NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Jocelyn Medina from Pierce of Arbuckle (left) and Aidan Burke from Archbishop Mitty of San Jose. Photos: Jennifer Corriea &

For our first week of basketball for this longtime feature, we hit big-time schools for one of our boys and girls honorees and then much smaller schools for the other two. We also have found state record book entries at our stop in San Jose and in the small CIF Northern Section town of Arbuckle.

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Note: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. We also remind readers that for all of our Player of the Week features in all sports, girls and boys, we use it to uncover hidden talent that doesn’t always make the limelight, and for tracking entries into the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book. To nominate anyone, email


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

Aidan Burke (Archbishop Mitty, San Jose) Sr.

For our Northern California Boys Player of the Week honor we find our way to San Jose and stop at a school that’s won its fair share of state championships and has twice been named State School of the Year.

At preseason No. 21 ranked Archbishop Mitty, we find a 6-foot-3 senior star guard who was almost a human scoreboard in a recent performance. In fact, the San Jose Mercury News said “Burke had himself a Steph Curry night.” And why not? According to another snippet from the Merc, the Mitty star started getting interested in shooting as a grade-schooler by watching Curry.

Last Saturday, in the third-place game of the prestigious Father Berry Tournament at Jesuit of Carmichael, Burke drained a school and tournament record 12 three-pointers. The end result was a monster double-double of 42 points and 13 rebounds (two assists) in a 75-52 victory over Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. The 12 three-pointers earns Burke a spot in the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book list for Most Three-Pt. Field Goals Made (Game).

In the semifinals against Arizona No. 2 Brophy Prep of Phoenix, Aidan wasn’t able to aid the Monarchs to a victory, but he did have 15 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort. So far this season for the 3-1 Monarchs, Aidan is averaging 21.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

On a final note involving the record book, in order to make 12 treys, some players have to put up in excess of 20 or more shots, but Burke did his work on only 13 attempts, a feat even Curry might be jealous of. Aidan made his first five from outside the arc and then missed one, but made his next seven. Although he falls two short of adding his name to the record book list for Most Consecutive Three-Pt. Field Goals Made, going 12-for-13 is still a magnificent accomplishment.

Capistrano Valley Christian’s Mac West gets open for a shot during a game earlier this season. Photo: @Calirebelsmbb /

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

Mac West (Capistrano Valley Christian, San Juan Capistrano) Sr.

Orange County and the Mission City of San Juan Capistrano is where we land in search of the Southern California boys basketball honoree.

At Capistrano Valley Christian, the Eagles’ fans take the old expression “go west young man” a step further by expanding it to “go to that young man West,” and that’s exactly what the team has done so far in a 9-0 season that has Capistrano Valley Christian on the bubble and knocking on the door of the Cal-Hi Sports State TOP 25 rankings.

Last week, in an 85-35 blowout of Mission Viejo in their own Eagles Classic, Mac was right on track and finished with a career-high 35 points, including six-of-10 on three-pointers.

It was the second time this season the 6-foot-3 guard/forward has hit the 30-point mark after he went for 30 in a season-opening 70-66 victory over La Mirada. For the nine games, West is averaging 25.6 points per game and that’s a top 20 reported mark in the state.

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

Jocelyn Medina (Pierce, Arbuckle) Soph.

The search for our Northern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week and our second entry into the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book was a slam dunk after the nominating email from local sports reporter Jennifer Corriea of the Williams Pioneer Review. Thanks to the local scribe, we find our honoree around 50 miles northwest of Sacramento on I-5 in Arbuckle, a small town of less than 4,000 residents known for its surrounding almond orchards.

In Arbuckle, we find a girl who gets the town on the map for more than just its almonds. Last week, in a 71-61 opening round victory over Valley of Sacramento, the opponents had no medicine for Medina after the junior guard matched Valley point for point when she went for a school and CIF Northern Section record 61 points.

According to Corriea, the line for Medina was that of her 22 made baskets nine were three-pointers and she was a solid 8-for-10 from the free-throw line. The nine three-pointers doesn’t make that list in the record book, but the 61 points does and gets her a spot on the Most Points (Game) list.

In the semifinals against an always solid Christian Brothers of Sacramento, Jocelyn went for what would be a career high for most every girls prep basketball player when she dropped in 24 points in a lopsided loss, but for Medina it was her lowest output of the season for the 6-4 Bears. In the third place game, she had 41 points in a lopsided win over Yuba City River Valley.

On Tuesday of this week, Medina had 44 points in a 66-54 win over Capital Christian (Sacramento) that avenged an earlier loss to that team in a game she scored 47 points. In another loss to Central Valley of Shasta Lake, Jocelyn burned the nets for 48 points. Two weeks ago at the Colusa Tournament she led her team to the tourney title with games of 36, 31 and 38 points.

So far this season, Medina has 405 points in 10 games, and according to reported stats both the total points and 40.5 points per game average leads the state by considerable margins. It was also No. 1 in the nation according to MaxPreps’ most recent list.

Jocelyn didn’t just begin showing scoring prowess this season. In her COVID-shortened sophomore season, Medina averaged 31.3 points in 11 games, and in her freshman season when the Bears went 16-10, she averaged a very solid 25.1 points per contest.

Mater Dei’s Lani White shows great form on this shot during one of the two games last season vs. Corona Centennial. Photo: Chester Liang.

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

Lani White (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Sr.

While the Mater Dei football team was getting to 12-0 and winning the CIF Open Division state title down the road from Santa Ana in Mission Viejo, the Monarch’s girls basketball team was getting to 6-0 itself just up the road from Mater Dei at the Troy Classic.

Although the Monarchs girls are loaded with talent, it was the performance of White that caught our eye, and as such we decided to name the Utah-bound senior the Southern California Girls Player of the Week. Choosing a Mater Dei girl in the same week that the football team completed its season actually was something we tried to avoid, but in a way the girls won a bigger game and Lani had a hot hand.

Remember, White was the girl that hit the winning 3-pointer in the CIF Southern Section Open Division title-game victory over Centennial of Corona last spring. Centennial then got the win in the CIF SoCal regional final, but now it’s White who has beleaguered that team once again after leading the Cal-Hi Sports No. 5 ranked Monarchs with 22 points, seven rebounds and two steals in a 60-56 victory in the tournament championship over the No. 4 ranked Huskies.

In a bit of a twist, White’s performance came without head coach Kevin Kiernan on the bench. Kiernan gets credit for adding to his California all-time coaching winning career total of 831 career victories, but as the Mater Dei Athletic Director he was at Saddleback College with the football team.

As we said, Mater Dei is loaded and several girls had outstanding performances during the tournament, and we know Lani would want to give a shout out to her teammates.

Jenessa Cotton, a 6-foot-2 sophomore transfer, came up big with a double-double 13 points and 11 rebounds in the Centennial win, and Texas-El Paso-bound senior Soleil Montrose had eight points, nine rebounds and two assists.

Highly regarded junior Caia Elisaldez didn’t have a big game against Centennial but she leads the team in scoring, assists and steals with 13.2, 5.9, and 4.5, respectively. White is right behind her with a 13.2 points per game average with 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 steals per contest as well.

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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  1. Chester Liang
    Posted December 14, 2021 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I took the photo of Lani please credit me, thank uou

    • Mark Tennis
      Posted December 15, 2021 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Done. If it was copywritten with your logo, please know it would be removed and not used. Thanks.

  2. Natalie
    Posted December 15, 2021 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    It’s Jenessa Cotton. Not Jessica

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