Cal-Hi Sports Insider Blog

Quick-hitting, behind-the-scenes news and notes from the staff, including previews of upcoming content and events.

All-NBA: Cali rules, but where’s Klay?

This year’s All-NBA teams were announced earlier this week and it’s just another example of the great players from California high schools who are making this such a golden era for the Golden State (pun intended).

NBA superstar Klay Thompson speaks at ceremony held at Santa Margarita when the school retired his No. 1 jersey. Photo: @SMCHSAthletics/

The first team, second team and third team of five players each is based on voting by media members (broadcast & print) who regularly cover the NBA. The first five highest point totals are first team, the next five highest vote totals are second team and next five highest are third team. There’s no indication in the point totals who ranked 16th and may have just missed. It also doesn’t list positions for each player, meaning that there didn’t have to be a required number of centers, forwards or guards on any team.

James Harden (Artesia, Lakewood) was one of two players who received 100 first-place votes, which means all 100 voters named him on the first team. Harden, who led Artesia to the CIF Division III state title in 2007 and who was the MVP of the NBA for last season, was joined with 100 first-place votes by Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

But Harden wasn’t the only Californian on first team. Paul George (Knight, Lancaster) was named first team by 71 voters after the sensational season he had for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

There also were two Californians on second team — Kawhi Leonard (M.L. King, Riverside) of the Toronto Raptors and Damian Lillard (Oakland) of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Making it five out of 15 on the third team was triple-double machine Russell Westbrook (Leuzinger, Lawndale) of the Thunder.

Much of the conversation after the teams were announced, however, was about another California player who wasn’t in the first 15. That would be Klay Thompson (Santa Margarita, Rancho SM) of the Golden State Warriors. Thompson maybe didn’t score as much or rebound as much as some others on third team — such as Blake Griffin, Rudy Gobert and Kemba Walker — but he’s a huge reason that the Warriors have advanced to their fifth straight NBA Finals and could win their third straight world championship. The exclusion of Thompson also is much more significant than just talking points because being on one of the top three teams is part of the criteria for a player to get a so-called super max contract. That doesn’t seem fair or make sense, but the players themselves did vote in favor of the bargaining methods that the league and teams will use to determine super max players.

In thinking about Thompson some more, you’d already have to say that he’s firmly on track to eventually be in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and that he’s the best player ever from an Orange County high school. George Yardley (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach) is the county’s only Hall of Famer as of now, but Thompson has had an even better career so far and there’s more still to come. There’s not a Mater Dei player for sure who can match him.

Nocetti Named New CIF Exec. Director

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. – The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Executive Committee has named Ron Nocetti, current Associate Executive Director of the CIF, as the Federation’s ninth Executive Director. Nocetti replaces retiring Executive Director Roger L. Bake and will begin his new position August 1.

One of the last projects of Nocetti’s current position was to present a CIF state baseball/softball championship proposal.

“It is an honor to be selected as the new Executive Director and I am excited to continue serving side by side with the entire CIF family who works so relentlessly to provide opportunities for our students to participate in education-based athletics,” said Nocetti. “I also join the entire organization in thanking Roger for his 43 years of service to secondary education in California. He worked tirelessly on behalf of our member schools and their student-athletes and we wish him and his wife, Karen, the best in their retirement years.”

The CIF Executive Committee began the search for the new candidate in March after Blake announced his intent to retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year. Nocetti was recommended following the conclusion of the selection process and will be ratified at the June 2019 Executive Committee Meeting.

“Ron Nocetti’s dedication to education-based athletics in California is an example for all involved,” said CIF State President James Perry. “We are excited to work with Ron in continuing the CIF mission to engage the 1,606 CIF-member schools in an effort to provide positive opportunities for all our student-athletes.”

Blake adds, “There is not a more qualified person for this job than Ron Nocetti. He is well prepared and will do an outstanding job. I’m retiring from the CIF knowing that his leadership will only improve the experiences for the students and schools participating in education-based activities in California.”

Nocetti received his bachelor’s degree in economics, a master’s degree in sport management and a doctorate in educational leadership all from the University of San Francisco. He has been involved in education since 1991 as a teacher, coach, athletic director, and administrator.

In 2008, Nocetti was hired by the CIF State Office as the Director of Championship Events, promoted to Senior Director and became the Associate Executive Director in 2012. His path to the top position is similar to Blake’s, who was promoted from Associate Executive Director in 2012 when he took over from Marie Ishida.

