SoCal/NorCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honorees are Krista Sheaffer of Sanger (left) for NorCal girls & Matt Mendias of Norco (right for SoCal boys. Photos: &

We kick off the first week of Southern and Northern California Players of the Week for basketball with four very deserving honorees, and right out of the box we fulfill two of the goals of this feature, to track entries for the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, and to uncover hidden talent that may otherwise only receive local honors. For the first week of hoops, we head to Norco and Lakewood in Southern California, and in Northern California the stops are in Oakland and Sanger.

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

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Boys Player of the Week

Matt Mendias (Norco) Jr.

The search for the Southern California Boys Player of the Week takes us to the Inland Empire and to a school with a strong tradition of winning section titles in softball and also boasts Toby Gerhart, who according to the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book is the all-time leading rusher in California high school football history.

While this week’s award winner doesn’t quite make the record book, he did set a record in the performance he’s being honored for, and now, after being named the Riverside Press-Enterprise Inland Boys Athlete of the Week, gets a statewide honor to go with the local one.

Last Friday, in a 94-31 win over La Quinta at the Beaumont Tip-Off Classic, the 6-foot-4 junior guard shattered the school record of 42 points set over 20 years ago with a 60-point performance. In the game, Matt made 27-of-35 shots from the field and he was 4-of-6 from three-point range.

In the consolation semifinal, Matt dropped in 21 points in an 88-87 victory over Arrowhead Christian of Redlands, and although he only had 10 points in the consolation championship, he was still the leading scorer of a well balanced attack that saw 11 players score in a 64-53 victory against South East of South Gate.

So far this season for a Norco team that was 6-3 heading into a Tuesday night tournament game against Long Beach Jordan, Mendias was averaging 20.6 points per game.

Nyemah King of Lakewood has been one of the top players in the Moore League since her freshman season. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Player of the Week

Nyemah King (Lakewood) Sr.

To find the Southern California Girls Player of the Week honoree, we venture a little over five miles northeast of the Long Beach Airport and land at Lakewood High, and since this is our first week of honoring basketball players, we look at the body of work since the season began, and for teams in the CIF Southern Section, many teams like the Lancers have played close to 10 games, so for King we looked at what she’s been doing the last couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago, in a 60-48 victory over Downey, King, a 5-foot-9 junior combo guard, went for 31 points with three three-pointers. Lakewood didn’t have any games last week, however already this week, King, the queen of Lakewood girls basketball, had a season high 37 points in a lopsided tournament win over Fountain Valley.

So far this season for the 7-1 Lancers, King is averaging 27.1 points, 4.9 rebounds , 2.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game.

King has been a steady producer for Lakewood since her freshman season when she averaged 16.6 points per game. Last season as a sophomore, Nyemah averaged 23.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.4 steals per contest. That’s against Moore League competition, which includes Long Beach Poly and Long Beach Millikan.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Player of the Week

Krista Sheaffer (Sanger) Sr.

The Valley as the locals like to call the CIF Central Section is our destination in search of the Northern California Girls Player of the Week, and whenever we visit the Valley, we remind readers that for all features for all sports, girls and boys the Central Section is considered Northern California.

Not only do we visit the Valley this week and land just east of Fresno in Sanger, the nomination for Sheaffer comes via the Milestones missive of longtime Central Section historian and Cal-Hi Sports friend and contributor Bob Barnett.

This season, Sheaffer is the toast of Sanger. She opened last week by scoring 35 points and tied a section record by making all 15 of her free-throws 15-for-15 to go along with 12 rebounds as the Apaches edged Roosevelt of Fresno, 56-55.

In the second game of the week, Krista had an even bigger double-double after duplicating the 35 points with 21 rebounds plus she made all six of the free-throws in a heartbreaking 55-51 loss to Visalia Redwood. In the third game last week, Sheaffer had another double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds in a 61-56 win over Selma.

By going 15-for-15 on the free-throw line, Sheaffer will etch her name into the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book on the Most Free Throws Without a Miss (Game) list. The 15 and six consecutive free-throws is short of the threshold of 30 to make the Most Consecutive Free Throws Made (List), but we’re not sure what she did on the charity stripe against Selma, and if Krista still has the streak going we’ll see what she does on Thursday against visiting state-ranked St. Joseph of Santa Maria.

On a final note: Sheaffer, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, leads the Central Section in scoring at 32.6 points per game and now has 1,576 career points heading into the St. Joseph game.

Ardarius Grayson gives Oakland Tech the chance to top 2023 CIF D3 state champ Oakland High this season in the Oakland Athletic League. Photo: simplyy_bball /

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Boys Player of the Week

Ardarius Grayson (Oakland Tech, Oakland) Jr.

Oakland Tech is known as a hotbed for girls basketball after winning multiple CIF state championships, and while the boys team hasn’t captured any state titles, the Bulldogs are currently the best program in the Oakland Athletic League/CIF Oakland Section after going 19-1 the last two seasons, and Grayson was a solid contributor and the second-leading scorer last season when they went 10-0 in league.

Now, Ardarius is the Bulldogs’ go-to player and the 6-foot junior guard is proving his worth so far this season and his accolades have earned him the Northern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week selection.

Last week, in a 78-69 victory over a perennially tough cross-town Bishop O’Dowd, Grayson had 31 points, six rebounds, six assists, five blocked shots and a steal, and he got to the free-throw line 15 times and connected on 12 of them.

Two weeks ago, Grayson had 26 points and eight rebounds in a season-opening win over a solid Sacramento Grant, in the one loss for Tech against Moreau Catholic of Hayward he scored 24 points with five rebounds, four assists and five steals, and on Monday of this week Ardarius dropped in 24 points with six rebounds, five assists, five steals and three blocks in a 79-72 win over Pittsburg.

So far this season, Grayson is averaging 26.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.3 steals and 2.8 blocks for the 3-1 Bulldogs.

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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