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Extending the Season: No Sierra Canyon-Sheldon trilogy, but three fantastic finishes - OFFICIAL
Extending the Season: No Sierra Canyon-Sheldon trilogy, but three fantastic finishes
Video: Sierra Canyon wins at buzzer
Trailblazers advance to state in dramatic fashion.

The lights at Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings, have never shined so bright for a high school event.
 
In each of the past two seasons, the star-studded boys basketball team from Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) played against hometown Sheldon (Sacramento). The energy and excitement was palpable for the games that capped the CIF's 12-game state basketball championships.

The Trailblazers brought an entourage that included former NBA players and Hollywood celebrities, who sat courtside for all to see.

They are high school basketball's version of the Showtime Lakers.

The hometown fans walked away disappointed each of the past two seasons as the flashy visitors showed more than just a little glitz — Sierra Canyon won each game handily, 76-52 and 75-62. But Huskies were hopeful that with a strong cast returning, including Marcus Bagley, younger brother of Kings' star Marvin Bagley, they would return in 2020 to flip those results.

The Huskies and Trailblazers appeared on a collision course before the coronavirus pandemic struck the country full force last week.

Sierra Canyon, featuring 5-star prospects in Ziaire Williams, Brandon Boston Jr. and Amari Bailey, plus the sons of LeBron James (Bronny James) and Dwyane Wade (Zaire Wade), captured its third straight Southern California regional title in the most dramatic way possible.
This buzzer beater by Ziaire Williams against Etiwanda would turn out to be the last shot of the season for Sierra Canyon.
Photo by Louis Lopez
This buzzer beater by Ziaire Williams against Etiwanda would turn out to be the last shot of the season for Sierra Canyon.
The Trailblazers pulled off a 63-61 stunner over Etiwanda as Williams, a McDonald's All-American, finished off a 13-0 run to close the game with a fade-away, 17-foot swish at the buzzer to set off a wild celebration.

"It was truly surreal," Sierra Canyon coach Andre Chevalier said a week after the shot. "How magical was it for us to just fight all the way back from that seemingly endless hole? And then to win it on that shot by Ziaire. Truly surreal."

Sheldon's path to the Northern California finals was similarly unlikely — perhaps even more so.

One week before the finals, the plug was pulled on the Huskies' season after a student in Sheldon's district was quarantined as a precaution for coronavirus.

Two days of public outcry and political pressure led to top-seeded Sheldon being reinstated, but the Huskies found themselves down eight late on the road in the semifinals against a very determined Dublin squad.

Yet, they fought back to win 65-64, powered by Bagley's 27 points that included an improbable go-ahead shot with 17.5 seconds remaining.

"I'm proud of all of our guys, our team," Bagley told Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee. "I'm happy. We've been resilient all year. Learned a lot about our team. We're built for this. That's why this game meant so much."

That win vaulted Sheldon in the semifinals against another team built on great resolve, the Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) Dragons. Winners of 18 straight games after a 5-7 start, O'Dowd looked capable of derailing the Sierra Canyon-Sheldon trilogy.

The Dragons had one the top freshman in the country, 6-foot-8 14-year-old forward Jalen Lewis, one of the state's top juniors in Marsalis Roberson and Cal signee Monty Bowser, as well as their own motivation.

It was five years ago that Ivan Rabb sank a game-winning free throw with less than a second to play to shock Mater Dei (Santa Ana) in the state final. A book "Dragon Hoops," was supposed to be released on the anniversary of that game, and O'Dowd was bent on repeating the feat.

It would have been a tall order, but O'Dowd was at the top of its game after a decisive 13-point road win over second seed Archbishop Mitty in the NorCal semifinals.

"As far as I'm concerned, this is our last game," O'Dowd coach Lou Richie said after the game. "Tomorrow is not promised."

Turned out, Richie called it.

The morning of the delayed O'Dowd-Sheldon NorCal finals on March 12, CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti canceled that game and the weekend's 2020 state championship games.

"While we understand this decision is disappointing, we strongly believe that the opportunity to compete in this event does not outweigh our obligation to place the health and safety of our member schools and school communities above all else," he said.

No Sheldon-Sierra Canyon trilogy. No O'Dowd epilogue. No Trailblazers' three-peat.

All three coaches lamented the disappointment — how thrilling it would have been to watch all those talented athletes under the simmering spotlight.

But each coach recognized the bigger picture — health and safety. They also found silver linings in ending on a high note.

Sheldon coach Joey Rollings focused on how his team inspired a community to keep them in the tournament, and how the Huskies reciprocated with a likewise effort, without practicing for three days.

"My kids never quit," Rollings told the Bee's Davidson. "We got to go out on an exciting note. We wish we could play another game, but we can't control that. Our kids seem to understand. They're disappointed, but kids are resilient." 

Richie had a similar message for his Dragons, who featured seven seniors.

"A lot of the kids were very upset," Richie said. "They're hurt. Disappointed. I tried to convey that they had a great season. It's disappointing it ended that way, but don't let things you can't control get you down. Besides that, when we focus on our last game, it couldn't have gone any better. If we played like that in the NorCal or state finals, we definitely would have had a shot."

Teams took their best shot at Sierra Canyon all season, Chevalier said. The Trailblazers had a giant "X" on their back from Day One.

Despite that target they finished 30-4, No. 15 in the final MaxPreps national rankings and won section and regional titles.