Comments: It is believed that most if not all of the previous leaders of the CIF state office came from a background primarily in public schools administration. Nocetti is a graduate of Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) and also was dean of students at that school. He later became athletic director at Jesuit (Carmichael) and then from Jesuit was hired by the CIF state office. It’ll be interesting to see if Ron’s background gives him a different perspective on some of the issues facing the organization. He’s also a few years younger than when some others have become executive director, which means he may be in the top job with the CIF for a longer time (perhaps 10 years). He has been great to work with on our coverage of the CIF state football bowl games, but we doubt he’s going to be spending much time looking at that board as the new executive director.

Super Bowl 2019: Was It That Bad?

Sports fans from all over the world look forward to watching the Super Bowl every year. It is the perfect mixture of ultimate sporting ability and entertainment. However, the 2019 edition has been greeted with less than satisfactory reviews across the board; from both avid NFL fans and casual viewers of America’s game. But why was the New England Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams so badly received?
Read more…

NFL Draft Recap: It was a bad year

After one of the best years for ex-California high school football players in the NFL Draft in 2018, this year’s pickings held last week in Nashville were scarce.
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CIF Scholar-Athletes of the Year 2019

Grace Bailey from Soquel High School and Parker Boswell from El Diamante High School (Visalia) were selected Monday as the 2019 CIF Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Since 1982, the scholarship award identifies student-athletes who excel in the classroom, athletics, and are strong contributors to their schools and communities.
Read more…

All-State Underclass Girls BB List

Patches like this one for every player named to every list of the 2019 All-State Boys and Girls Basketball Teams will be available to order through our partners at A certificate to accompany each all-state patch also is part of the package.

For those just interested in seeing the names of players who are on the Gold Club post for this year’s All-State Underclass Team for girls hoops 2019, here is a simple alphabetical list. If you want the full presentation and are not Gold Club, please check out getting a membership today. If you just want to know the name of someone listed, it’s never been our intention to force someone to become a subscriber. Users who are not subscribers but just have a question about any of our content are welcome to email at any time. To order a commemorative patch that comes with a certificate, families of those listed below can do so through THIS LINK from our partners at A separate link to order the basketball patch has been added to the football patch.

Haylee Aiden (Granada Hills Charter)
Clarice Akunwafo (Rolling Hills Prep)
Jazzy Andusinh (La Jolla Country Day)
Asia Avinger (Rosary)
Mya Blake (Bear Creek, Stockton)
Amaya Bonner (Bishop O’Dowd)
Teagan Brown (Oak Ridge, El Dorado Hills)
Kalaya Buggs (Long Beach Poly)
Isuneh Brady (Cathedral Catholic)
Kayla Chang (Laguna Hills)
Kaitlyn Chen (Flintridge Prep)
Ashley Chevalier (Sierra Canyon)
Anya Choice (Cardinal Newman)
Renee Chong (Bishop’s)
Allie Carreon (Christian, EC)
Jayda Curry (Centennial, Corona)
Annika Decker (Pinewood)
Vanessa DeJesus (Sierra Canyon)
Brooke Demetre (Mater Dei, SA)
Liz Elliott (St. Mary’s Academy)
Alyssa Frescas (Mater Dei, SA)
Paige Gerhart (San Ramon Valley)
Jzayia Harriel (Antelope)
Rowan Hein (Clovis North)
Hunter Hernandez (Archbishop Mitty)
Kiki Iriafen (Harvard-Westlake)
Avery Lee (Menlo School)
Ashlee Lewis (Long Beach Poly)
Jyah LoVett (Providence)
Junae Mahan (Bear Creek, Stockton)
Leah Manning (Capistrano Valley)
Lydia Manu (Aragon)
Alyssa Marin (Camarillo)
Alexis Mark (Sierra Canyon)
Rayah Marshall (Lynwood)
Malia Mastora (St. Joseph Notre Dame)
Mia Mastrov (Miramonte)
Aly Maxey (Rolling Hills Prep)
DeMariyah McGee (Rancho Verde)
Alexis Mead (M.L. King)
Audrey Moulton (California, San Ramon)
Alyssa Munn (Redondo Union)
Abigail Muse (Heritage, Brentwood)
Jane Nwaba (Palisades)
Stephanie Okwi (Oakland Tech)
Amaya Oliver (St. Mary’s, Stockton)
Ugenne Onyiah (Roosevelt, Eastvale)
Nnenna Orji (Etiwanda)
Te-hina Paopao (La Jolla Country Day)
Khylie Pepe (Bishop Montgomery)
Madison Perry (Del Oro)
Sylena Peterson (Mt. Miguel)
Angie Robles (Bishop’s)
Gabby Rones (West Campus)
Tai Sherman (St. Mary’s, Stockton)
Calli Stokes (Redondo)
Hannah Stines (Troy)
Erin Tarasov (Miramonte)
Courtni Thompson (Pinewood)
Nikki Tom (Clovis West)
Savannah Tucker (Clovis North)
Anaiya Tuiua (Troy)
Rebecca Welsh (Miramonte)
Alexis Whitfield (Chaminade)
Chloe Williams (St. Mary’s Academy)
McKayla Williams (Windward)

