Redmond High’s Caroline Talbot (13) drives to the hoop against Ferndale High on Nov. 28. Ferndale won, 51-50, in overtime. Mustang Ali Benton (11) is also pictured. Photo courtesy of Dale Garvey

Redmond High’s Caroline Talbot (13) drives to the hoop against Ferndale High on Nov. 28. Ferndale won, 51-50, in overtime. Mustang Ali Benton (11) is also pictured. Photo courtesy of Dale Garvey

Redmond-area basketball squads hit the hardwood

Previews for 2018-19 season.

As the gym doors open, the sound of bouncing basketballs, shoes thumping and squeaking on the hardwood and loud voices and screams from players, coaches and fans fill the air. It’s hoops time again and our local schools are right in the middle of the action. Here’s a rundown of what’s happening in the Redmond area:

Redmond High

The Mustang boys pride themselves on a hard-nosed defense and transition offense. Leading the way will be top returners Philip Bury (a 6-foot-4 senior forward), who was the Mustangs’ top scorer and rebounder last season; Darek Khabani (a 6-foot senior point guard); and Jalen Lund (a 6-foot-1 senior shooting guard). Junior forward Aidan Rolfs stands at 6-foot-7 and is the team’s most improved player over the last year, said head coach Todd Rubin.

“We have a group that makes good decisions in the open court and can shoot from the outside. To be successful, we have to play at our pace and rebound,” Rubin added.

Rubin and his coaching staff strive to teach student-athletes to bring out the best in themselves, become better all-around people on and off the court. The Redmond basketball program’s focus is preparing the Mustangs “to lead and be successful in all aspects of life.”

As each season arrives, girls head coach Ashley Graham adjusts her coaching philosophy to match what players she has on the roster.

There are two constants on tap: “We’re always pushing effort and discipline on the team,” she said, adding that the coaches are looking for those crucial qualities each practice and every game.

This season, there’s an added factor on the court as the Mustangs return to 4A KingCo after competing the last two seasons in 3A KingCo. It will be challenging, Graham said, because they haven’t had the chance to fully scout their opponents, but they’re up to the task of battling some solid squads.

Top returners are junior Britton Steckler (a 5-6 guard), senior Caroline Talbot (a 5-8 guard), senior Lauren Lund (a 5-6 guard), junior Sami Castanos (a 5-11 guard) and junior Whitney Thom (a 5-11 post), who was injured most of last season and is a strong presence on the rebounding front, Graham said. In a 51-50 overtime loss to Ferndale to start the season, Talbot led the Mustangs with 17 points.

Redmond’s keys to success, according to Graham, will be strong defense, limiting turnovers, getting in passing lanes and obtaining more possessions to score.

Bear Creek

Head coach Tyler Mendezona feels his Grizzly boys have a good shot at bringing a high level of competition to their league this season, including gritty defense, team rebounding and high-percentage shooting.

Top returners are senior Trevor McRae (a 6-foot guard) and junior Jace Blankenbeckler (a 6-2 guard), and top newcomers are sophomore Morten Hansen (a 6-1 wing) and sophomore Connor Keith (a 5-10 guard).

“As a player in college, I always loved getting after it defensively and great ball movement offensively,” Mendezona said. “I’d like to think both have been a huge part of my coaching philosophy these past five years.”

Bear Creek’s hard-working girls team — which consists of just four returners — aims to improve and make each other better, said head coach Ali Greene.

Top returners are senior Haley Jones (a 5-6 guard) and senior Tiffany Cowman (a 5-9 post) , and top newcomers on board are senior Juliette Shields (a 5-8 post) and freshmen 5-6 guards Sophia Dunn and Carly Preston.

Greene would like to see her players develop their skills, tackle challenges and learn from their mistakes throughout the season.

“I try and push them outside of their comfort zone and get them to lean on their teammates. Developing a team-first attitude is one of the most important things we teach them,” she said.

Overlake

Led by new head coach John Augustavo, the Owl girls are a young, hard-working squad.

“Our strengths for a successful year will be to keep everyone healthy and to make sure all the players are enjoying the game and improving as the weeks go by,” said Augustavo, who coached at Inglemoor High from 2002-2015 and led his teams to four state tournaments.

Top returners are junior Eliza Friend (6-4 post), sophomore Kaku Cosmos (5-8 guard) and junior Annabelle Wiley (5-8 wing) to go along with top newcomers in freshmen Rachel Sapirstein (6-0 wing), Addie Sapirstein (5-7 wing) and Mary Cosmos (5-7 guard).

Augustavo would like to see his squad become stronger each time on the court and instill a team concept along the way.

Boys head coach David Bigelow is also new to the Owl hoops scene and his team is anticipating a season packed with high-level, competitive basketball. A host of seniors graduated last season, so players will be adjusting to new roles early in the campaign.

“I want everyone on our team to know their role each day and to feel empowered to meet and exceed the expectations for that role. We will play with pace, space and intensity,” the coach said.

Leading the way on the returner front will be senior Trey Rudolph (a 6-foot guard), senior Zach Foster (a 5-10 guard), sophomore Oliver Thomas (a 5-9 guard) and sophomore Alan Ngouenet (a 6-2 forward). Top newcomers are sophomore 5-10 guards Roman Peterson and Conrad Im.

During their time with the team, Bigelow aims to guide his players through a growing and competitive experience.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities

Due to the school closure extension, the cancellation includes all practices, competitions, tournaments and championships, WIAA says.

There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association making contingency plans for high school sports competitions after extension of stay home order.

The WIAA announced Wednesday that if schools reopen at the conclusion of the six-week statewide shutdown ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, then the state championships will go on as planned. (WIAA photo)
WIAA still hoping to hold state championships in May

But if the school shutdown extends past April 24, those championships could be in jeopardy.

Athletic practices and competitions cancelled through April 24 due to coronavirus outbreak

By Andy Nystrom and Benjamin Olson Gov. Jay Inslee announced on March… Continue reading

Redmond Relays set for March 21

The third annual Redmond High School Track and Field Booster Club Redmond… Continue reading

Pluschke hits the diamond as new Redmond High fastpitch coach

Mustangs return seven starters from last season.

Games are being postponed in response to coronavirus outbreak

In response to the recent coronavirus outbreak, Eastside schools are taking precautions… Continue reading

Hardwood Classic tips off after coronavirus outbreak

By Benjamin Olson and Andy Nystrom Basketball players took to the court… Continue reading

Most school events, including sports practices, on schedule after coronavirus outbreak

All the school districts in the Reporter’s coverage areas — Northshore, Lake… Continue reading

Reporter file photo
No changes to state basketball tournament schedules after coronavirus outbreak

State boys and girls basketball Hardwood Classic tournaments in Tacoma, Yakima and… Continue reading

‘We just battle together’

Bear Creek boys basketball team competes at state regionals.

Mustangs earn all-league hoops honors

Redmond’s Aidan Rolfs (pictured at left) was a second-team all-4A KingCo boys… Continue reading