SoCal / NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Aaliyah Thompson of Corcoran and Tyler Williams from Bishop Diego of Santa Barbara. Photos: Twitter.com & Gary Kim / nooshawk.com.


With a limited number of games now left, and with so many on Monday and Tuesday as some of the sections enter crunch time with as many as three games, we had to wait until the last minute to make our selections. Between some in-depth research and a couple of nominations we came up with four solid honorees, from Santa Barbara and Garden Grove in Southern California and Corcoran and Eureka in Northern California.

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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 markjtennis@gmail.com.

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

Tyler Williams (Bishop Diego, Santa Barbara) Sr.

For the second time this season, but first for a boys’ honoree, the Gold Coast is where we land and find our Southern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week.

At Bishop Diego, we find Williams courtesy of a nomination by Cardinals’ Director of Athletics Aaron Skinner, and it was a nomination that more than met the criteria for the award.

Williams has been an important contributor all season, but in two games last week his efforts were needed more than ever. The 6-foot-3 combo guard started the week as the only player in double-figure scoring when he went for 31 points with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals, and the Cardinals needed every bit of his production in a 58-50 victory over Burbank Burroughs in a CIF Southern Section Division 3A second round road win.

Tyler wasn’t finished. Three days later, Bishop Diego was at home for a quarterfinal match-up with Bell Gardens. Williams led the way once again with 27 points (4-of-7 on 3-pointers), eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

On Tuesday, Bishop Diego was on the road again for the semifinals and Williams was part of a total team effort with 12 points in a 51-46 victory at St. Pius/St. Matthias of Downey. That performance in a win that propels the Cardinals into a Friday night 3A title game with visiting Dana Hills of Dana Point is part of the mix since Bishop Diego might not be in the championship if not for his efforts last week.

On the season, Williams is averaging a team-high 18.7 points per game, he’s second with 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists a contest as well. The 31-point performance was the second time Tyler has gone for 30 or more but first in a win. His season-high 36 points came in a loss to Oxnard Rio Mesa. He’s also shooting 43 percent on 66 made three-pointers and last but not least Williams has registered two double-doubles this season.

We mentioned that the semifinal win was a team effort and we know Tyler would want to give a shout out to fellow senior Kaio Morphy. He had 21 points with 10 in the fourth quarter that saw the Cardinals erase a 10-point deficit entering the final period in Tuesday’s win. Morphy is second on the team in scoring and first in rebounding at 17.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, respectively.

Jayionne Brown has been an up-and-coming Class of 2023 prospect from Orangewood Academy this season. Photo: @OASpartans / Twitter.com.


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

Jayionne Brown
(Orangewood Academy, Garden Grove) Jr.

Orange County is our destination in search of the Southern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

We land in Garden Grove at Orangewood Academy, and in doing so it gives us an opportunity to remind readers that besides tracking potential entries to the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, we use this feature to honor and uncover talented players that don’t usually get the spotlight.

In Brown we find a 5-foot-10 junior forward whose numbers are just as good as Washington-bound senior Hannah Stines but it seems like Stines gets most of the props.

Last week, in a 54-50 victory by the CIF Southern Section Open Division No. 6 seed over seventh-seeded Bishop Montgomery of Torrance, it wasn’t Stines that led the way, although she had 11 points, it was blossoming junior Jayionne who had a season-high 26 points and finished with her 15th double-double of the season after snagging 10 rebounds.

With the win, the Cal-Hi Sports No. 22 ranked Spartans finish Open Division pool play at 1-2 and now move into the CIF Southern Regional playoffs with a 21-9 record.

Keep an eye out for Brown. Heading into the SoCals, besides the 15 double-doubles this season Jayionne is right behind Stines 13.2 points per game average with 12.9 points per contest. In rebounding, Brown leads the team with 10.5 boards per game to 8.6 for Stines. Brown also leads the team in steals at 2.7 a game and her 2.5 assists is second on the Spartans.

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

Aaliyah Thompson (Corcoran) Sr.

We begin with a little bit of an apology to Corcoran fans as this honor came out only a couple of hours before Aaliyah’s game on a Wednesday night. Still, we decided to go ahead with it.

Smack dab in the middle of the CIF Central Section is where we find our Northern California girls Basketball Player of the Week, and when we visit the section we remind readers that for this feature and all Player of the Week features for all sports, girls and boys, the Central Section is considered part of Northern California.

In Corcoran is also where we find another nominated player, this time coming from Central Section historian and longtime Cal-Hi Sports friend and contributor Bob Barnett, who highlighted Aaliyah in his weekly Milestones feature.

This week was the perfect time for Barnett to feature Thompson and submit the nomination since she truly achieved a milestone last week.

When Thompson scored her first two points of a Central Section Division IV 63-28 victory by the top-seeded Panthers over Mendota, she passed the 2,000 career points mark. She finished with a huge double-double 24 points and 20 rebounds. Aaliyah followed that up on Friday in a 73-67 victory over Kingsburg in the quarterfinals with another monster double-double after going for 29 points and 23 rebounds.

So far this season and heading into a Wednesday semifinal with visiting Coalinga, Thompson had 2,052 career points and according to Barnett she had moved to 27th in Central Section history to reach the 2,000 points career milestone. For this season, Thompson was averaging 21.8 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, with 2.8 blocks and steals each per contest. She also had 19 double-doubles for the 23-3 Panthers.

Barnett didn’t alert us to this but in researching her career stats we see Thompson is sitting on 970 career rebounds and that means she has an excellent chance of making 1,000 career rebounds milestone as well, and the 2,000/1,000 club is pretty exclusive.

On a final note, Williams was one of the top volleyball players at Corcoran and the 6-foot senior was second on the team in kills her senior season.

Drew Vizenor has been a player to watch all season in the far north coast region of the state. Photo: Ray Hamill / HumboldtSports.com.


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

Drew Vizenor (St. Bernard’s, Eureka) Sr.

For our Northern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week honor, we head to the far northern reaches of the Redwood Empire portion of the CIF North Coast Section.

We land in Eureka and “Behind the Redwood Curtain” as locals claim due to their feelings of sometimes not always getting a lot of recognition. Well, that changes this week with our visit to St. Bernard’s to honor Vizenor.

Last week, in a 74-34 CIFNCS Division 6 victory by the No. 2 seed over No. 15 Calistoga, Vizenor was rough on the visitors after the 6-foot-3 senior wing went for 28 points with five 3-pointers. In the quarterfinals against visiting Mendocino, Vizenor had 24 points in an 82-45 victory.

If you think COVID has totally gone away you’re wrong. No. 10 seed Mendocino got to the game with St. Bernard’s with a COVID protocol forfeit win over Napa Christian, and St. Bernard’s was scheduled to play San Francisco Waldorf in the semifinals on Tuesday of this week but that team had to forfeit for the same reason sending the 19-8 (not including the forfeit) Crusaders into this weekend’s championship.

Going into the title game against either No. 1 seed South Fork of Miranda or Valley Christian of Dublin, Drew has a season-high 32 points and is averaging 15.5 points 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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