All-State Underclass Boys BB List

Patches like this one for every player named to every list of the 2019 All-State Boys and Girls Basketball Teams will be available to order through our partners at A certificate to accompany each all-state patch also is part of the package.

For those just interested in seeing the names of players who are on the Gold Club post for this year’s All-State Underclass Team for boys hoops 2019, here is a simple alphabetical list. If you want the full presentation and are not Gold Club, please check out getting a membership today. If you just want to know the name of someone listed, it’s never been our intention to force someone to become a subscriber. Users who are not subscribers but just have a question about any of our content are welcome to email at any time. To order a commemorative patch that comes with a certificate, families of those listed below can do so through THIS LINK from our partners at A separate link to order the basketball patch has been added to the football patch.

Henri Adiassa (Crossroads)
Chibuzo Agbo (St. Augustine)
Amound Anderson (Leuzinger)
Cole Anderson (Clovis West)
Dylan Andrews (Windward, L.A.)
Obinna Anyanwu (Cathedral Catholic)
Devin Askew (Mater Dei)
Marcus Bagley (Sheldon, Sac.)
Amari Bailey (Sierra Canyon)
Robby Beasley (Dublin)
Shane Bell (Salesian, R)
Wilhelm Breidenbach (Mater Dei)
Judah Brown (Pacifica Christian)
Xavion Brown (Sheldon, Sac.)
Nigel Burris (Stuart Hall, S.F.)
Lamont Butler (Riverside Poly)
David Cheatom (University, LA)
Josh Christopher (Mayfair)
Jaylen Clark (Centennial, Corona)
Je’Lani Clark (Riordan, S.F.)
Skyy Clark (Heritage Christian)
Corey Cofield (Birmingham)
Boubacar Coulibaly (San Gabriel Ac.)
D.J. Davis (Centennial, Corona)
Devin Day (Modesto Christian)
Keith Dinwiddie (Fairfax)
Reese Dixon (Dorsey)
Travis Dowdell (Manual Arts)
D.J. Dudley (San Ysidro)
Ryan Evans (Mater Dei)
Mikey Ficher (Tulare Western)
Terren Frank (Sierra Canyon)
Yassine Gharram (Foothills Christian)
Jalen Green (San Joaquin Memorial)
Dominick Harris (Rancho Christian)
Jason Hart Jr. (Dorsey)
Andre Henry (St. Francis, LC)
Mason Hooks (Harvard-Westlake)
Chris Howell (San Marcos)
Dishon Jackson (St. Patrick-St. Vincent)
Johnny Juzang (Harvard-Westlake)
Brenton Knapper (Colony)
Donjae’ Lindsay (Weston Ranch)
Ramel Lloyd (Calabasas)
Aidan Mahaney (Campolindo)
Ian Martinez (JSerra)
Jahmei Mashack (Etiwanda)
Craig McMillan (Sweetwater)
Mike Mitchell (Archbishop Mitty)
Evan Mobley (Rancho Christian)
Christian Moore (Brentwood)
Thomas Notarainni (Cathedral Catholic)
Michael Pearson (Modesto Christian)
Jaden Phillips (Foothill, Bak.)
Camren Pierce (Etiwanda)
Tyler Powell (Ribet Academy)
Aidan Prukop (Mater Dei)
Devan Sapp (Archbishop Mitty)
Te’jon Sawyer (Salesian, R)
Isa Silva (Jesuit)
Kenneth Simpson (Chaminade)
Clark Slajchert (Oak Park)
Brah’jon Thompson (Logan)
Luke Turner (Rancho Christian)
Kenneth Simpson (Chaminade)
Malik Thomas (Damien)
Tsalta Wainwright (Santa Monica)
Gavin Wilburn (Weston Ranch)
Ziaire Williams (Notre Dame, SO)
Atin Wright (Fairmont Prep)
Davion Wright (Franklin, Elk Grove)
Kijani Wright (Windward, L.A.)
Corey Yerger (Grant, Sac.)

