SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s SoCal/NorCal honorees are Alijah Arenas of Chatsworth (just a freshman) and Taliyah Logwood of Oakland Tech (shown with WNBA superstar Sabrina Ionescu). Photos: @ChatsworthBBall / Twitter.com & Harold Abend.


For the second straight week, Cal-Hi Sports saw the Northern California girls honoree in person, and we almost saw both the NorCal and Southern California award winners this week since both were playing at the same Sabrina Ionescu SI20 Showcase event in Concord. It’s just that part of their games were being played at the same time in adjacent gyms. For this week, our Northern California winners are from Oakland and Hayward, and the Southern California honorees hail from Chatsworth and Santa Ana.

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Notes: For these honors, we consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email markjtennis@gmail.com.

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

Alijah Arenas (Chatsworth) Fr.

The San Fernando Valley at Chatsworth High just southeast of where the Ronald Reagan Freeway and Highway 27 intersect is where we find our Southern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week.

Arenas, like his older sister Izela Arenas, a junior at nearby Sierra Canyon, is the offspring of former NBA standout Gilbert Arenas, and while big sis has gotten a lot of props in her three years with current Cal-Hi Sports No. 1 Sierra Canyon, including more than one all-state selection, it’s “little” brother who gets this week’s spotlight with a statewide award of his own.

The Chancellors are having a rough season and were 4-17 when Arenas stepped onto his home court last Saturday in a game against Canoga Park. Because Chatsworth has not been in the spotlight, Arenas hasn’t gotten much other than local attention. That changed when the freshman combo guard dropped in a gargantuan double-double with a season-high 56 points and 12 rebounds with four assists and four steals in a 97-48 victory.

It was the first 50-point performance by Arenas but the fourth time he’s gone for 40 or more points this season and the ninth time he’s had 30 or more points this year. So far this season, and including 36 points in a loss on Monday to Taft of woodland Hills, Alijah is averaging 30.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.5 steals per game. He had six three-pointers against Canoga Park and has made 66-of-143 this season for a 46.1 shooting percentage behind the arc.

The 30.1 points per game is the No. 3 reported mark in the state and No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section. Another freshman, Jason Crowe Jr. of Lynwood, also has been frequently above 30 and 40 points per game this season, which is hopefully setting up a four-run of phenom scoring we’ll be able to follow.

Mater Dei’s Jenessa Cotton was a powerhouse in the paint during team’s win in top 10 state matchup vs St. Mary’s of Stockton. Photo: Courtesy Mater Dei girls basketball.


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

Jenessa Cotton (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) Jr.

Orange County is where we find ourselves searching this week for our girls honoree, but just like the Northern California award winner our Southern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week had her performance in a showcase event, and in fact it was at the same Sabrina Ionescu SI20 Showcase in Concord on Saturday where our NorCal winner played that Cotton earned the award.

We had planned on crossing the street from Carondelet where most of the games were played and going over to De La Salle where Mater Dei was taking on St. Mary’s of Stockton. Games were being played simultaneously at both gyms but the Mater Dei game didn’t start until 2 pm and the game we were watching was a 1p m start. As the story of our NorCal honoree unfolded we decided to skip the Monarchs’ game since we had seen them the previous week against Sage Hill of Newport Beach at the Matt Denning Hoops Classic at Mater Dei.

Had we not stayed to watch our NorCal winner, Taliyah Logwood from Oakland Tech, we still would have seen an honoree after Cotton dropped in a big double-double 23 points and 18 rebounds for Cal-Hi Sports No. 5 ranked Mater Dei in a 76-61 victory over No. 9 ranked St. Mary’s. The MVP of the game had 12 points in the fourth quarter when the Monarchs put it away after only leading 57-51 after three quarters.

