Modesto, CA – This past Saturday, August 12th, Simply Basketball hosted their 3rd Annual Battle of NorCal Showcase/All-Star Event at Modesto Christian High School. This event featured four teams representing four regions in Northern and Central California, using the following team names: The Bay (various cities in the San Francisco Bay area), Team 916 (Sacramento area), Team 209 (Stockton to Modesto), and Team Central (Fresno to Bakersfield and the Central Coast). This showcase has become one of the staple end of Summer events in California and once again was loaded with the top talent from all four regions represented on the four teams.
The format for the event is as follows: two semifinal games, a consolation game between losers of the semifinals, a championship game between the winners of the semifinal games, a 3-point contest, and a dunk contest. Semifinal Game #1 was between The Bay and Team 916, which saw The Bay and rising sophomore TT Carr take over in the 2nd half for a 110 to 90 win to advance to the championship game. Team Central took on 2-time defending champs in Team 209 in Semifinal Game #2, as Team Central would get its first-ever win at this event behind the lights-out shooting of rising senior Connor Amundsen and top 25 national prospect Tounde Yessoufou. The Bay edged out the win in the Title Game over Team Central, 100 to 97, behind a late charge from rising senior Mikey Lewis’ three straight 3’s down the stretch. Yessoufou was sensational in the loss going for 33 points, which was the top-scoring output of the day. Despite not winning its 3rd straight Battle of NorCal Title, Team 209 hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to defeat Team 916 in the Consolation Game, by a score of 83 to 82.
This article takes a look at my Top 10 Performers from the event. The top 10 are in ranked order and I included at least 2 players from each team based on their performance at the event. I also included five Other Notable Players that performed well but they are not listed in any particular order. I provide a brief summary of how each player performed at the Battle of NorCal event with some minimal notes on the players’ skill sets. I begin with the Championship Game MVP, Mikey Lewis.
661 Hoops Top 10 Performers
2024 6’3 Mikey Lewis (Prolific Prep/Napa CA)
Lewis was on The Bay team for the Battle of NorCal event, and had a quiet 10 points in the team’s semifinal blowout win over Team 916 (Sacramento area), as 7 players would score in double digits. Lewis got it going in the Championship Game against Team Central, as he would score 13 of his team-high 25 points the last 8 minutes of the game and connected on 3 threes in that scoring burst. Lewis’ clutch buckets down the stretch of the game gave The Bay team a lead it would grasp to, as it pulled out the 100-97 win. Lewis was named Most Valuable Player of the Championship Game and will be a key piece for the loaded roster at Prolific Prep, which has 6 players ranked in the top 100 nationally.
2025 6’6 Tounde Yessoufou (St. Joseph/Santa Maria CA)
Yessoufou was the most dominant player and highest-ranked national prospect at the 3rd Annual Battle of NorCal. Yessoufou did not disappoint and came out enforcing his will early and often, as Team Central would get its first win in the history of the event over the defending champs Team 209, 93-81. Yessoufou would put down an impressive stat line of 22 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Yessoufou took it up another level in the Championship Game, and despite a tough 100-97 loss, he single-handedly tried to will Team Central past The Bay with 33 points and 12 rebounds. Yessoufou has participated in some of the top national player events the past 3 months (Pangos All-American Camp, NBPA Top 100, Nike Elite 100 Camp, etc.). Yessoufou will lead the charge for the state runner-up St. Joseph Knights and will look to put up huge numbers again this season.
2024 5’11 Connor Amundsen (Clovis North/Fresno CA)
Amundsen participated in his 3rd Battle of NorCal event and had yet to get a win at one of the top end of Summer showcases in California. Amundsen had a slow start scoring the ball but Team Central had the lead at half by a score of 49-40. Team 209 got going early in the 2nd half and closed the gap before Amundsen single-handedly took over the game, as he would score 24 of his game-high 28 points after intermission and connected on 6 threes to help Team Central earn its first win by a score of 93-81. Amundsen had a solid showing in the Championship Game going for 16 points and 6 assists, but Team Central came up short to The Bay squad by a score of 100-97. Amundsen will lead the charge for the Broncos this season and has various Division 1 programs interested if not offered already.
2024 6’8 Zion Sensley (Archbishop Riordan/San Francisco CA)
Sensley was up to his usual antics of high-flying dunks and knocking down the long ball, as he was participating in his 2nd Battle of NorCal event in a row. Sensley was one of the seven players for The Bay to score in double digits in their semifinal win over Team 916, as he would score 13 points to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Sensley looked to repeat as the dunk contest champion but was runner-up. He took that momentum into the Championship Game against Team Central and put up 19 points in The Bay’s first title at this event. Sensley hit the go-ahead corner 3-ball off the pass from the red-hot Mikey Lewis to keep the separation needed to pull out the win. Sensley is returning to Riordan, where he spent his freshman season and looks to be the team to beat in the Northern Section.