"It's always great to win your last game and the way we did was amazing," Chevalier said. "We would have loved to be able and play that last game to try to three-peat as state champion. But sometimes life takes priority over sport. We want our country and this world to be safe.

"All that said, going 30-4 this season, starting in China and going all over the U.S. with a big target on our back is a great testament to who we are as a team. I'm super proud of how they reacted to all they had to deal with, and then to play our best basketball at the end of the season was very special. It is a very special group."
Best girls high school basketball player in all 50 states - OFFICIAL
Best girls high school basketball player in all 50 states
The end of November historically means it's time to look toward the upcoming high school basketball season. Yet, plenty of questions surround the start of the high school basketball season as COVID-19 numbers spike across the country.

Still, a number of states have already forged ahead with their hardwood schedules while many more plan to tip-off shortly.

MaxPreps is gearing up for games amid the uncertain time in the country. We've already dropped our preseason MaxPrep Top 25 rankings, and earlier this week announced the top high school basketball team in all 50 states. Today, we take a look at the individuals who stand out in each state.

Top stars Azzi Fudd, Saniya Rivers, Jersey Wolfenbarger and Aaliyah Moore are among the headliners, with plenty of talent spread throughout the country.

Read on to see who took home the top spot in your state.
Jersey Wolfenbarger, Northside
File photo by Michael Woods
Jersey Wolfenbarger, Northside
Alabama
Sara Puckett, Sr., Muscle Shoals
A 6-foot-2 forward who's solid inside and out, Puckett is just as comfortable in transition as she is in the half-court. She'll take her all-around game to Tennessee next year.

Alaska
Sayvia Sellers, So., Anchorage Christian (Anchorage)
An athletic point guard who can score at the rim or from the perimeter, Sellers runs the show for Alaska's top team. Expect college coaches to figure out how to fly to Anchorage sooner rather than later.

Arkansas
Jersey Wolfenbarger, Sr., Northside (Fort Smith)
One of the top players in the country, a 6-5 guard who can distribute and score — and who will make Arkansas a lot better when she arrives next year.

Arizona
Jennah Isai, Jr., Valley Vista (Surprise)

A tough, physical 6-0 combo guard who can not only get her own shots, but makes everyone around her better. She's a big reason Valley Vista starts the season in the MaxPreps Top 25.

California
Juju Watkins, So., Windward (Los Angeles)

You'd think that a state as big as California would have some outstanding seniors — and it does — but the 6-0 sophomore is the complete package, and the Golden State's best heading into 2020-21.

Connecticut
Allie Palmieri, Sr., Greens Farms Academy (Greens Farms)

She averaged 24.2 points and 8 rebounds last year, which made it easy for Boston College to decide to sign the 5-9 guard.

Colorado
Lauren Betts, Jr., Grandview (Aurora)

At 6-7, it's not surprising that Betts is a rim protector, but she can get up and down the court as well. And in an age of 3-point specialists, she's a force on the block.

District of Columbia
Azzi Fudd, Sr., St. John's (Washington, D.C.)

Fudd can do it all at both ends of the floor, which is why she's everyone's preseason pick as Player of the Year, and the prize recruit for Geno Auriemma and UConn.

Delaware
India Johnston, Sr., Caravel (Bear)

The athletic, aggressive 5-8 point guard, a Towson State signee, is too much for the rest of the Diamond State to handle.

Florida
O' Mariah Gordon, Sr., Braden River (Bradenton)

Think Allen Iverson, but more willing to give the ball up, and you've got a mental picture of the 5-5 Florida State signee.

Georgia
Raven Johnson, Sr., Westlake (Atlanta)

If you like winning, you like Johnson, who will do whatever it takes — score, defend, pass — to get the W. Dawn Staley and South Carolina are excited to have her for next season.

Hawaii
Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu, Jr., 'Iolani (Honolulu)

Wahinekapu is another in a long line of tough, talented Hawaii guards who make it clear there's plenty of talent in the middle of the Pacific.

Idaho
Naya Ojukwu, Jr., Mountain View (Meridian)

Meridian went 29-4 last year, and Ojukwu, a 6-1 athletic power forward who controls the paint, was a big reason why.

Illinois
Greta Kampschroeder, Sr., Naperville North (Naperville)

A consummate scoring guard who can dish when needed, Kampschroeder will take her all-around game to Oregon State next year.

Indiana
Ayanna Patterson, Jr., Homestead (Fort Wayne)

Homestead was 29-2 last year, and the 6-2 Patterson — who adds a mid-range jumper to her heavy lifting around the basket — looks to keep the Spartans in Indiana's upper echelon again this season.
Ayanna Patterson, Homestead
File photo by Julie Brown
Ayanna Patterson, Homestead
Iowa
Grace Larkins, Sr., Southeast Polk (Pleasant Hill)

Larkins is a feisty, attacking guard who led Southeast Polk to a 19-5 record last season — and she'll play for South Dakota in 2021-22.

Kansas
Payton Verhulst, Sr., Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission)

She's smooth, skilled and versatile, and was a major contributor to Bishop Miege's 21-2 record last year. She'll play for Louisville next season.

Kentucky
Brooklyn Miles, Sr., Franklin County (Frankfort)

An athletic point guard who attacks the basket — even if she is only 5-6 — Miles will play for Tennessee in 2021-22.

