Some award winners have been injured, others have tanked, and many have suffered a loss immediately after hearing they were named the ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports State Athlete of the Week, but not Sophie Bhasin of San Bernardino Cajon.
On Tuesday night after getting word of her honor that morning, the Long Island University-bound senior had a cliché-like “can you top this” performance. Her team certainly needed it in a 78-60 win over Rialto Carter.
Bhasin posted a triple-double, with a career-high 45 points to go with 12 rebounds and 10 assists in what was a four-point game midway through the fourth quarter until Sophie completely took over.
That feat followed a week in which she actually earned the award with back-to-back triple-doubles.
First, the Indian-born American with dual citizenship had 24 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in a blowout win over Colton. Two days later, Bhasin had 33 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a 71-31 win against visiting crosstown Arroyo Valley.
With Tuesday’s outing, Sophie now has seven triple-double games, five double-doubles and two quadruple-doubles this season. She has per game averages of 23.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 4.8 steals.
Bhasin’s current 1,492 career points and 407 assists as a four-year varsity starter are far below the 2,875 points and 944 assists of the school’s all-time leader, Layshia Clarendon, but that isn’t stopping Sophie from wanting to follow in her former teammate and the current Cal guard’s footsteps.
“When I heard I won I thought, now I want to follow Layshia and win the award she won. That’s what I would love to achieve, to be state player of the year. I know I have to work harder for that.”
Clarendon was the 2009 Ms. Basketball State Player of the Year at Cajon.
“The team has a goal to win CIF (Southern Section Div. 1AA) and we can do it. We just have to work hard.”
Teammates and leadership role
“As a captain, I’m pumping people up. I need to be there for them in every facet of the game.”
“As a team, we’re really close on and off the court. I want to thank the whole team for my success. Without them I wouldn’t have reached what I’ve achieved.”
“Deja (junior guard Dejaunee Brooks), Chase (sophomore guard Chase Nacsin), Janel (senior guard Janel Von Oesen) and Angie (senior forward Angelica Guardado). I call her my sister. We’re waiting for her to come back. We need Angie out there.
Before going down with a knee injury, Guardado was averaging 21.5 points and 17 rebounds per game.
My best assets are…
“My pull-up jumper, posting up, my three-point shot, my driving.”
College choice and career possibilities
Not many California girls choose the Big Apple as a place for college, but the 3.0 GPA student-athlete will be heading to Brooklyn come fall.
“I always want to try something different and New York stood out for me. Plus the team is great,” said Bhasin, who plans on studying sports management.
“For a career, I’m interested in anything regarding sports.”
“Sophie has really good skills she’s developed,” said Cajon P.E. teacher and coach Mark Lehman.
“She has the personality and is willing to take on the responsibility of being the person to lead us, yet she’s very unselfish. Sometimes I have to get on her to take shots,” continued the 11-year girls coach who’s garnered two section titles and nine straight San Andreas League championships since coming over from the boys side where he coached Cajon for 18 years.
NBA team and player: “The Lakers, of course, and Kobe Bryant. He has everything a player should have to become great.”
Movie: “Love & Basketball. It’s about a girl and boy going to USC.”
A place Sophie would like to visit:
“Europe. It’s beautiful.”
“I’m a Sikh,” said Bhasin proudly. “I go to temple every Sunday and I help out at temple.”
Sophie’s father, V.P. Prakash, a convenience store owner, played cricket in his native India.
“My dad has always been there for me, my biggest supporter. He’s at every game.”
“I have the best mom in the world,” said Sophie about Meena Bhasin, who works in the family businesses.
Older brother Sonu is a manager in the family businesses. “He’s not an athlete but he loves sports,” said little sis.
Sophie has a twin named Ranjit. “He loves dancing.”
Older sister Tania is a biology student at UC Riverside. “She loves dancing too.”
Things she looks forward to in college
“Hard work on the court and in class and being responsible for myself.”
Tips for kids
“Don’t let anyone stop you from what you want to achieve in life. Listen to your heart and follow your dreams.”
Note: True to her word Sophie is working hard toward her goals. Add another triple-double and these numbers to her totals after a Thursday night 39-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist performance in a 91-42 win over cross-town San Bernardino.
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