2025 6’2 Semetri “TT” Carr (Branson/Ross CA)
Carr had his dynamic handles and elite playmaking on display in the early going, as The Bay took a 7-point lead into half over Team 916. Carr came out and went to work on both ends of the court, knocking down 3 threes in a row and scoring 13 of his 15 points after intermission to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Carr chipped in 8 points in the Championship Game and is coming off a stellar Summer of play with the Oakland Soldiers 16u EYBL, as well as during the month of June. Carr keeps the ball on a string, has the court vision to make plays, the moves to shake his defender, and is a capable 3-level scorer that can score off the dribble or the catch-and-shoot. He, along with rising senior Jase Butler, will be the focal point for a tough Branson squad in NorCal.
2025 6’5 Anthony Moore (Lincoln/Stockton CA)
Moore was participating in his 2nd Battle of NorCal event and his game has made some solid strides over the past year. Moore got it going early in Team 209’s semifinal game against Team Central, as he would score 14 of his team-high 18 points. Moore showed range with the 3-ball, handles and moves to create off the dribble, and has a nice mid-range shot with accuracy. Moore played well in the Consolation Game, but I did not keep stats for that game. Moore will be the key piece for Lincoln this upcoming season, along with a solid group around him.
2025 6’8 Mark Lavrenov (Rocklin/CA)
Lavrenov was a force in the post at the Battle of NorCal, as he controlled the glass and showed his nice touch on shots within 15 feet. Lavrenov had a strong showing in Team 916’s semifinal game with a team-high 17 points and 8 rebounds in the loss to The Bay. Lavrenov has nice touch on his perimeter shot, can space the floor with the 3-ball, and has enough handle to create off the dribble and attack downhill with the strength to finish through contact at the basket.
2024 6’5 Brandon Gibson Jr. (Monterey Trails/Elk Grove CA)
Gibson always fills up the stat sheet and his play was no different at the Battle of NorCal event. Gibson was one of a few bright spots for Team 916 in its opening game, as he would score 14 points and pull down 8 boards in the team’s loss to The Bay. Gibson played well in the Consolation Game but I did not keep stats for that game. He will be a key piece for the Mustangs who look to make some noise in NorCal, as it returns nearly all of its roster from last year outside Varick Lewis.
2024 6’ Mateen Rafiq (Weston Ranch/Stockton CA)
Rafiq was letting the 3-ball fly at the Battle of NorCal showcase. Rafiq scored 15 points for Team 209 and was key in keeping his squad close in the semifinal game against Team Central. Rafiq had an impressive showing in the 3-point contest as well and connected on 3 threes in the semifinal loss. Rafiq moves well off the ball, can create his own shots off the bounce, and has range on the 3-ball. He will be a key veteran for the Cougars this upcoming season.
2026 6’9 Abdoul Bare (St. Joseph/Santa Maria CA)
Bare was one of the better surprises of the Battle of NorCal event, as he was all over the glass and showed he is making progress as a finisher around the basket and rim protector. Bare had 8 points and 11 rebounds in Team Central’s semifinal win over Team 209, and followed that up with another 8 points and 8 rebounds in the Championship Game loss to The Bay. Bare has nice touch around the cup, controls the glass on both ends, uses his wingspan and height to protect the rim with the ability to step out and alter perimeter shots, and is just scratching the surface. Bare will be a key piece for the Knights, who will have a young roster this year but with lots of talent.
Other Notable Players:
2024 6’6 Zion Wilburn (Veritas Prep/Santa Fe CA)
Wilburn had a solid showing for The Bay in its semifinal win over Team 916, as he would score 16 points and showed nice touch from the mid-range. Wilburn controls the glass, has the handle to push the pace of play, and can stretch the floor with the 3-ball.
2025 6’9 Steven Emeneke (Archbishop Riordan/San Francisco CA)
Emeneke feasted on the boards, has nice touch around the basket, has nice timing to protect the rim, and solid footwork in the post. Emeneke had 11 points and 8 rebounds in The Bay’s semifinal win and showed he can spread the defense with the 3-ball.
2026 6’1 Ja’Vance Coleman Jr. (Bullard/Fresno CA)
Coleman had an impressive showing in Team Central’s opening game win over Team 209, as he would score 12 points and showed range with the 3-ball and the court vision to find open teammates when on the attack.
2024 6’4 Mario Williams (Venture Academy/Stockton CA)
Williams was big for Team 209 in its opening game loss to Team Central, as he would score 15 points and connected on 3 threes in the first half. Impact guy that can knock down perimeter shots off the dribble or the catch and shoot, as well as a good rebounder that can push the ball up the court.
2024 6’5 Quinton Thompson (Lincoln/Stockton CA)
Thompson had 11 points and 6 rebounds in Team 209’s semifinal game against Team Central. Thompson does a solid job on the glass, can play on the perimeter or in the post, has a nice mid-range jumper, and makes good reads from the high post.