NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Rippen Gill from Centennial of Bakersfield (left) shows player of game award he got last Saturday that also helped him earn NorCal honor for this week. At right is Ella Zimmerman of Redondo, who led team to 16-4 record entering this week. Photos: @Pdouble33 / &

Once again this week we didn’t have any entries to track for the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book, but we had four honorees that are now getting statewide recognition after only being on each one’s local radar screen. This week, we visit Bakersfield and San Lorenzo in Northern California and Lake Balboa and Redondo Beach in Southern California.

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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 Northern California
Boys Player of the Week

Rippen Gill (Centennial, Bakersfield) Sr.

Our journey in search of this week’s Northern California Boys Player of the Week takes us to the southernmost reaches of the CIF Central Section or “The Valley” as the locals like to call the Central Section, and whenever we visit The Valley we remind readers that for all players of the week features in all sports, boys and girls, the Central Section is considered Northern California.

This week’s honoree came to us via the weekly Milestones missive of Central Section historian and longtime Cal-Hi Sports friend and contributor Bob Barnett and he sends us to Centennial of Bakersfield to find the award winner whose name is Rippen, and lately Rippen has been ripping the nets for the Golden Hawks.

Last Saturday Gill had his top performance of the season and Centennial needed every bit of his production to secure a 77-70 victory over Hoover of Fresno after the 6-foot-6 senior guard dropped in 34 points (four three-pointers) and had an odd double-double after coming up with 11 steals to go along with seven rebounds and five assists.

It was the seventh double-double for Gill this season and in a bit of a twist, it was the second one involving steals after Rippen had 18 points and 10 steals in a 57-50 victory over Sanger just before Christmas.

So far this season for the 14-5 Golden Hawks Gill is averaging 20.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 4.7 steals, 3.8 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.

The four-year varsity player has career averages of 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.4 assists per game.

Nia Rogers from Redwood Christian has been one of the top scoring leaders in Northern California for the last three seasons. Photo: Redwood Christian /

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Player of the Week

Nia Rogers
(Redwood Christian, San Lorenzo) Sr.

To find the Northern California Girls Player of the Week, we venture to a small school in the East Bay portion of the CIF Northern Coast Section to honor a young woman who was looking like she eventually was going to get some statewide recognition to go with mostly local props up until this time. We decided this was the week to honor Rogers who after her most recent performances keeps her up there as the No. 1 reported scoring leader in the North Coast Section and No. 3 in the state.

Last week, the 5-foot-6 senior combo guard didn’t have her top performance of the season, but she wins the NorCal girls award after going for 39 points (four three-pointers), nine steals and eight assists in a 77-24 win over Lafayette Bentley. Earlier in the week, Rogers had a double-double 26 points and 12 steals in a rout of Oakland College Prep.

Two weeks ago in a 76-39 victory over crosstown KIPP King, Nia had a double-double involving assists after going to 35 points, 11 assists, eight steals and six rebounds. Rogers has three more double-doubles and they all involve points and steals. Nia has also gone over the 40-point mark twice with 44 in a 71-47 victory over crosstown Arroyo, and 42 in a 58-29 victory over visiting Eastside College Prep of East Palo Alto.

Besides her 32.3 points per game, Rogers is averaging 8.6 steals, 5.3 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. Just like her point totals, the 8.6 steals in No. 1 in the NCS and No. 3 in the state. The assists is top 25 in the state and in the NCS it’s the No. 2 reported mark.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Player of the Week

Ella Zimmerman (Redondo Union, Redondo Beach) Sr.

We head to Redondo Beach to honor this week’s Southern California Girls Player of the Week, and we land at a school that’s just east of the Pacific Coast Highway and not far from the Pacific Ocean, and where the Battle of the Beach girls tournament is held each year.

The school where we find our award winner is Redondo Union and Zimmerman had a hand in helping the Sea Hawks win three games out of four last week to secure a spot on the bubble of the most recent Cal-Hi Sports state rankings. They improved to 16-4 overall.

In her biggest performance last week, the University of Portland-signee went for a monster double-double with a career-high 38 points in a 72-34 win on Saturday over Palisades of Pacific Palisades. She also had 13 rebounds, plus five steals, three assists and a block, and she was 14-for-14 on the free-throw line.

Already this week Zimmerman had 27 points in a 56-40 victory over Bay League arch rival Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach.

Of note is Zimmerman may have signed to play basketball at Portland but the 6-foot-4 senior post is also a proficient volleyball and softball player at Redondo Union. Naturally at 6-4 she’s a middle blocker on the volleyball court for a team that made it to the quarterfinals of the CIF Division I volleyball state championships and on the softball field she pitches and plays third base.

Alex Dupre and team from Birmingham (Lake Balboa) are a big threat to win CIF L.A. City Section Open Division title. Photo: Pollonpreps /

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Boys Player of the Week

Alex Dupre (Birmingham, Lake Balboa) Sr.

The search for the Southern California Boys Player of the Week takes us to the San Fernando Valley portion of the Los Angeles City Section, and it’s at Birmingham and a stone’s throw away from the small Lake Balboa that the city is named after that we find our award winner.

Last week, in a 65-63 victory over Moorpark in the MLK Showcase at Grant in Van Nuys, Dupre had a game high 33 points but the most important ones came at the very end.

With Birmingham setting up for a final shot to win in regulation, Dupre brought the ball up court, passed it to junior teammate Jordan Cruz for an open shot that kicked straight down off the front of the rim to senior Mark Rios who went up for a layup that rolled around and off the front of the rim. As time was about to expire you guessed it, Dupre went up and without touching the floor put it back up and in for the game winner as the horn sounded.

Of note the Patriots senior captain not only gets it done on the hardwood but in the classroom as well where he carries a 4.1 GPA.

Earlier last week, Dupre connected for 29 points and he had six rebounds and three blocks in a 56-42 victory vs El Camino Real of Woodland Hills. Alex’s stats and others from Birmingham are not on MaxPreps, but from other sources it’s known he was on the all-tournament team early in the season at the Clovis North tournament.

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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