After notching some big wins at the SoCal Christmas Classic last month, Redmond High junior guard Nathan Miller feels the Mustang boys basketball squad can compete with anybody.
“We beat some good teams down there and we’re just coming back here confident and ready to play against our division teams and get a win,” he said.
With the motto “Family Over Fear” on tap, Redmond returned to the 4A KingCo courts in the new year and notched a pair of wins over Inglemoor, 52-48, and North Creek, 57-47, to raise its Crown record to 4-1 and 9-2 overall. The Mustangs — who have won seven of their last eight games — will next take on Eastlake away at 8 p.m. on Jan. 10.
In California, Redmond registered a 3-1 record with wins over Calabasas, 53-51; Taft, 61-56; and Legacy, 56-54; and lost to Bishop Alemany, 70-48. The Mustangs finished fourth out of 16 teams in the platinum division, the highest class in the tournament.
Redmond’s 6-foot-9 senior forward Aidan Rolfs set a school record with eight 3-pointers against Taft and then drained seven treys against Inglemoor.
“Teammates were setting a lot of good screens, so I was getting a lot of staggers and so there was just a lot of openings. Once I started hitting some, I got hot and then was able to hit more,” Rolfs said of the Taft game, which featured a host of Mustang scorers and a nice second-half comeback.
After dispatching Inglemoor on Jan. 3, Redmond faced off with North Creek on Jan. 7 on the Mustangs’ home court. Nathan Miller led all scorers with 25 points, the most he’s tallied since he hit in the 30s on the C team.
“I feel confident. I knew coming into this game, they were gonna play zone, so the three was gonna be open. I was just ready, made shots,” said Miller, noting that Rolfs was often triple teamed against North Creek, so there was always a guy open.
Miller nailed a trey to put the Mustangs up 48-37 and later received a smooth pass from senior forward Jahi Coleman en route to a layin to make the score 55-47. Rolfs, junior guard Josh Morris and junior forward Arjan Singh also hit treys during the North Creek game.
“We’re just gonna go into every game knowing that’s gonna be a hard win. We gotta play confident and as hard as we can and just know it’s gonna be a fight,” Miller said.
Coleman noted that teammates trusting each other and shutting out fear have been crucial to the Mustangs’ success. Along with some glossy passing, Coleman has made his mark in other areas on the court.
“I really pride myself on defense, and just taking it to the basket strong and getting boards,” said Coleman, who chipped in with a three-point play to give the Mustangs some breathing room against North Creek.
Off the court in California, the Mustangs hit the water and played some volleyball on Venice Beach along with eating and shopping as a group. Coleman said the trip was a great bonding experience that will drive the Mustangs the rest of the season.
“Obviously, the winning made it more fun, but the most memorable parts was just going to the beach with teammates. It was one of the most fun trips I’ve been on, just being able to connect with the guys and get to know them better,” Rolfs said.
There was plenty of joking around off the court in California, but Miller said once the ball is tipped into play, the Mustangs are all business. Redmond needs to unleash energy and intensity every game, Rolfs added.