Louisiana
Mikaylah Williams, So., Parkway (Bossier City)

Just a sophomore, scouts consider Williams college-ready right now. She averaged 20 points and nine rebounds a game as a freshman for a 24-win team, so clearly her name is one to remember.

Maine
Emily Archibald, Sr., Kennebunk

A 6-2 power forward, Archibald averaged 13.5 rebounds a game to go along 20.0 points and 3.5 assists, so it's not a surprise Providence snapped her up.

Massachusetts
Caroline Ducharme, Sr., Noble & Greenough (Dedham)

A 6-2 wing who can shoot is special, but Ducharme has an all-around game to go along with the sweet stroke. She'll play for UConn next season.

Maryland
Saylor Poffenbarger, Sr., Middletown

At 6-2, Poffenbarger is a guard, not a post, and she's a shooting guard at that. She's also a solid all-around player who will join a loaded UConn freshman class next year.

Michigan
Damiya Hagemann, Sr., Edison Academy (Detroit)

Edison has emerged as one of the top teams in the country the last few seasons, and it's no coincidence that the 5-8 Hegemann's arrival to play the point occurred at the same time. She'll play for Michigan State.

Minnesota
Adalia McKenzie, Sr., Park Center (Brooklyn Park)

McKenzie is proof there's more to Minnesota basketball than Hopkins, as the Illinois signee averaged 31 points and 11 rebounds a game for 24-5 Park Center.

Missouri
Bella Fontleroy, Jr., Kickapoo (Springfield)

A 6-1 wing, Fontleroy can get to the rim and finish in the mid-range, but is especially effective in transition.

Mississippi
Debreasha Powe, Jr., Meridian

Meridian went 29-2 last year, thanks in great part to Powe, a 6-0 wing who uses her athleticism to attack the basket.

Montana
Mya Hansen, Jr., Billings Central Catholic (Billings)

A polished lead guard who can shoot it, Hansen led Billings Central to a 21-2 record, and has already committed to the Lady Griz of Montana.

North Carolina
Saniya Rivers, Sr., Ashley (Wilmington)

Rivers' high school stats match her elite ranking — 25.0 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 6.3 steals per game — which is why Dawn Staley is ecstatic to have her signed with South Carolina.

North Dakota
Logan Nissley, So., Century (Bismarck)

Nissley does it all for Century, which went 21-4 last year. The 5-10 combo guard can pass, score and rebound, and has three more years to bedevil opposing teams in North Dakota.

Nebraska
Allison Weidner, Sr., St. Francis (Humphrey)

An explosive slasher who plays hard, Weidner is the engine that drives St. Francis (25-3 last year) — and the 5-9 guard will bring the same package to Nebraska next season.

New Hampshire
Isabella King, Sr., Bedford

King, a 5-8 guard, not only is a shooter, she's also a rebounder — and the combination of skills is one reason she's signed with Bucknell.

New Jersey
Olivia Miles, Sr. Blair Academy (Blairstown)

Many consider Miles the USA Basketball point guard of the future, as she shines at every level of competition (club, high school, USA Basketball). Notre Dame looks for that trend to continue in college basketball next year.

New Mexico
Viane Cumber, Sr. Sandia (Albuquerque)

Cumber averaged 22.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists for 21-5 Sandia last year, but her college destination is unclear after she decommitted from Texas Tech.

Nevada
Aaliyah Gayles, Jr., Spring Valley (Las Vegas)

Gayles is that unusual point guard who not only can score and dish, but also rebounds (6.4 a game last year for a good Spring Valley team). Given her size (5-8) and athleticism, look for more of the same this season.

New York
Sonia Citron, Sr., Ursuline (New Rochelle)

Citron doesn't dazzle, she just does everything really well — and at 6-1, she's not only a stalwart for USA Basketball youth teams, she's expected to step right in at Notre Dame next year.

Ohio
KK Bransford, Jr., Mount Notre Dame (Cincinnati)

At 5-10, Bransford doesn't profile as a power player, but that's exactly who she is. She uses her strength and physicality to get to the rim, and is pretty much unstoppable at the high school level.

Oklahoma
Aaliyah Moore, Sr., Moore

No, they didn't name the high school after her, but Aaliyah Moore has definitely made an impression with her size (6-2) and physical play around the rim. She'll go to Texas next year.

Oregon
Audrey Roden, Sr., West Linn

Roden does a lot of things well, and plays bigger than her 5-8 size would suggest, which adds rebounding to her ability to score (17.2 ppg), pass and defend. She's committed to Nevada.
Audrey Roden, West Linn
File photo by Mark Jones
Audrey Roden, West Linn
Pennsylvania
Aislin Malcolm, Jr., Chartiers Valley (Bridgeville)

Malcolm has the usual statistical profile for players on this list, but there's one fact that sets her apart: She has not lost a game in her high school career.

Rhode Island
Amaya Dowdy, Sr., St. Raphael Academy (Pawtucket)

Dowdy is a physical power forward who gets a lot done in the paint, but she's also versatile enough to make plays on the perimeter. She will play for UMass-Lowell next season.

South Carolina
Milaysia Fulwiley, So., Keenan (Columbia)

Fulwiley's dazzling numbers as a freshman — 26.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.3 apg, 6.1 spg — are impressive, and she passes the eye test with flying colors as well. She's one of the top recruits in the country in the Class of 2023.