Cotton, the cousin of legendary California high school basketball star Schea Cotton, has only seen limited action in a lot of lopsided Mater Dei wins, but the 6-foot-3 center/power forward, who is developing into one of the top underclass big girls in the state, is still averaging 13.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game for the 22-2 Monarchs. She’s had six double-doubles including 15 points and 14 rebounds in the 62-50 victory over No. 15 ranked Sage Hill.

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

Taliyah Logwood (Oakland Tech, Oakland) Jr.

It’s been a bit since we visited the Oakland Athletic League/CIF Oakland Section for one of these honors but it’s in Oakland where we find our Northern California Girls Basketball Player of the Week. However, just like our NorCal boys winner, our girls honoree wasn’t at home or on the road in league play, but at the Sabrina Ionescu SI20 Showcase in Concord at Carondelet. Now, for the second straight week our winner was observed in person, this time by yours truly in a performance by Logwood that was Sabrina-like in nature.

If there ever was a Cinderella story for the winner of this award it goes to Taliyah. We were only going to watch the first half of the Oakland Tech versus Heritage (Brentwood) game before heading to the De La Salle gym across the street to watch St. Mary’s of Stockton take on Mater Dei of Santa Ana. Games were being played at both gyms but not starting and ending at the same times.

As the saga of Logwood unfolded, we decided to forego the other game since we had seen both teams play. Logwood did not start, and for a variety of reasons Bulldogs head coach Leroy Hurt has brought her off the bench, usually as the sixth girl.

In the Heritage game, current Cal-Hi Sports No. 11 Oakland Tech was sluggish to start. It was already a few minutes into the game with the score tied 2-2 and Hurt had already brought in two subs.

Enter eighth and final sub, Logwood. The 5-foot-9 junior forward was instant energy. She made a basket, scored again, was fouled and completed a three-point play, and then scored again to make it 9-2 Tech. After a pair of free throws by Heritage, Logwood scored two more buckets to account for all the Oakland Tech points of an 11-2 run that made it 13-4. From that point, Logwood and the rest of the Bulldogs were off to the races in a 72-50 victory.

After all was said and done, a beaming Logwood got to take her picture with Orinda Miramonte, Oregon, and current New York Liberty triple-double queen Ionescu after Taliyah registered her own triple double with 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 steals in an amazing performance. She even was called on to guard UCLA-bound 6-foot-4 Heritage post Amanda Muse, and despite a seven-inch height disadvantage Taliyah did not back down. Muse, in fact, this week was named to the McDonald’s All-America Game.

“Taliyah could be starting but I’m keeping her hungry and making her value her opportunities,” Hurt remarked.

Still, one has to wonder if Taliyah is ready to step into a starter’s role. We shall see as the playoffs approach.

We’ve been following Kellen Hampton of Moreau Catholic since he was going to Pangos events in the eighth grade. Photo: @crushvalley / Twitter.com.


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

Kellen Hampton
(Moreau Catholic, Hayward) Soph.

Our destination in search of the Northern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week takes us to Hayward and Moreau Catholic, but in reality it took a visit to Contra Costa College in San Pablo to find our award winner.

Last Saturday, in a 70-63 upset win over previous No. 16 ranked Folsom at the Crush in the Valley event put on by Prolific Prep of Napa and Salesian of Richmond, the 6-foot-7 sophomore who already has offers from Washington State and San Jose State, had a double-double after pouring in 30 points (4-of-6 on three-pointers) and snagging 12 rebounds, plus he had five assists and three steals.

So far this season for the 12-5 Mariners, Hampton is averaging 22.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game. Kellen has had 11 double-doubles and has a season high of 35 points in a win over Fremont Mission San Jose and a high of 15 rebounds he had in four straight games just prior to the Folsom win.

Just two years ago, Kellen appeared quite high on a list of top incoming freshmen in the state and for Northern California put out by Cal-Hi Sports and boys hoops analyst Ronnie Flores.

We know Hampton would like to give a shout out to one of his teammates that according to some reports was a key part in the upset of Folsom. Senior LeBrie Goudy-Lee returned from an injury to add 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

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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