NorCal / SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s NorCal/SoCal honorees are Joey Kennedy from University of San Francisco (left) and Karlee White from Viewpoint of Calabasas. Photos: Harold Abend & Viewpoint Athletics.

This will be the final week for Girls and Boys Basketball Players of the Week as next week we will switch to softball and baseball just as we’ve done every year when the funnel narrows limiting the number of teams in the CIF basketball state playoffs. This week we have four solid honorees from Anaheim and Calabasas in Southern California, and San Francisco and Lafayette 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



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

Joey Kennedy (University, San Francisco) Jr.

The Laurel Heights neighborhood of San Francisco is where we land in search of our Northern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week. At University, we find Kennedy, and the fact that he’s even playing is remarkable since he injured his knee earlier this season and the first diagnosis was serious.

It turned out not to be a partially torn ACL but the swelling and fluid meant some significant rehab time. Kennedy returned on January 30 for a Bay Counties League – West contest at crosstown Urban and since then the Red Devils have not lost a game.

Last week was the capper. University had won four CIF North Coast Section championships but due to the placement system the section uses the Red Devils were moved up to Division 4 and as the No. 3 seed they made it to the title game on the road in Kentfield at Marin Catholic.

Kennedy was by no means a one-man team but the bottom line was Marin Catholic had no answer for the 6-foot-6 junior power forward in an impressive 60-47 victory in front of a raucous packed house of Wildcats’ fans.

Kennedy showed his prowess right from the start. He scored the game’s first five points on a basket and a three-pointer and University was off to the races in a wire-to-wire win. He ended up filling the stat sheet after finishing with a double-double 26 points (two three-pointers) and 12 rebounds with six blocks and four steals.

With a lot of their league game blowouts, Kennedy has had his time limited, but heading into a CIF Northern Regional Division II Tuesday evening match-up between the 10th-seeded Red Devils and host and No. 7 seed St. Francis of Mountain View, Kennedy was averaging around 14 points and 10 rebounds a game on a team with multiple contributors.

Sophie Chinn of Acalanes is on the right in a photo with teammate K.K. Lacanlale. Photo: @Acalanes_gbb /

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

Sophie Chinn (Acalanes, Lafayette) Fr.

Central Contra Costa County is where we land in search of the Northern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

And for one of the few times this season, our honoree is a freshman, but not a lot of freshmen have done what Chinn did in the biggest game of the season for the Acalanes Dons.

Chinn wasn’t the leading scorer for the Dons heading into the playoffs, but she was second at 13.2 points per game to fellow freshman Karyss Lacanlale, but Sophie was the regular season leader in rebounding, assists and steals at 9.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.9 steals ppg.

According to Acalanes head coach Margaret Gartner, who currently has 562 career coaching victories according to the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, “for the playoffs Sophie has been a beast.”

Last week, in a convincing 57-37 victory over Walnut Creek Northgate in the CIF North Coast Section Division 2 championship, the sixth NCS title for Acalanes but first since 2003, Chinn certainly had the will to win after finishing with a huge double-double 31 points and 13 rebounds with four assists and three steals. That’s a lot of rebounds for a girl who stands 5-foot-6 tall but it wasn’t even her first double-double of the playoffs.

Against Fremont Washington two weeks ago, Sophie went for 18 points and 11 rebounds with five steals and three assists in a 53-24 victory. On Wednesday of last week Chinn didn’t have a double-double in the Dons’ 53-42 semifinal victory over Alameda, but she was as close as you can get after going for 22 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three assists.

The reward for Chinn and her Dons teammates for the NCS D2 title was a move up to Division I for the CIF Northern Regional playoffs and that meant a Tuesday date with top-seed and state ranked Salesian of Richmond. Regardless of that outcome, Sophie was a good choice for this week.

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

Karlee White (Viewpoint, Calabasas) Sr.

The far western reaches of the San Fernando Valley is our destination in the search for our Southern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week.

At Viewpoint, we find White, a 5-foot-7 junior guard who’s been lighting it up for the entire season but her recent performance was the icing on the cake so far this season.

Last week, in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 championship game, Karlee was matched up with UCLA-bound senior Gabriela Jaquez, who came into the games as one of the Southern Section and state’s leading scorers and was coming off a 43-point performance in the semifinals. .

All the pregame hype was about Jaquez, but you guessed it Karlee got the best of Gabriela after going for a career-high 37 points, including 20 of the team’s 22 points in the third quarter, to lead Viewpoint to its first-ever CIF Southern Section championship with a 59-53 victory in the Division 1 final last Saturday night. Jaquez did have 20 points and 19 rebounds but it was White that had her picture in the Los Angeles Daily News holding up the championship plaque.

Now Karlee and her six teammates, yes Viewpoint only has seven players on its roster, move on to the CIF Southern Regional Division I playoffs where the Patriots are the No. 9 seed and were set to open on the road Tuesday at Los Angeles Westchester.

Ahmad Hanmouri pumped in 27 points in one half of Anaheim Western’s CIFSS title game win. Photo: James Escarcega (SGV/Whittier Prep Zone).

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

Ahmad Hanmouri (Western, Anaheim) Sr.

Our search for the Southern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week takes us to the home of Disneyland and a couple of miles west of the Magic Kingdom and block west of Beach Boulevard. At Western, the alma mater of golfer Tiger Woods, we find Hanmouri, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard who picked the right time to shoot the lights out.

Last week, in a 65-49 win on the road 150 miles away at CIF Southern Section Division 4A No. 2 seed Dos Pueblos of Goleta, Hanmouri wasn’t in a hurry until the second half. That’s when last season’s Orange League MVP got real busy and had 27 of his game-high 35 points.

His performance helped Western earn its first-ever CIF Southern Section championship.

Even with the section title, Hanmouri and his Pioneers’ teammates only received the No. 14 seed in the CIF Southern Regional Division IV playoffs. That meant another 300-mile round trip on the road on Tuesday when they were travelling to Bakersfield to meet No. 3 seed Golden Valley. We hope Ahmad sees this on the phone while heading over the Grapevine.

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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