Redmond High’s girls display their championship plaque at the Phoenix Cactus Jam. Top row, from left, Mackenzie Ault, Teagyn Ohrt, Kiki Milloy, Katie Hartman, Sami Castanos, Meghan Egberg and Caroline Talbot; bottom row, from left, coach Jen Bresler, Lauren Lund, Melissa Lin, Haley Hanson, Andrea Dang, Britton Steckler, Ali Benton and coach Ashley Graham. Courtesy of Jenay Hanson

Redmond High’s girls display their championship plaque at the Phoenix Cactus Jam. Top row, from left, Mackenzie Ault, Teagyn Ohrt, Kiki Milloy, Katie Hartman, Sami Castanos, Meghan Egberg and Caroline Talbot; bottom row, from left, coach Jen Bresler, Lauren Lund, Melissa Lin, Haley Hanson, Andrea Dang, Britton Steckler, Ali Benton and coach Ashley Graham. Courtesy of Jenay Hanson

Redmond High girls notch Phoenix Cactus Jam championship

Redmond High’s girls took their basketball winning streak on the road and racked up three more victories and a championship.

The Mustangs closed out the year with a 56-34 victory over Marana High of Arizona at the 2017 Phoenix Cactus Jam in the title game on Dec. 30. Redmond is now 11-0 on the season and leads the 3A KingCo Conference with a 5-0 record.

Working hard in practice and in games has been a vital factor in Redmond’s success, said Britton Steckler, a sophomore guard.

“I think we’re getting back to the basics of basketball. Just having fun and building ourselves as a team and becoming like a family and playing together,” she said. “When we’re going through a rough patch, we come together as a team and we work through it together.”

Meghan Egberg led Redmond with 15 points in the Cactus Jam finale and Kiki Milloy had 13 points. Egberg snagged championship-game MVP honors and Milloy was the tournament MVP.

Against Marana, Redmond scored 20 points in the third quarter and 18 points in the fourth.

“We were ready to come out and win. We wanted to win the whole thing,” said senior guard Egberg. “We just expect to play at the same level every game, no matter who we’re playing and just play hard.”

Redmond tipped off the tourney on Dec. 27 with a 51-12 win over Maryvale High of Arizona. The Mustangs — who led 25-10 at halftime — got 10 points overall from Katie Hartman, nine from Steckler and eight each from Egberg and Milloy.

In Redmond’s 62-17 victory over Cochrane High of Alberta, Canada, on Dec. 28, Milloy tallied 16 points. Redmond led 33-14 at halftime.

Redmond not only earned three more victories, but grabbed a boost of momentum heading back into KingCo play, according to Milloy, a junior post.

“I think that we’re just playing really aggressive and we’re just attacking (in) everything that we do. Our team dynamic has strengthened and we trust each other more,” said Milloy, adding that the she enjoyed her Cactus Jam experience and is looking forward to seeing where the Mustangs can venture the rest of the season.

Steckler was all smiles when discussing the Mustangs’ Cactus Jam journey, which featured glorious weather and positive vibes.

“We had a good time, we ate a lot, we had a fun time, a lot of team bonding. It’s just a different experience getting to spend a week together instead of just a couple hours,” she said.

Off the court, Redmond took its bonding to a new level while testing its teamwork in an escape room adventure.

“No, we didn’t make it in time, but it was fun,” Egberg said with a laugh. “It was a good way to check how we bond and how we come together to get through something, and I think it showed on the court, too.”

Egberg added that the Mustangs are focused on fully preparing themselves individually and as a unit for what awaits in each game. In order to remain one of state’s top teams, Redmond will have to continue playing at a high level, she said.

“Coming out and playing like it’s your last game, especially for being a senior, for me, I really take every game as it comes and be in the moment,” Egberg said.

• On the Redmond boys’ side at the Cactus Jam, the Mustangs took fourth place in the Tempe division.

They began the tourney with a 57-28 win over Maryvale, lost 68-54 to Liberty of Oregon and finished big with a 61-25 triumph over Cochrane.

Phil Bury had games of 14, 12 and eight points and was named to the all-tournament team. Chris Claesson notched 15 points and eight rebounds in one game.

Redmond High’s boys hoops squad takes a hike on Camelback Mountain during a break from the Phoenix Cactus Jam. They are, from left, coach Scott Nelson, Aidan Rolfs, Jared Taylor, Phil Bury, Darek Khabani, Jack Thomson, Chris Claesson, coach Todd Rubin, Carson Brown, Maclain Forseth, Erik Carlson, Isaiah Vannoy, Carson Bruener and Jalen Lund. Courtesy photo

Redmond High’s boys hoops squad takes a hike on Camelback Mountain during a break from the Phoenix Cactus Jam. They are, from left, coach Scott Nelson, Aidan Rolfs, Jared Taylor, Phil Bury, Darek Khabani, Jack Thomson, Chris Claesson, coach Todd Rubin, Carson Brown, Maclain Forseth, Erik Carlson, Isaiah Vannoy, Carson Bruener and Jalen Lund. Courtesy photo

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