BROOKE SILVA, Los Banos basketball
Silva has never been so popular. The three-year varsity starter draws attention the moment she steps on the court.
"This is by far Brooke's most productive season," said coach Michael Perkins, noting Silva was all-Central California Conference the last two years. "What is different this year is the amount of attention she is receiving from other defenses."
The 5-foot-11-inch center averaged 28.5 points — shooting 24 of 41 from the floor — and 11.5 rebounds in a 47-46 loss to Pitman and a 54-52 upset of Golden Valley.
"Her 34-point game against Golden Valley is her career high," said Perkins, noting she scored 34 in this week's win over Atwater. "Brooke is working harder in the post and other players are seeing that, and their effort has improved as well. (They) are playing with more confidence."
BRENDEN EVANS, Sonora basketball
Evans has been a model of consistency during his three varsity seasons with the Wildcats, but he took his game to a higher level against Valley Oak League rival Manteca.
Facing The Bee's then-No. 1 large-school team, the 6-foot-5-inch, 210-pounder dominated with 12 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and three steals in a 60-50 shocker. He had 10 points and nine rebounds in three quarters in a 45-26 win over East Union.
"He has put in a great deal of time on his game and in the weight room," said coach Rick Francis, noting Evans has become a better passer and shooter. "When he plays the low post he gets double-teamed a lot, so his assists have improved. Brenden has become more of a complete player."
Evans is shooting 52 percent from the floor, and is averaging 9.8 rebounds and two steals a game.
JEANETTE LOPEZ, Delhi basketball
An adequate point guard as a junior, Lopez spent her offseason working on shooting and ballhandling. The theory was that by driving to the hoop, she'd become a bigger scoring threat and draw fouls. It seems to be working.
The 5-foot-5-inch senior averaged 16.5 points, six rebounds and three steals as the Hawks beat Denair (41-38) and Waterford (47-35). She scored more than half her points from the free-throw line, hitting 17 of 29 shots.
"She has become a more complete player this year," coach Joy Pressly said. "She is able to penetrate and be more aggressive going to the basket. This is why she shot more free throws, she was able to penetrate and draw the fouls."
Lopez had to sit out part of the early season with a knee injury, but she is averaging 14 points and three steals per game over the last month.
ERICK GOMEZ, Waterford wrestling
Gomez's season was cut short a year ago, when a shoulder injury forced him to skip the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament. He hopes to make that trip this season.
Gomez has been on that path since the season opened and he took another step last week by winning the 160-pound title at the Rumble in the Jungle in Turlock. He had a second-round pin of Sonora's Matt Skinner in the final.
Gomez lost in a dual meet earlier in the week, providing motivation for the Rumble.
"My last loss was very hard to take because we also lost the dual meet," Gomez said. "Coach (Cesar Ruvalcaba) says, 'You should hate to lose more than you love to win.'
"That motivated me to train harder. I don't want to have that feeling again. My goal is to go to state, and hopefully place in the top eight."