South Dakota
Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda, Jr., Washington (Sioux Falls)

The game is as long as the name, as Mwenentanda uses her 6-1 size to attack the rim, and her athleticism to make an impact all over the floor.

Tennessee
Denae Fritz, Sr., Maryville

The 5-11 wing averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds a game last season, but her intensity and versatility add even more value. She'll play for Iowa State next season.

Texas
Rori Harmon, Sr., Cypress Creek (Houston)

Harmon can shoot (38 percent from 3-point distance), score (15.6 ppg), pass (5.2 apg) and at 5-8, rebound (5.6 rpg). She's committed to Texas.

Utah
Timea Gardiner, Jr., Fremont (Plain City)

At 6-2, Gardiner is a force inside, delivering 14.7 ppg and 6.7 rpg last year. But even more impressive for a post (or any other position) was her 87 percent from the free-throw line.

Vermont
Catherine Gilwee, Sr., Champlain Valley Union (Hinesburg)

A 5-6 point guard, Gilwee ran the show for unbeaten Champlain Valley Union last season, and added 3-point marksmanship as well. She'll play for Vermont next year.

Virginia
Aziaha James, Sr., Princess Anne (Virginia Beach)

James did it all for powerhouse Princess Anne last year — 18.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 4.7 spg — and North Carolina State will be looking for more of the same in 2021-22.

Washington
Talia Von Oelhoffen, Sr., Chiawana (Pasco)

Von Oelhoffen, who committed to Oregon State after averaging 26.2 ppg last year, has athleticism in her genes: Her father Kimo played in the NFL for 14 years.

West Virginia
Dionna Gray, Jr., Huntington

Gray transferred from St. Joseph Central, a nationally ranked team last year, and immediately upgraded the Huntington program. The 5-3 floor general is quick, active, athletic and has a high basketball IQ.

Wisconsin
Maty Wilke, Sr., Beaver Dam

The best player on the state's perennial powerhouse, Wilke has a smooth jumper but also is fine with seeking out contact. She's committed to Wisconsin.

Wyoming
Brenli Jenkins, Jr., Rock Springs

At 5-7, Jenkins is a point guard who can handle, shoot and get to the rim, which gives opponents few options. She's also a solid defender, which just adds to the package.
High school baseball: Every player with 20 or more home runs in a single season - OFFICIAL
High school baseball: Every player with 20 or more home runs in a single season
Jordon Adell of Ballard (Louisville, Ky.) hit 25 home runs in 2017 and earned the MaxPreps National Player of the Year honor. And while his total ranks 16th all-time in the history of high school baseball, it may have been the greatest home-run hitting season ever.

Akin to Babe Ruth's 54-home run season of 1920, Adell's home run total is a complete outlier from the seasons that occurred prior to and after his big season. In the four years prior to 2017, no high school player hit more than 20 home runs (two hit exactly 20). While two of the high school seasons since Adell graduated have been affected by COVID, no player in the nation has hit 20 or more home runs since.

Yet Adell is not close to being the national single season home run record holder. Perhaps the reason is that he was born at the wrong time and perhaps the wrong place.

MaxPreps has compiled a list of every high school hitter who has bashed at least 20 home runs in a season, starting with Tracy Holt of Asher (Okla.), who is believed to be the first 20-home run hitter in 1979. One trend that becomes immediately apparent is that 20-home run seasons have been a bit of a roller coaster over the past 40 years with highs around the year 2000 and the year 2010. And there's a good reason for that.

In 2001, the National Federation of High Schools passed a rule that ordered all bats used in high school play to mirror the new NCAA ball exit speed rule (BESR).
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
"We need to stay vigilant to ways in which technology is having an impact," said NFHS President Dick Durost in January 2000. "The new rule will make the physical dimensions of non-wood bats more closely mirror those of wood bats."

The new bat rule had an immediate affect on the total number of 20-home run hitters. After a total of 12 players hit 20 or more home runs in 1998, 13 in 1999 and 11 in 2000 (including national records of 30 by Wade Miller of Alabama in 2000 and Josh Gray in 1999), the totals plummeted to five in 2002, three in 2003 and two in 2004.

But then the home run totals started to rise again. This was due to the creation of composite bats. According to cheapbats.com in 2013, composite bats worked the opposite of aluminum bats. While aluminum bats provided plenty of offensive pop while new, they deadened after extensive use. Composite bats were the opposite and actually became "hotter" after more use.

Thus by 2010, an all-time high of 15 players had hit 20 or more homers and in 2011 there were 13. The NFHS then instituted another rule for the 2012 season, specifying that all bats needed to match the Ball Batted Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard rather than the BESR standard.

Again 20-home run hitters nosedived to the point that only four accomplished the feat in 2012 and only four have done it in the nine years since, topped by Adell's 25 in 2017, which now becomes much more impressive in hindsight. Home run totals at the NCAA level also mirrors this high school phenomenon with peaks in 2000 and 2010.

For some unexplained reason, playing in Oklahoma is also conducive to hitting lots of home runs. Of the 152 players who have hit 20 or more home runs in a single season, 46 (30 percent) are from the Sooner State. Alabama is second on the list with 15. Baseball powerhouse states Florida, California and Texas have 14 combined.

