NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Adonis Gutierrez from Piner of Santa Rosa and Taylor Donaldson from Oaks Christian of Westlake Village. Photos: Harold Abend &

This week’s twist is that both of our Southern California honorees are from schools that have Lions as their mascot. This week’s winners also are all still in action in the playoffs (but only one on Tuesday night) and are from Santa Rosa and Fresno in Northern California plus Los Angeles and Westlake Village in Southern California.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. This is the second week for basketball honorees. We only have a couple more weeks before this feature switches to baseball/softball so time is running out for seniors. To nominate anyone, email We pick the winners on Monday nights.

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

Adonis Gutierrez (Piner, Santa Rosa) Sr.

We didn’t have to go far to find our Northern California award winner and in fact we were on hand at the beautiful new 2,500-seat gym at Rancho Cotate in Rohnert Park when Gutierrez turned in the performance for which he’s being honored.

Last Friday night in the playoff championship game of the North Bay League – Oak Division, Adonis turned it on to the tune of 33 points in a 66-53 victory over Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa, but it’s how he got his points that makes it such a feat.

Gutierrez, a 6-1 senior guard who was also a member of the Prospectors’ NBL – Redwood Division champion football team, took over down the stretch with 22 of his points coming in the final 11:30 of the game.

First, Gutierrez ignited a 12-4 run that gave Piner a 45-42 lead entering the fourth quarter, and then the Prospectors’ star scored the team’s first 14 points of the fourth quarter to give Piner a 59-49 lead that pretty much sealed the deal. He would finish with 18 of the team’s 21 points in the final period.

Gutierrez only had 12 points in a 55-47 semifinal victory over Windsor earlier in the week, but on a team that has a lot of players that can score, Adonis has been over 20 points in four of the last six games. He had 23 points two weeks ago in the last league game against Windsor, and 20 and 24 prior to that against Newman and Sebastopol Analy.

So far in a 25-2 season that saw Piner go 10-0 in league prior to winning the playoff title, and heading into a Tuesday night North Coast Section Division III opener for the No. 4 seed against Sonoma Valley, Gutierrez is averaging 15.8 points per game. He is the team’s top playmaker, and is almost always called on by veteran had coach Mike Erickson to guard the other team’s top perimeter scoring threat.

“Adonis is a fearless competitor,” Erickson remarked. “The bigger the game the better he plays. He has won different accolades in the last couple years, but really all he cares about is his team winning.”

Besides those other accolades, Gutierrez now has a statewide honor to add to them.

Fairfax’s Keith Dinwiddie is a strong candidate to be L.A. City Section Player of the Year. Photo:

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

Keith Dinwiddie (Fairfax, Los Angeles) Sr.

We visit the Los Angeles City Section and to a storied program that’s won two CIF state Division I state championships and looking for another as the top seed in the CIF L.A. City Open Division playoffs with Dinwiddie as the linchpin.

Last week, in a playoff opening 93-48 victory by the Cal-Hi Sports No. 15 ranked Lions over El Camino Real of Woodland Hills, Dinwiddie made El Camino rummy after dropping in 30 points.

That performance came on the heels of a 34-point outing two weeks ago by the San Diego State signee in the final Western League game for the Lions when they pounded host Venice of Los Angeles.

Next up is a match-up with No. 4 seed and an always tough rankings bubble team Birmingham of Lake Balboa in a semifinal double-header at Southwest College in Los Angeles.

The Lions’ faithful hope Keith continues to roar, and he pretty much has to because although Dinwiddie is one of the top point guards in Southern California, Fairfax only has seven players listed on its roster and Birmingham has 17 on its roster.

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

Taylor Donaldson (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) Sr.

After visiting Westlake Village three weeks ago for our SoCal boys honoree, Kyle MacLean of Westlake, we go almost next door to Marmonte League arch rival Oaks Christian for our Southern California Girls Player of the Week.

We could have awarded Donaldson a month ago when she was named the Los Angeles Daily News Girls Athlete of the Week after hammering home a monster double-double 43 points and 16 rebounds with six assists in a 78-72 victory over neighboring Thousand Oaks, but it’s this week that we favor Taylor and honor her with a statewide award.

Last week, and after receiving a first round bye in the CIF Southern Section Division 2A playoffs, and waiting 10 days to play a game, Donaldson picked up right where she left off and after scoring the game’s first points on a three-pointer she went on to tally 30 points with seven rebounds in a 61-30 victory over Oak Hills of Hesperia that propels the Lions into the quarterfinals against Bishop Amat of La Puente.

Current up to date stats were not available but according to the Ventura County Star, Donaldson was the leading scorer in Ventura County prior to the 30 points against Oak Hills at 22.4 points per game.

The boys at Oak Christian had a rough go of it this season and lost twice to MacLean and Westlake and didn’t win a league game, but with Donaldson roaring the Lions’ girls beat Westlake in both league matchups and won the Marmonte with an 8-0 record in what is now a 20-4 season.

Donaldson has signed with New Mexico State and that team may be getting a steal.

Holmes doesn’t get a t-shirt for being our NorCal girls player of the week, but maybe someday we’ll give them out. Photo: @HHSPatesAth /

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

Daeja Holmes (Hoover, Fresno) Sr.

We go to The Valley as locals like to call the CIF Central Section for this week’s Northern California Girls Player of the Week and whenever we go to The Valley we remind readers that for Players of the Week in all sports we do the Central Section is considered Northern California.

Last week, in a 77-35 victory over crosstown McLane that got the Patriots to 21-7 overall and 8-2 and a second place finish in the North Yosemite League, it was déjà vu for McLane when the Highlanders saw Daeja for a second time this season, only this time she dropped in 31 points in the win after getting 20 in the first meeting that was a 67-26 blowout.

In her first game last week, Holmes had 22 points in a 63-31 victory at Reedley.

So far this season and heading into a CIF Central Section Division 3 first round matchup for the No. 4 seed against Sierra of Tollhouse (where one of our earlier NorCal players of the week is at), Holmes is averaging 20.4 points per game and she’s gone over 30 points three times, including a season-high 36 three weeks ago in a non-league 79-49 victory at Clovis East of neighboring Clovis.

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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