Woodland pitcher close to state no-hitters record

Senior Oregon State-bound Cooper Hjerpe racked up his third straight no-hitter earlier this week to set up some amazing possibilities. One of those is that he needs one more to tie the Cal-Hi Sports state record first set in 1963 by a pitcher from Winters, which is just 20 miles away and also in Yolo County.
Read more…

Baseball History & Its Impact On The Game Today

For more than a century, baseball has been a major part of the American sporting culture. Though it’s hard to trace its exact origin, it has grown to be one of the most watched games in the Unitd States. Today, millions of fans watch the game on television, and it’s now part of the American identity, with online final 4 betting at sites like mad betting contributing to its popularity.

The History of Baseball

According to legend, baseball was invented in the summer of 1839 by a man named Abner Doubleday from Cooperstown, New York. However, the story has been debunked as a myth used to promote the game back in the early 1900s when Abraham Mills was commissioned to
trace its origin. While Abner existed, he never claimed the invention of baseball or to have anything to do with the game.

Though it’s not clear the exact year that baseball was invented, historians trace its origin back to the 18th century. Nonetheless, the emergence of professional baseball in America is credited to
Alexander Cartwright, a bank clerk in New York. Alexander wrote the first constitution for the organized American baseball club, the Knickerbockers of New York in 1845.

The Development Of Professional Baseball

The Knickerbockers are widely known as the forefathers of modern day baseball, and most of their rules still apply to date. The team played their first official game under these rules on 19th June 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey. However, baseball was highly overshadowed by cricket until it started gaining popularity during the American civil war.

Throughout the 1850s and early 1860s, baseball remained an amateur sport in America until the launch of the first professional league in 1871. With the establishment of a professional league and a burst in popularity, baseball started taking over the country. That saw the rise of other minority professional leagues across the country in the 1880s, including the so-called “Negro Baseball Leagues.”

The Game Changer

Throughout the 19th century and early 20th century, professional baseball leagues were problematic for various reasons. Racial segregation was one of the major issues that barred talented players from participating in major and minor baseball teams in the league. The sport was also highly corrupt, partly due to low wages for the players. That resulted in game throwing as sports bettors frequently bribed players.

Over the century, some of the issues began to change as a baseball league known as the American League started challenging the National League’s dominance. The two would later merge to form Major League Baseball, empowering players to negotiate for fair wages. However, it wasn’t until 1947 that the racial barrier was broken when Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie (from California’s Muir High of Pasadena) was the first African American Player in American baseball, and he helped draw a record of 21 million fans in his first year.

Baseball Today

Today, baseball remains among the top sports in America, with millions of fans across the country. Players receive exceptionally high salaries, and some of the most successful players are from minority ethnic groups. This “stick and ball” game has grown from humble beginnings to become a major part of the American identity.

CIF State Winter & Spring Spirit of Sport Honorees

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — Lauren McDonnell (Menlo-Atherton High School), Thomas Moorehead (Mesa Verde High School), Payton Fuller (West Valley High School), and Samantha Matlock (Mariposa County High School) were named the recipients of the prestigious CIF Spirit of Sport Award for 2019 Winter and Spring respectively. The four statewide winners, along with the two Fall recipients, will receive an award, a patch, a $1,000 scholarship and be recognized at the year-end CIF Federated Council dinner on April 12, in Burlingame.

The CIF Spirit of Sport Award recognizes student-athletes who have demonstrated the 16 principles of Pursuing Victory with Honor, are active in school and community service and exhibit leadership qualities. The principles of Pursuing Victory with Honor are the operating principles of the CIF and have been adopted by the 1,606-member high schools throughout the state.

“These recipients have exemplified the Spirit of Sport and reflect the positive elements of Pursuing Victory with Honor, reinforcing the value of education-based athletics,” said CIF Executive Director Roger L. Blake.

Additionally, the CIF selected a boy and girl winner for each CIF section, in each of the 10 sections for each season of sport, from all submitted applications to receive $500. A list of all winter and spring 2019 section recipients follows.

Lauren McDonnell co-founded the girls wrestling team at Menlo-Atherton of Atherton in her freshman year and has served as the team captain for the past three years. She is also a member of the debate team, is a volunteer tutor at her school and has served as the chapter president for Buildon Global Literacy Development non-profit. Additionally, she co-founded the Menlo-Atherton Wrestling Education Corporation non-profit which provides scholarships to wrestlers in need.