One reason that Oklahoma has so many on the list is that teams play a high number of games (as many as 50) in a season. However, so does Alabama, which has a third of the number of players on the list as Oklahoma.

Another reason might be that many of those players come from the smallest schools in the state and those players compete in the fall and the spring. Playing as many as 70-80 games in a school year allows those players to hone their skills through practice and repetition.

Additionally, those small schools regularly play much larger schools during the spring season. Case in point, Roff, one of the top small school teams in the state, has an enrollment of 90 and the town has a population of 700. Yet, Roff defeated Deer Creek (Edmond), enrollment 1,600. This year Red Oak, enrollment 81, defeated Union (Tulsa), enrollment 3,500, and Broken Arrow, 3,800. Tougher competition may sharpen the hitting skills of those small school players and better prepare them for the competition at their own level.

Whatever the reason, Oklahoma has a strong presence on MaxPreps single season home runs list. In fact, an Oklahoma player has held the national record 31 of the past 42 seasons.

Holt set the record in 1979, but Dave Clark of Shannon (Miss.) broke the record the following year with 23. Anthony Whitson of Unicoi County (Tenn.) upped the record to 24 in 1987 and Ricky Vanderburg of Bokchito (Okla.) raised it to 26 in 1989. Shon Walker of Harrison County (Ky.) put the record at 29 in 1992 and Chris Aguilla of McQueen (Reno, Nev.) tied the mark in 1997. Gray hit the current national record of 30 in the fall of 1999 and Miller tied the mark in the spring of 2000.

Gray, by the way, holds the record for most home runs in a calendar school year, hitting 26 in the spring of 1999 and 30 in the fall of 1999 for a total of 56 in the two seasons combined.

Notable professional players on the list include Bo Jackson of McAdory (Ala.) with 20 in 1980, Joey Gallo of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) with 25 in 2011, Mike Moustakas of Chatsworth (Calif.) with 24 in 2007 and Preston Wilson of Bamberg-Ehrhardt (S.C.) with 22 in 1992.

Sources for the list include the NFHS record book, state association record books, coaches association record books, Georgia Dugout Preview, Cal-Hi Sports Record Book by Mark and Nelson Tennis, MaxPreps leaderboards, and various newspapers accessed through newspapers.com.

Corrections or additions? E-mail Kevin Askeland at [email protected]
Jordon Adell, Ballard
File photo by Alyson Boyer Rode
Jordon Adell, Ballard
Single-season home run leaders

30 — Wade Miller, Long (Skipperville, Ala.), 2000
30 — Josh Gray, Rock Creek (Bokchito, Okla.), 1999
29 — Shon Walker, Harrison County (Cynthiana, Ky.), 1992
29 — Chris Aguilla, McQueen (Reno, Nev.), 1997
28 — James Peterson, Winterset (Iowa), 2000
28 — Jacob Realmuto, Carl Albert (Midwest City, Okla.), 2010
28 — Taylor Hawkins, Carl Albert (Midwest City, Okla.), 2012
27 — Brad Nelson, Bishop Garrigan (Algona, Iowa), 1999
27 — Trey Wingo, Rock Creek (Bokchito, Okla.), 2005
27 — Ethan Bennett, Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.), 2010

27 — Kevin Cron, Mountain Pointe (Phoenix), 2011
26 — Ricky Vanderburg, Bokchito (Okla.), 1989
26 — Brendan McCurry, Roff (Roff, Okla.), 2010
26 — Christian Stewart, Providence Christian Academy (Lilburn, Ga.), 2012
26 — Hommy Rosado, Barbe (Lake Charles, La.), 2010
25 — Clayton Sander, Camanche (Iowa), 1988
25 — Will Hunt, Asher (Okla.), 1989
25 — Joe Little, Butner (Cromwell, Okla.), 1996
25 — Jason Stokes, Coppell (Texas), 2000
25 — Josh Peaslee, Carney (Okla.), 2000

25 — Micah Owings, Gainesville (Ga.), 2002
25 — Rich Witten, Danville (Ky.), 2006
25 — Brodie Pullen, Calhoun (Ga.), 2007
25 — Jose Trevino, John Paul II (Corpus Christi, Texas), 2011
25 — Joey Gallo, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 2011
25 — Jordon Adell, Ballard (Louisville, Ky.), 2017
24 — Anthony Whitson, Unicoi County (Erwin, Tenn.) 1987
24 — Kyle Wingfield, Rock Creek (Bokchito, Okla.), 1998
24 — Josh Gray, Rock Creek (Bokchito, Okla.), 2000
24 — Dearth Parker, Roff (Okla.), 2005

24 — Colby Rasmus, Russell County (Seale, Ala.), 2005
24 — Mike Moustakas, Chatsworth (Calif.), 2007
24 — BJ Hermsen, West Delaware (Manchester, Iowa), 2008
24 — Zach Fish, Gull Lake (Richland, Mich.), 2011
24 — Clint Frazier, Loganville (Ga.), 2012
23 — Dave Clark, Shannon (Miss.), 1980
23 — Paul Morse, Danville (Ky.), 1992
23 — Joe Crede, Fatima (Westphalia, Mo.), 1996
23 — Drew Henson, Brighton (Mich.), 1997
23 — Jim Willison, Morley Stanwood (Morley, Mich.), 1998

