REDMOND — The season is less than 10 games old and the Ridgeview boys basketball team has already won more games in a season since 2015-16.
With seven wins in the bag, the Ravens have just as many wins as they did in a three-year stretch from 2016 to 2019, when the program won just seven of 68 total games.
Ridgeview (7-2) has not finished with a winning record since the 2014-15 season.
“We have had a little bit of momentum during the season,” said Ridgeview coach Jake Miller. “We have had a lot of growth from the shortened season and it is starting to build on itself.”
Despite winning just five games in the pandemic-shortened season last spring, signs of growth started to show in the back half of the season. Games that were once one-sided early became close games against quality teams like Redmond and Crook County when they played a second time.
“You could kind of tell that at that point we were in the learning phase of how we were going to win,” Miller said. “All these varsity guys were here during the summer and we were hopeful that it would translate.”
That was enough to get the momentum started for this season.
“It feels good to see it paying off,” said senior Ryan Asplund. “Everyone has been in the gym all summer, hitting the weights every day trying to get better and it is nice to start to see the results.”
The Ravens picked up their seventh win of the season at home Tuesday night against South Albany, a program that has made it to the 5A state tournament three times in the past six seasons.
Ridgeview rallied from an early 6-0 deficit to start the game, then fended off a couple of Red Hawk rallies to win 65-57 behind 21 points from Asplund, 10 second-half points from junior Jeremiah Schwartz and 11 (seven in the fourth quarter) from junior Aidan Brennaman.
“I think that any time you have a chance to play teams from the (Wilamette) Valley and compete and win, that is a really good feeling,” Miller said.
After Tuesday night’s win, Ridgeview fell to Henley Wednesday night at home, 49-41.
And the path for the Ravens will start to get even more challenging as the season continues. They will open the Summit Holiday Classic against the unbeaten Storm on Tuesday. It is a challenge the Ravens relish to see where they can improve before starting Intermountain Conference play the second week of January.
“I think that is probably what we need at this point of the season as we get closer to league,” Miller said. “We want to see one of the best teams in the state with players that can do it all. It will be a good way to figure out what we are going to need to do when we might be outmatched.”
It has been several years since the Ravens have felt positive momentum on the basketball court. But there is optimism that it can continue throughout the season.
“We just have to keep working and trusting each other,” Asplund said. “That is all we need to do.”