make the record book, the 5-foot-9 senior Mustangs’ guard came up big when she needed to in a huge win, and that’s exactly how we found our Northern California honoree who was nominated by a coach who is hoping to see her get some college interest. In the nomination, the coach that nominated her, who is a respected NorCal girls’ talent evaluator, stated “Milia is a long athletic kid that has a lot of energy. She can attack and shoot the long ball. She has solid grades and is a very respectful young lady whom coaches would love to have.”

Last week, in a 61-54 upset victory over Vanden of Fairfield, it was Mustangs’ head coach Marcell Palmer that was very happy to have her when Gibson had her career game after finishing with 29 points and nine rebounds with two assists and two steals, and Palmer never subbed her out. Earlier in the week, she had 23 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals in a 73-38 win over Vacaville.

So far this season for a 14-12 Rodriguez team that finished 8-2 and in second place behind Vanden in the Monticello Empire League, Milia is averaging 15.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Rodriguez travels to Elk Grove on Tuesday night where the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II No. 12 seed will be in deep against host and No. 5 seed Elk Grove, but Milia and her Mustangs’ mates weren’t supposed to beat SJS Division III top-seeded Vanden, so who knows?

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

Isuneh “Ice” Brady (Cathedral Catholic, San Diego) Fr.

We go to the Carmel Valley area of San Diego for this week’s Southern California girls award winner where we find a 6-foot-3 freshman who has burst onto the scene in the CIF San Diego Section and if she keeps playing the way she’s started out in her first year of high school basketball she could end up having her name alongside some other all-time greats from the San Diego Section like Candice Wiggins, Terri Mann, Charde Houston and more recently California all-time leading scorer Destiny Littleton.

We had heard all about her from sources in San Diego, but when we first saw “Ice” at the San Diego Classic last summer playing as a school summer team for Cathedral Catholic head coach and former Santana of Santee star Jackie Turpin, she was turning heads, including ours. Most 6-foot-3 incoming freshmen we’ve seen, including some players who have gone on to solid college and WNBA careers, are not anywhere near as developed as Brady was then, and that was eight months ago and before she even took the court for Cathedral Catholic in a real game.

We saw her again at the St. Mary’s of Stockton MLK Showcase and although her Dons got trounced by McClatchy of Sacramento the one thing the Lions didn’t do was stop Brady from impressing the college coaches and analysts that saw her double-double 27 points and 15 rebounds where she even drained a three-pointer.

That all was then and this is now, and the reason “Ice” is being showered is not only because of the past but what she did recently.

Last week, in a 69-39 victory over a Bishop’s team that helped secure the No. 1 seed in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division for her team, Brady was a bit under her scoring average but still had a double-double 12 points and 20 rebounds with seven assists. Later in the week in the Dons’ Western League finale and a drubbing of San Diego Lincoln, she had another double-double after finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds with three assists.

So far this season for the 22-6 Dons, “Ice” has 15 double-doubles and is averaging 16.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 2.6 assists per game heading into a Friday night CIFSDS Open Division first round game with visiting Bonita Vista of Chula Vista.

Crespi’s Kyle Owens will play next at the University of Montana. Photo: Twitter.com.


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

Kyle Owens (Crespi, Encino) Sr.

It’s happened a few times before but not this year, and that is when the previous week’s Player of the Week goes up against someone the following week who has a performance in a victory over the past week’s winner’s team that earns him the accolades the following week. That’s exactly what has happened in garnering Owens this week Southern California honors.

Last week, in a 75-63 victory on the road at Calabasas and matched up against last week’s SoCal honoree Max Cheylov, Owens, a 6-foot-7 senior forward who is committed to Montana, threw down a season-high 38 points with six rebounds and two steals to steal the show. He was 9 of 15 from the field, including 2 of 4 on three-pointers, and he was 14 of 15 from the free-throw line.

It was a season-high for points and came just at the right time for the Crespi faithful and for Owens who has now gone over 30 points three times this season and is averaging 18.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game with eight double doubles this season.

Head coach Russell White and Celts fans are hoping Owens stays hot on Tuesday night when Crespi hosts Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita in what is a loaded CIF Southern Section Division I playoff bracket.

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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