23 — Kyle Wingfield, Rock Creek (Bokchito, Okla.), 1998
23 — Scott Riley, Pittsfield (Ill.), 1999
23 — K.W. Sexton, East Carter (Grayson, Ky.), 1999
23 — Cody Ehlers, Stillwater (Okla.), 2000
23 — Brian Barnett, McQueen (Reno, Nev.), 2007
23 — Kevin O'Leary, Wesleyan (Norcross, Ga.), 2010
22 — Marvin Moore, Roff (Okla.), 1984
22 — Patrick Ollis, Unicoi County (Erwin, Tenn.), 1986
22 — Mike McQuain, Depew (Okla.), 1986
22 — Mike Miller, Centerville (Iowa), 1988

22 — Preston Wilson, Bamberg-Ehrhardt (Bamberg, S.C.), 1992
22 — Jesse Eyre, Climax-Scotts (Climax, Mich.), 1998
22 — Drew Henson, Brighton (Mich.), 1998
22 — Corey Patterson, Harrison (Kennesaw, Ga.), 1998
22 — Jeremy Reed, Lookout Valley (Chattanooga, Tenn.), 1998
22 — Matt Ames, Stanhope Elmore (Millbrook, Ala.), 1999
22 — Alex Cadena, Alexander (Laredo, Texas), 1999
22 — Kyle Moyer, Mohawk (Sycamore, Ohio), 1999
22 — Matt Cooper, Ripley (Okla.), 2000
22 — Kevin Bookout, Stroud (Okla.), 2001

22 — Brandon Lowe, Vidalia (Ga.), 2003
22 — Jarrett Warren, Henry County (McDonough, Ga.), 2003
22 — Mitchell Trimmer, Roff (Okla.), 2004
22 — Del Howell, Tuscaloosa County (Northport, Ala.), 2006
22 — Adam Coe, Russell County (Seale, Ala.), 2006
22 — Jordan Swagerty, Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas), 2007
22 — Henry Castaigne, Lakehill Prep (Dallas), 2007
22 — Kris Bryant, Bonanza (Las Vegas), 2010
22 — Aaron Cornell, Roff (Okla.), 2010
22 — Kevin Cron, Mountain Pointe (Phoenix), 2010

22 — Ben Moore, Cullman (Cullman, Ala.), 2011
22 — Matthew Goodson, Oxford (Ala.), 2011
22 — Javier Baez, Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.), 2011
22 — Ben Moore, Cullman (Ala.), 2011
22 — Kyle Carter, Columbus (Ga.), 2011
21 — David King, Asher (Okla.), 1983
21 — Brad Wilson, Towns County (Hiawassee, Ga.), 1988
21 — David Laffoon, Odin (Ill.), 1990
21 — Josh Gregson, Dale (Okla.), 1992
21 — Dion Newby, Harrison County (Cynthiana, Ky.), 1992

21 — Brad Allison, Harrison County (Cynthiana, Ky.), 1992
21 — Mike Wilson, Central (Marlow, Okla.), 1994
21 — Mike Wilson, Central (Marlow, Okla.), 1996
21 — Robby Williams, Doss (Louisville, Ky.), 1997
21 — Tommy Pearce, Marion (Ind.), 1998
21 — Corey Hart, Greenwood (Bowling Green, Ky.), 1999
21 — Billy Austin, Salina (Okla.), 1999
21 — Jeff Clement, Marshalltown (Iowa), 1999
21 — Justin Bowen, Rock Creek (Bokchito, Okla.), 2000
21 — Jeff Clement, Marshalltown (Iowa), 2000

21 — Joe Hooft, Galena (Reno, Nev.), 2001
21 — Justin Colbert, Allen (Okla.), 2001
21 — Bobby Glover, Caney (Okla.), 2001
21 — Chris Walston, El Capitan (Lakeside, Calif.), 2002
21 — Steven Lerud, Galena (Reno, Nev.), 2003
21 — Will Gaff, Streator (Ill.), 2005
21 — Brendan McCurry, Tupelo (Okla.), 2008
21 — Matt Hobgood, Norco (Calif.), 2009
21 — Randal Grichuk, Lamar Consolidated (Rosenberg, Texas), 2009
21 — Lance Jarreld, Goodpasture Christian (Madison, Tenn.), 2010

21 — Casey Kicklighter, Wayne County (Jesup, Ga.), 2010
21 — Aaron Chalk, Caney (Okla.), 2010
21 — Ajay Snow, Leroy (Ala.), 2011
21 — Joey Curletta, Mountain Pointe (Phoenix), 2011
21 — Joey Gallo, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), 2012
20 — Tracy Holt, Asher (Okla.), 1979
20 — Bo Jackson, McAdory (McCalla, Ala.), 1982
20 — Will Edwards, Unicoi County (Erwin, Tenn.), 1985
20 — Butch Harris, Broken Bow (Okla.), 1986
20 — Clifton McKenzie, Depew (Okla.), 1986

20 — Paul Brannon, Kings Mountain (N.C.), 1989
20 — Rod Walker, Morristown-Hamblen West (Morristown, Tenn.), 1989
20 — Heath Graham, Stringer (Miss.), 1993
20 — Russ Gload, East Hampton (N.Y.), 1994
20 — Ben Fjelland, North Polk (Alleman, Iowa), 1996
20 — Andy Baxter, Unicoi County (Erwin, Tenn.), 1997
20 — Jonathan Johnson, Unicoi County (Erwin, Tenn.), 1998
20 — Chris Martinez, Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.), 1998
20 — Kevin Bills, Reno (Nev.), 1998
20 — Brant Huff, Oktaha (Okla.), 1998
20 — Travis Loudermilk, Coalgate (Okla.), 1998

