NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of our SoCal/NorCal players of the week are Harrison Hornery of Mater Dei (Santa Ana) & Devin Miller of Clovis. Photos: Twitter.com & @ClovisHighGBB / Twitter.com.

Our first week of the NorCal/SoCal Basketball Players of the Week for this season is kicking off a full month after the season should be over and done with. It also marks the first time ever we are presenting players of the week in four different sports in the same week — baseball and softball, and now girls and boys basketball. For week one we hit Clovis and Orinda in the north and then Santa Ana and Long Beach in the south.

We hope you enjoy this free story on Cal-Hi Sports.com. For our State Top 25 rankings packages for the rest of the boys & girls basketball seasons plus State Stat Stars of the Week, state record updates and special features, please check out our Gold Club membership today. If you’re not a member, CLICK HERE.

Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email markjtennis@gmail.com. We are picking the winners on Monday nights for the rest of the spring season.

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

Harrison Hornery
(Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Sr.

In recent years Mater Dei has become known as a school whose football team has had a resilience and won two of the past three CIF Open Division state title games, and this past abbreviated season head coach Bruce Rollinson and his boys finished No. 1 in the Cal-Hi Sports final rankings after a 5-0 season and a win over arch-rival St. John Bosco of Bellflower.

While football was on the front burner up until last week, basketball has now taken center stage at Mater Dei, and in reality it’s always been on the Monarchs’ marquee. No one can compare with what Mater Dei head coach Gary McKnight has done in boys basketball. The all time winningest coach in state history has won a record 11 CIF state championships, including four straight from 2011-2014.

Over the years, McKnight has had a ton of stars, and his Monarchs have been number one in the state rankings dozens of times, and while his team is currently No. 2 behind Sierra Canyon in the latest rankings, he has some very solid Division I talent in this abbreviated season and the 6-foot-10, 230-pound USC-committed Hornery is arguably at the top of the list.

Since this is the first week for this feature, we’re including a game on Monday when Hornery was an ornery Harry after dropping in a season-high 30 points, including seven three pointers, in a 69-59 victory over Fairmont Prep of neighboring Anaheim.

The Monarchs had four wins last week and Harry had a hand in all of them. He had 20 points in an easy win over Irvine Crean Lutheran, 17 points and 11 rebounds in a 22-point win over Orange Lutheran, and 19 points and six rebounds in a 64-48 win against Los Alamitos.

Both Hornery and Nebraska-bound 6-foot-9 teammate Wilhelm Breidenbach knew they’d be counted on for increased scoring this season with the graduation of point guard Devin Askew (recently announced transfer from Kentucky). And so far, they are delivering.

On the season, Hornery is leading the team in scoring at 17.8 points per game and he’s tied for the rebounding lead at 6.8 per game.

On a final note and a bit of a twist, everyone likes to shoot the 3-ball, even 6-foot-10 guys like Hornery, but not many players his size could make 32 like he has for the undefeated Monarchs.

Lily Buggs will play next at Cal-State Los Angeles. Photo: the562.org.


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

Lily Buggs
(Long Beach Poly) Sr.

For our first Southern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week choice, we head to Long Beach, and a school with one of the largest student enrollments in the state (more than 4,000) plus the greatest overall athletic program in the nation covering the last 120 years.

Like the school itself and its huge number of students, the girls basketball team has been successful over the years under head coach Carl Buggs by using a coaching style that utilizes waves of players, none of whom usually scores a ton of points.

That’s why we can’t remember when or if we’ve ever honored an individual Jackrabbits’ girls player in this way, but Lily Buggs changes that, and in another bit of a twist, she shares a last name with the coach and his daughter and her fellow senior teammate Kalaya Buggs, but they’re not related, other than in their love for basketball and winning.

In two games last week, Lily lit up the opposition after going for a huge double-double 31 points and 15 rebounds in a 70-43 victory over Downey, and then following it up with another double-double 20 points and 12 rebounds in a 75-40 win over crosstown Moore League arch-rival Millikan.

Poly has lost a game and is 4-1 heading into a Wednesday evening match-up with host Lakewood, but in the Poly 60-54 loss to Orangewood Academy of Garden Grove, Buggs still had a double-double 23 points and 10 rebounds.

If not for the fact the Jackrabbits blew out Compton in a 68-point victory that limited Lily’s minutes and she finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, Buggs likely would have all double-doubles but even so she’s averaging a team-leading 22 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Niye Olobode debuted this season with a near triple-double for Miramonte when it played NorCal powerhouse Salesian of Richmond. Photo: CaliHoop / YouTube.com.


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

Niyi Olabode
(Miramonte, Orinda) Sr.

Contra Costa County is our destination for the first NorCal honoree and in Orinda we find a 6-foot-5 senior who has made a statement in his first two games in this crazy, late-starting and abbreviated season.

In the season opener, Olabode had 22 points and shot 9 of 11 from the field and 3 for 4 from outside the arc in a 75-40 victory over Alhambra of Martinez.

Niyi followed that up against perennial Northern California powerhouse Salesian of Richmond with a 20-point, eight-rebound, seven-assist and three-steal performance in a 69-63 victory.

It’s only been a couple of games and two games does not make a season, but Olabode is now averaging 21.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game.

If he keeps it up, Olabode will continue to look like one of the top uncommitted guards for the Class of 2021 on the West Coast.

Note: Clovis West’s Cole Anderson (51 pts) has been selected for this honor previously.

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

Devin Miller
(Clovis) Soph.

For our first Northern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week selection, we head to the CIF Central Section, and right out of the box we get to remind readers that for all Player of the Week features for all sports, girls and boys, the Central Section, or “The Valley” as locals refer to it, is considered part of Northern California.

We have put it out for years that it’s always very helpful to get nominations for our Player of the Week awards, and while we get a ton of them, and why most fall short of earning an honor, don’t stop sending submissions.

For Devin, the nomination came from Clovis High girls basketball social media coordinator Antonio Borjas, and he included a YouTube video so we could witness the prowess of Miller.

Last week, in a 71-28 victory over Fresno Bullard, the budding sophomore star poured in 37 points on 9 of 14 from 3-point range, plus the Cougars’ combo-guard had seven rebounds and three assists.

We don’t have stats for a 75-51 victory on Monday that got Clovis to 4-0 and a current spot on the bubble in the latest state rankings, but for her first three games Miller was averaging 23.3 points 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 1.7 assists per game.

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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