“Helping my teammates navigate their hardships has been the biggest challenge and inspiration of my life,” says McDonnell. “We’ve succeeded and grown in so many ways despite the obstacles we’ve faced together. Without realizing it, they pushed me past my confining ideology and by doing so forever expanded my perspective. Because of their incredible resilience and example, my point of view and attitudes have completely changed – I discovered that compassion is better than stoicism, that patience is not inefficient but creates impact, that listening is the foundation of effective change.”

Thomas Moorehead is a member of the basketball and baseball teams at Mesa Verde of Citrus Heights and also a member of AVID, Key Club and the California Scholarship Federation. Additionally, he has volunteered more than 140 hours in his community.

“Years of hard work have not only developed me as an athlete but as a person as well,” states Moorehead. “I’m very grateful for who I’ve become and how sportsmanship through basketball has developed me. It’s a necessity to develop yourself as a person, before development as a player.”

Payton Fuller is a two-sport athlete at West Valley High School of Cottonwood participating in Track and Swim. He is actively involved in school leadership currently serving as ASB Treasurer and is also involved in several clubs and associations. Additionally, Fuller contributes to his community and has led fundraising efforts for several charitable causes.

“Sportsmanship to me is intentionally behaving in a way that encourages all athletes on a field of play to have their best day ever,” states Fuller. “I try to live this. Every day can be better than the last. Sportsmanship requires effort. Sportsmanship drives personal accountability and excellence on and off the field.”

Samantha Matlock is a four-year varsity softball and volleyball player at Mariposa County High School in Mariposa, as well as an established musician. She is also an ASB Officer, an MCHS representative to the Juvenile Justice Commission and is involved in many other activities and clubs on campus. Additionally, she volunteers her time with her local Parks and Rec., Rotary Interact and serves as an assistant volleyball coach.

“For me, the ‘spirit of sport’ is the culmination of every lesson, every coach, and every friendship I have made on the field that has given me the confidence, respect and drive to be successful in the next stage of life,” states Matlock.

2019 CIF Winter Spirit of Sport SECTION Winners

Central Section
Lilian Svetich – Basketball, San Luis Obispo High School

Central Coast Section
D’Von Lang – Basketball, Valley Christian High School (San Jose)
Rachel Bakke – Basketball, Saratoga High School

Los Angeles City Section
Mariah Williams – Basketball, Animo Watts High School

North Coast Section
Dylan Joyce – Basketball, Marin Catholic
Patricia McCleery – Traditional Competitive Cheer, Lower Lake High School

Sac-Joaquin Section
Juliana Taylor – Basketball, Center High School
Noah Mirelez – Wrestling, Patterson High School

San Diego Section
Jacob Jovien – Basketball, Francis Parker
Kaylee Stiffler – Basketball, Cathedral Catholic

San Francisco Section
Jessica Mari Castaneda – Basketball, ICA Cristo Rey Academy

Southern Section
Allison Reed – Basketball, Crean Lutheran High School
Seth Hoskins – Basketball, Whittier Christian High School

2019 CIF Spring Spirit of Sport SECTION Winners

Central Section
Blair Abril – Swim & Dive, Bakersfield Christian High School
Kaylee Melendez – Softball, Mission Oak High School

Central Coast Section
Michael Leahy – Baseball, Saint Francis High School
Grace Tramack – Swimming, Henry M. Gunn High School

Los Angeles City Section
Djamal Lylecyrus – Boys Volleyball, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

North Coast Section
Trey Turner – Baseball, Pittsburg High School
Margo Donahue – Track & Field, Piedmont High School

Northern Section
Bailey Dakota Jones – Track & Field, West Valley High School

Oakland Section
Darious Howard – Baseball, Oakland High School
Millie Caroline Garrett – Track & Field, Oakland Technical High School

Sac-Joaquin Section
Gabriel Whitecotton – Baseball, Western Sierra Collegiate Academy
Alayssia Townsell – Track & Field, Ronald E. McNair High School

San Diego Section
Adam Nussbaum – Volleyball, Francis Parker School
Gillian Folk – Swim, Academy of Our Lady of Peace

San Francisco Section
Connor James Pino – Baseball, Mission High School
Leanna Lam – Track & Field, Raul Wallenberg High School

Southern Section
Chase Pinkerton – Boys Volleyball, Mira Costa High School
Angela Gagnon – Track & Field, Oxford Academy