20 — Allen Clay, Rattan (Okla.), 1998
20 — Albert Concepcion, El Segundo (Calif.), 1999
20 — Russ Reyes, Assumption (Davenport, Iowa), 1999
20 — Justin Bowen, Rock Creek (Bokchito, Okla.), 1999
20 — Kyle Wingfield, Rock Creek (Bokchito, Okla.), 1999
20 — Jim Duffy, Airport (Carleton, Mich.), 2000
20 — Kyle Wingfield, Rock Creek (Bokchito, Okla.), 2000
20 — Jake Goodwin, Parkers Chapel (El Dorado, Ark.), 2001
20 — Timmy Sullivan, Leedey (Okla.), 2002
20 — Chance Douglass, Randall (Amarillo, Texas), 2002

20 — Reece Creswell, Perryton (Texas), 2004
20 — Ryan Pease, Hydro-Eakly (Hydro, Okla.), 2005
20 — Jake Smith, Hueytown (Hueytown, Ala.), 2005
20 — Jake Smith, Hueytown (Ala.), 2006
20 — Kyle Burke, Ooltewah (Tenn.), 2006
20 — David Kindred, American Christian Academy (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), 2006
20 — Derek Trent, Dobyns-Bennett (Kingsport, Tenn.), 2007
20 — Nathan Ramier, Western Dubuque (Epworth, Iowa), 2007
20 — Luke Bole, Hartselle (Ala.), 2009
20 — Brendan McCurry, Roff (Okla.), 2009

20 — Trevor Begley, Tushka (Atoka, Okla.), 2009
20 — Blake Logan, Roff (Okla.), 2009
20 — Dayne Parker, Roff (Okla.), 2010
20 — Kyle Gibson, Henderson County (Henderson, Ky.), 2010
20 — Matt Beaty, Dresden (Tenn.), 2010
20 — Hunter Renfroe, Copiah Academy (Gallman, Miss.), 2010
20 — Brad Warren, Donelson Christian Academy (Nashville, Tenn.), 2010
20 — Nick Masonia, Brooks (Killen, Ala.), 2011
20 — Evan Anderson, Dale (Okla.), 2011
20 — Gavin Lavalley, Carl Albert (Midwest City, Okla.), 2013

20 — Jacob Harrison, Grace Christian (Alexandria, La.), 2014
20 — Cody Muncy, Red Oak (Okla.), 2017

William Benjamin named 2020-21 OFFICIAL New Mexico High School Basketball Player of the Year - OFFICIAL
William Benjamin named 2020-21 MaxPreps New Mexico High School Basketball Player of the Year
Each year since 2006, MaxPreps has recognized outstanding performers in high school basketball. America's source for high school sports continues the tradition to close out the 2020-21 season by naming the top player in each state. Selections are based on team success and individual excellence, in addition to local and state accolades.

William "Deuce" Benjamin of Las Cruces (Las Cruces) is the 2020-21 MaxPreps New Mexico High School Basketball Player of the Year. The 6-foot-1 junior guard helped the Bulldawgs go 14-1 en route to the Class 5A state championship game.

Benjamin averaged 27.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 87 percent from the free throw line.

Despite falling just shy of capturing their second consecutive state championship, Benjamin recorded 21 points, five rebounds and five assists in his team's state championship game loss.

"Deuce" is the son of Las Cruces head coach William Benjamin, who is 277-90 during his 12-year tenure with the program.
California high school football: OFFICIAL Top 25 Southern Section preseason rankings - OFFICIAL
California high school football: MaxPreps Top 25 Southern Section preseason rankings
It's undeniable. Everyone around California knows the big dog on the farm is the Southern Section, especially when it comes to high school football.

With 581 schools, the Southern Section is more than three times the size of the next largest of the 10 sections, the Sac-Joaquin Section with 174. Only eight states boast more schools.

But well beyond numbers, the Southern Section demonstrates yearly its quality in athletics, including football. Especially at the top. St. John Bosco is the defending MaxPreps National Champion with Mater Dei ranking No. 2 in 2019.

Those two programs have hovered around the nation's top for the past half-decade and have separated from the talent-rich Southern California pack. The two schools seem to produce approximately 10 FBS prospects per class.

Lately, it's been a case of which school is No. 3 in the section. For more than a decade, public school power Centennial (Corona) has battled for one of the top three spots, however in an abbreviated 2021, a new team has emerged as the No. 3 contender.

With so many athletes opting out of the two-month, five-to-six game season, picking a Top 25 is clearly unclear. No playoffs in section, regionals or state will be played. But here's our best shot.
DJ Harvey, Sierra Canyon
File photo by Larry Gasinski
DJ Harvey, Sierra Canyon
MaxPreps Top 25 Southern Section football rankings

1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 12-1 (2019 record)
Ranked No. 1 or 2 nationally the last three seasons, these Monarchs would have very likely made it season No. 4. And with all the highly ranked sophomore and juniors, 2021 and 2022 look more than promising as well. Ten Monarchs made Zack Poff's preseason All-State squad, including the top-rated running back, junior Raleek Brown, and linebacker, Raesjon Davis.

