NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Two of this week’s honored players are Brandon Gibson from Monterey Trail of Elk Grove and Ahslee Medrano from Paloma Valley of Menifee. Photos: John Hull / Elk Grove Citizen &

We don’t any have entries for the Cal-Hi Sports Online Record Book to track this week, but we did have a player get a single game individual scoring milestone, and two other players that are getting statewide recognition to go along with local props, including another player who recently achieved a career milestone. The fourth player is getting statewide recognition but he had already made a splash big-time locally in Orange County. This week’s stops are in Elk Grove and Santa Clara in Northern California, and in Southern California we visit San Juan Capistrano and Menifee.

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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

Brandon Gibson Jr. (Monterey Trail, Elk Gove) Sr.

Our Northern California Boys Player of the Week award winner didn’t exactly come as a nomination for the award from veteran Sacramento Bee prep sports scribe Joe Davidson, but we took the email sent describing the feats of Gipson as a nomination of sorts, and thus Gibson is this week’s honoree.

Last week, in a Metropolitan Conference 98-50 victory over West Sacramento River City, the 6-foot-5 senior had a monster triple-double after he finished with 51 points, 11 rebounds and 10 steals. He shot 22-of-31 from the field and connected on six of his 11 three-point attempts.

Gibson might have gone for more but according to Davidson he sat the final three minutes of the game. Even so, not only was it a season and career-high for Brandon, and a noteworthy single game scoring milestone achievement, but also according to Davidson it broke the school record of 50 points previously held by Sacramento Bee All-Metro football wide receiver Andre Crump set in 2019. Crump is now at UC Davis playing wide receiver.

So far this season for the 20-2 Mustangs and the top team from the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section in the just released Cal-Hi Sports rankings at No. 29 overall, Gibson is averaging 23.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals, and he’s connected on 35 three-pointers.

Nina Llamas of Santa Clara High puts up a shot during game last season. Photo: Joshua Cedro / The Roar.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Player of the Week

Nina Llamas (Santa Clara) Jr.

We found the Northern California Girls Player of the Week perusing the Bay Area News Group nominees for its Girls Athlete of the Week poll that includes basketball and soccer players, and while that award won’t be decided until paper’s polls close on Wednesday evening, we’re jumping the gun and making Llamas our NorCal girls basketball honoree.

She plays at a school in the South Bay region of the CCS that is not far Levi’s Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers stamped their ticket to this year’s Super Bowl last Sunday.

Complete stats have not been reported for the Santa Clara senior guard, and the scores of last week’s two wins where Llamas put in her award-winning performances have not been reported, either, but according to the BANG nomination last week Nina dropped in 31 and 27 points in wins over Palo Alto Gunn and Cupertino, respectively.

Last week for the current 15-5 Chargers, Llamas had 31 points in a 67-34 win over cross-town arch rival Wilcox, and 27 points in a heartbreaking 48-44 loss to Milpitas. As a junior Nina averaged 12.3 points, 2.9 steals and 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Player of the Week

Ashlee Medrano (Paloma Valley, Menifee) Sr.

The search for the Southern California Player of the Week on the girls side this week takes us to the Inland Empire where we land around 10-miles north of where the I-215 splits off from I-15, and a little less than a mile west of the 215 in Menifee.

It’s at Paloma Valley where we find this week’s award winner and it’s a 5-foot-5 senior guard who has been lighting it up this season for the Wildcats. Medrano started off last week with a 28-point performance (4-of-7 on three-pointers) in a 51-19 victory over host Rancho Verde of Moreno Valley, and she ended the week with 22 points in a 54-46 win at Valley View of Moreno Valley.

Those are two pretty solid outings and not far off her season’s averages, but it’s what Ashlee did in the game that was sandwiched between those two victories that earns her this week’s honors. In a 66-12 win against visiting Lakeside of Lake Elsinore, Ashlee was on fire after dropping 45 points in the victory.

Through last week, Medrano was averaging 24.8 points, 3.6 steals, 2.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
Of note also is that with the 28 points against Rancho Verde, Medrano reached the 1,000 career point scoring milestone. Through last week she had 1,092 points so far in her four-year varsity career.

The underrated aspect surrounding Aidan Fowler of JSerra being one of the state’s elite point guards may now be over. Photo: The Basketball Tribune /

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Boys Player of the Week

Aidan Fowler (JSerra, San Juan Capistrano) Sr.

Talk about upsetting the apple cart.

For our Southern California Boys Basketball Player of the Week, we really didn’t have to do a lot of digging because the accomplishments of Fowler were front and center after what he did against Mater Dei of Santa Ana in a Trinity League upset last week.

In early January, JSerra lost 78-67 to Mater Dei in Santa Ana, and that loss made the Lions 0-34 all time against the Monarchs, but last Wednesday night in San Juan Capistrano the swallows were singing as Aidan had a big hand in putting an end to that frustration when the 5-foot-10 senior guard slashed and darted his way to 36 points against a Mater Dei team that was ranked No. 3 in the state coming into the game.

In a bit of a twist, Fowler and his teammates pulled it off in the final game of a suspension for head coach Keith Wilkinson from actions in that previous game vs Mater Dei.

If that wasn’t enough, Fowler was on the prowl once again later in the week when he dropped in 21 points on senior night in a 67-58 victory over visiting Lutheran of Orange.

But wait, there’s more, and this time it came on the Mater Dei hardwood. On Saturday at the Nike Extravaganza, JSerra recorded its second win of the week versus a state ranked foe, as it downed then No. 22 St. Augustine of San Diego, 54-48, by taking control down the stretch. Fowler hit a big jumper with 2:10 to go to give the Lions a 50-43 lead and they held on at the end. Against St. Augustine, Fowler led the way again with 18 points.

With last week’s action, Fowler and his Lions’ teammates were still alive for a spot in the CIF Southern Section Open Division playoffs. In the latest release on Monday, JSerra was on the CIFSS Open Division Watchlist and was No. 8 in the Division 1 poll. Note that a Tuesday night league game vs Santa Margarita was not included in this week’s honors.

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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