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Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

Redwood Bark

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Boys’ basketball shoots for MCAL championship

When five basketball players step onto a court together, they need to act as a unit rather than individuals in order to have success. This year, the boys’ varsity players are hoping to create even more than that on the court—a family.

Redwood has an optimistic outlook coming off one of its most successful campaigns in recent history. Its 10-4 finish last year placed them fourth in MCALs and carried the team to berths in both the MCAL and NCS playoffs.

DRIBBLING THE BALL, junior Omar Elliott-Diab prepares to drive past senior Brendan Shepard. It is Shepard’s third year on varsity for Redwood.
DRIBBLING THE BALL, junior Omar Elliott-Diab prepares to drive past senior Brendan Shepard. It is Shepard’s third year on varsity for Redwood.

When asked if he believed this year’s team could duplicate that success, nine-year varsity head coach Steve Compagno did not hesitate.

“Absolutely,” he said.

Compagno believes that this year’s team is unique because of their chemistry. The Giants have nine players returning from last year’s squad, all of whom are already comfortable in the current system.

This year’s team is headed by a group of seniors, including Alex Wilson, Charlie Reis, Brendan Winters, John Van Liere, Chris Kress, and Brendan Shepard, who are familiar with each other’s styles thanks to years of playing together.

These seniors will play a key role in developing and maintaining the established team chemistry, according to Compagno.

“They are good leaders, they’re good kids, they care about each other, and we are trying to develop a family unit where it is more important that we take care of the process,” Compagno said.

Past Redwood teams have traditionally been defensively oriented, according to Compagno, and this year’s team will be no different.

This tactic has been effective because the team has forwards who can defend the basket and guards who are quick and have a high basketball IQ, according to senior forward Charlie Reis.

“That combination allows us to pressure teams a lot on defense and force a lot of turnovers,” Reis said. “ So, even though we are losing two of our biggest scorers from last year, I think our defense and our new additions will make up for that.”

Reis added that part of the strong team chemistry comes from years of playing on the same team.

Compagno also stressed the importance of each player acknowledging and embracing their role within the team.

“Every single player that wears that varsity uniform is important to our success no matter what their role on the team is,” he said. “We are a family.”

The family has a new look this season thanks to the departures of some of last season’s top scorers.

“We definitely have a scoring deficit because Mike Sullivan graduated and Jordan Jackson moved to Tam,” Reis said. “They were two of our leading scorers last year, so that was a big hit to the team.”

Despite their losses, Compagno is not concerned, as he believes the team will be especially adept at putting the needs of the whole group above their own.

“I think from what I’ve seen from this group they are focused on being successful as a team regardless of who gets the most points or most rebounds,” he said. “We have a group that can definitely put the us and the we above the I and the me.”

Coming off a season where they were a force to be reckoned with throughout MCAL play and into the NCS playoffs, the team has turned its attention towards the other top competition in the league.

According to Compagno, though, they see no immediate threats looming in their schedule.

“I don’t worry about our competition,” he said. “If we take care of the process, the rest will take care of itself.”

He did add that there is one important game that the whole team has their sights set on: the MCAL finals.

“These kids want to be playing in February in the finals,” Compagno said. “And we will.”

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About the Contributor
Jason Fieber, Author