2. St. John Bosco (Bellflower), 13-1
There's no more DJ Uiagalelei, but his 6-5, 263-pound sophomore brother Matayo Uiagalelei is even bigger and plays tight end. The defending national champs and Mater Dei could be 1A and 1B every season it seems. Preposterous collection of FBS talent, including the state's top-ranked offensive (Earnest Greene) and defensive (Nathan Burrell) linemen.

3. Servite (Anaheim), 7-4

When you have the top ranked quarterback (Noah Fifita), wide receiver (Tetairoa McMillan) and tight end (Keyan Burnett) in the state, chances are you'll have a strong squad.

It's difficult for public schools to keep up with the privates, especially during a pandemic, but Centennial has with big rosters and one of the best coaches in the state, Matt Logan. They'll be without the nation's No. 1 recruit Korey Foreman, who opted out, but the Huskies should continue their 55-game win streak in league.

The Trailblazers have loads of talent, led by Virginia Tech-bound DJ Harvey, a superior all-around athlete, and four-star safety Kamari Ramsey.

The Diablos will be without Peter Costelli under center after he opted out of the spring season, but they return a lot of talent led by California-bound receiver Mavin Anderson and Oregon State-bound linebacker Easton Mascarenas.

Texas-bound quarterback Maalik Murphy takes over as the full time starter for Serra and the five-star recruit checks in as the fourth-rated pro style quarterback in the Class of 2022.

Defense is the strong point of these Warriors, with linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka, cornerback Ephesians Prysock and safety RJ Jones, all 4-star recruits.

USC-bound cornerback Ceyair Wright is one of the top at his position in the country. The Cubs have much more than Wright.

Back-to-back seasons of 9-2 and coach Steve Hagerty definitely feels like team is moving in the right direction.

11. San Clemente, 0-12
The Tritons went 10-2 on the field and reached the Division 2 semifinals, but had to forfeit all 10 wins for using an ineligible player. Leading rusher James Bohls (6-3, 210) and tackler Cole Batson (6-4, 190) return from last season.

12. Grace Brethren (Simi Valley), 12-2
Mikey Zele (1,998 yards passing, 18 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 531 yards rushing) is back at quarterback but will be without top rusher Julien Stokes (1,365 yards, 18 touchdowns) who opted out of the spring season and recently committed to Penn.
 

Semaj Freeman and Derek Boyd  combined to runs for almost 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns and should be workhorses in 2021. Leading receiver Kaylin Moore (35 catches, 408 yards) also is back. The state's top-rated punter Brenden Segovia was selected to the 2021 All-American Bowl.

Junior quarterback Shea Kuykendall appears ready to take over the reigns. A pair of talented receivers in Keyonta Lanier and Kyren Racheal should be at the other end of those passes.

15. Los Alamitos, 4-7
With the state's third rated quarterback, sophomore Malachi Nelson, running the show, the program is in good shape. Another sophomore, Makai Lemon, is ranked the eighth-best sophomore in the state overall after hauling in 800 yards of passes and adding four interceptions as a freshman.

Former Narbonne (Harbor City) head coach Manuel Douglas starts first season and with Arizona State-bound Larry Turner-Gooden as a centerpiece, he's in good shape. Defensive lineman and UNLV signeee Nick Dimitris (6-4, 245) also transferred in.

A very young and promising squad brings back junior quarterback Logan Gonzalez. Another junior Malik Blackmon was the team's top receiver. Senior Ashton Logan is one of the best punters in the nation. He has scholarship to Colorado. 

California-bound defensive end Derek Wilkins will lead the way for a very talented defense.

One of the nation's top offensive lineman Mason Murphy (USC signee) anchors the team and sophomore quarterback Jaxon Potter is a name to keep tabs on from the Class of 2023.

With home grown kids, CDM brings in a new crop of kids who largely backed up a stellar senior group. Some of the key returners, however, are running back Jason Vicencio and top defenders Michael Wein and Kevin Ledezma.

21. Oxnard, 10-2
Quarterback Jaden Jones builds off a tremendous junior season when he threw for almost 2,000 yards, 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also rushed for six touchdowns.  The team's two two tacklers Anthony Lopez (110) and Tytus Hutchison (91) also return.

Coach Dean Herrington hopes to get back to 2016 and 2017 when the Spirits won a combined 25 games and won a state crown in 2016.

Quarterback Brandon Rose completed almost 70 percent of his passes for 3,087 yards and 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions last season as a sophomore. DJ Watts had 656 yards rushing and seven scores last year as well and Kaden Damico led the team in tackles with 102. Sophomore wide receiver Tiger Bachmeier has already landed offers from Arizona State, Boise State and Pittsburgh.

Hudson Jones had a monster junior season with 207 completions in 291 attempts for 2,599 yards and 33 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Few other skill players return but receiver Cole Monach showed lots of promise in 2019. Billy Hester (84) is the most active returning tackler.

Starting quarterback Zachary Siskowic transferred to Crespi, but back is leading receiver Mason Cotton.

MaxPreps national football editor Zack Poff contributed to this report.
Brandon Rose, Murrieta Valley
File photo by Louis Lopez
Brandon Rose, Murrieta Valley