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Shasta County Sports Boys Basketball Player of the Week: Tanner Stephens | U-Prep

U-Prep senior Tanner Stephens dribbles around a Pleasant Valley defender last week in the 58-51 Panthers victory. Stephens is the Shasta County Sports Player of the Week for Week 1. (T.J. Holmes/Shasta County Sports)

U-Prep’s basketball program wouldn’t be considered the top Shasta County squad if it didn’t have an experienced lineup.

But sometimes you need a ring master that orchestrates the offense, sets the tone on defense and is the unspoken, no-doubt leader that elevates everyone’s game.

Tanner Stephens is that guy for the Panthers and the preseason No. 3 returner in the SCS Player Rankings scored in double figures in both U-Prep victories last week to earn Shasta County Sports Player of the Week honors.

In Wednesday’s opener against a powerhouse in Pleasant Valley, a three-time Northern Section champion in the past four years, Stephens scored 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting, grabbed six rebounds and dished two assists in the 58-51 win. It was a statement game for the Panthers and Stephens’ poise and experience contributed to the victory.

“They were keying on him and didn’t want him to score and he didn’t force many shots and took advantage of the limited number of scoring opportunities he had,” said his father and coach Mark Stephens.

Stephens paced the Panthers on the following night’s win 74-45 win over Anderson with 19 points, two rebounds and two steals.

U-Prep is back in action at home Thursday against West Valley at 7:30 p.m.

T.J. is a national-award winning journalist passionate about local news and telling the story no one else knows about. He’s roamed sidelines, baselines and bleachers in the North State since 2010 and is a content producer from sunup to sundown. Sports are a hobby he shares with his wife Tracy where they’ve spent many dates around a field or court of some sort.

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