NorCal/SoCal Players of the Week

Sara Shein of Bakersfield Christian (left) was presented with a special award after her high scoring game in the Central Section D3 championship. At right is senior point guard Jared Mims of Mission Hills Alemany. Photos: @CifCentral / &

For our final week this season of honoring one girl and one boy each from Southern and Northern California as our basketball players of the week we have some real hidden talent that would only see local honors if not for these awards. Also, in a bit of a twist we personally saw the SoCal girl in her award-winning performance and we also saw the NorCal girls’ honoree earlier this season, and that’s a bit of an anomaly.

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Notes: This weekly feature is switching next week to baseball and softball. For these honors, we also consider CIF Central Section players for Northern California. To nominate anyone, email

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Girls Player of the Week

Sara Shein (Bakersfield Christian) Sr.

The search for the final Northern California Girls Player of the Week honor this season takes us to the southernmost reaches of “The Valley” as the locals like to call the CIF Central Section. And while Bakersfield is filled with Dodger fans, it’s part of the CIF Central Section and therefore is considered Northern California for this honor.

Last week was a big one for Sara and her Eagles’ teammates as they won two games and in doing so captured the Central Section Division 3 championship.

In the semifinals, a 70-45 victory over Shafter, she led Bakersfield Christian with 25 points (two 3-pointers), plus six rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocks. The title game saw her go for 30 points and six steals in a surprisingly easy 70-38 victory by top-seeded Bakersfield Christian over No. 2 seed Morro Bay.

It didn’t count towards this week’s honors but two weeks ago in a quarterfinal 67-44 victory over Kerman, Sara scored 31 points (6-for-10 on 3-pointers) with five rebounds.

Heading into a Southern Regional Division III opening round match-up for the second-seeded and 25-7 Eagles against visiting Eastside of Lancaster, Shein is shining with an average of 16.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

In the game we witnessed at the Caruthers Showcase, Sara was held pretty much in check, but it came in a loss to a Clovis team that is the No. 4 seed in the D3 NorCals.

In what is always a twisty situation when it comes to where the CIF places teams from the CIF Central Section in basketball, while we consider teams from The Valley to be in Northern California, the CIF can put teams in the north or the south for the regional playoffs, and while some section teams like Clovis West, Clovis and Clovis Buchanan plus other mostly Fresno-area teams were placed in the NorCals, Bakersfield-area teams like Bakersfield and Central Section D2 champion Monache of Porterville were placed in the south.

Scotty Brennan of Los Gatos gets off a shot during team’s game earlier this season vs Palo Alto. Photo: Johnathan Natividad / Los Gatan.

Cal-Hi Sports Northern California
Boys Player of the Week

Scotty Brennan (Los Gatos) Jr.

To find the Northern California Boys Player of the Week we head to the western portion of the Santa Clara Valley aka Silicon Valley and the destination where we end up to locate this week’s award winner is at Los Gatos High.

Brennan has been one of the Cats’ top players this season, and his most recent performances bear that out and have earned him this statewide award.

Last week, Los Gatos won three games and in doing so captured the CIF Central Coast Section Division I championship.

In the first game, a 76-66 win over San Jose Leigh, the 6-foot-3 Brennan led the way with 21 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. In the semifinals, and in an 82-80 overtime victory by the Cats over Santa Teresa of San Jose, he turned in the performance that solidified this week’s honors after dropping in 31 points with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

Brennan didn’t stop there. In the championship game contested on Saturday at Santa Clara High, and in a 58-54 victory by second-seeded Los Gatos over top-seeded Menlo-Atherton of Atherton, Scotty went for a double-double and led the team in scoring once again and rebounding as well with 16 points (2-for-2 on 3-pointers) and 10 rebounds, plus three assists. His two free-throws with 13 seconds left also broke a 54-54 tie.

Los Gatos has at least one more game as the No. 13 seed in the CIF Northern Regional Division I playoffs when it faces Bishop O’Dowd in Oakland on Tuesday, and the Cats’ faithful hope it’s not the final time they see Brennan in a Cats jersey even though he is a junior. However, that probability exists since Scotty’s father, Brent Brennan, the former head football coach at San Jose State, is the new head coach at the University of Arizona, and likely the family is moving to the Tucson area.

On a side note, Scotty also is a quarterback in football and was likely going to be the starter next season. That football team also won the CCS D1 title.

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Boys Player of the Week

Jared Mims (Bishop Alemany, Mission Hills) Sr.

We head to the San Fernando Valley in search of the Southern California Boys Player of the Week and it’s smack dab in the very center of a triangle formed by the I-5 to the west, the I-405 to the east, and Highway 118 to the south where we land, and it’s in Mission Hills where we find the award winner.

Last weekend, three teams from the powerful Mission League were crowned CIF Southern Section champions, Harvard-Westlake (Studio City) was the Open champion, Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks won the Division 1 crown, and Bishop Alemany was the third team to win a CIFSS title and it was the performance of Mims that had a lot to do with the victory.

Last Saturday, in the Southern Section Division 3A title game, and in a wild affair that went to three overtimes, Mims led the way with 25 points and six assists as the Warriors outlasted Bosco Tech of Rosemead in an 86-80 victory.

Stats from Mims have not been reported but he’s shined for Alemany and some of his other performances are highlighted on his X/Twitter page, like the team-high 22 points he had in the Warriors 3A opening round 66-51 victory over Riverside Arlington, or the 28 points and five assists he had in a league win over Chaminade of West Hills. He also had 28 points in a league loss to Notre Dame.

There were no stats but on his handle were pictures of two plaques Mims was awarded for being named all tourney at both the SoCal Christmas Classic and Orange County Basketball Showcase.

Jared and his Warriors’ teammates season continues on as Alemany secured the No. 3 seed in the CIF Southern Regional Division III playoffs and squares off on Tuesday with visiting Olympian of Chula Vista.

Maddie Farnsworth has helped turn around the fortunes of the Palos Verdes program. Photo:

Cal-Hi Sports Southern California
Girls Player of the Week

Maddie Farnsworth
(Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates) Sr.

The Palos Verdes peninsula is we where we are heading in search of the Southern California Girls Player of the Week, and while this week’s honoree plays at Palos Verdes High, we caught her in action last Saturday at the Toyota Center in Ontario where Farnsworth and her Sea Kings’ teammates were in action playing for the CIF Southern Section Division 4A championship.

Completed stats for Farnsworth have not been reported on MaxPreps but we know from searches of the internet the sophomore point guard had 24 points in a quarterfinal 48-35 victory two weeks ago over Diamond Ranch of Pomona, and then last week in the two games that specifically count toward this honor, Maddie dropped in 23 points in a 54-39 victory on the road at West Ranch in Valencia.

We didn’t need to see reported stats for the title game because the CIF Southern Section provides stats for all its basketball championship games and when we were handed the stat sheet we knew Farnsworth would be a worthy candidate for this week’s honors after she went for 35 points (three 3-pointers) four rebounds, six steals and three assists to lead Palos Verdes to a 57-46 victory over Lancaster Eastside.

With the victory, Palos Verdes kept alive one of the greatest turnarounds we’ve seen in five decades of covering high school basketball when it advanced to the CIF Southern Regional Division IV playoffs as the No. 14 seed with a 23-7 record. The team faces No. 3 seed Palisades of Pacific Palisades in a Tuesday night match-up.

We say it’s one of the greatest turnarounds from one season to the next because last season Palos Verdes struggled mightily with a 3-20 record.

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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