Redmond High’s boys basketball team has a young roster heading into the 2018-19 season. As the Panthers head into a revamped Intermountain Conference, junior post Dylan Moss is the only returning player with significant varsity minutes. Moss hopes to set a positive example for the new players both on and off the court.
“We’re playing competitive and pushing each other,” Moss said.
Coach Reagan Gilbertson enters his third season leading the Panthers Friday at Summit.
He sees Moss doing a good job leading the team, which graduated first-team all-league player Josh hair and second-team all-leaguers Dylan Taylor and Ethan Soto from a team that finished fourth in the then-five-team IMC with a 3-9 record (9-15 overall).
“We have expectations for Dylan (Moss) and he has high expectations for himself,” the coach said Nov. 20.
Gilbertson is pleased with the group’s offseason work, including taking two teams to a camp at Eastern Washington University for the first time.
“We all went on one bus,” he said. “It was just a real good thing to get to know each other. It wasn’t all about basketball. We had a lot of fun.”
The offseason success carried over to the first couple weeks of practice, Gilbertson said.
“These guys love being in the gym and playing together,” he said. “They care for each other.”
Like Moss, an honorable mention all-division tackle, several of the new names to the basketball team contributed on the football field. They include Henry Chambers, who led the Panthers in receiving yards, Jack McKenzie, a second-team all-division tight end, and point guard Cooper Browning, a quarterback who is expected to return by early December from an injury that kept him out of much of football season.
Junior guard Javin Westendorf is also expected to contribute.
“All these guys have been in the program for three years,” Gilbertson said. “There’s not a ton of new stuff they have to learn, they just have to get used to the physicality of varsity basketball.”
Gilbertson expects sophomores Charlie Rawlins and Skyler Jones to contribute, as well.
Gone from the IMC are the larger Bend schools. In their place are teams including 2017-18 Columbia River Conference champion Pendleton. Ridgeview, which was last in the IMC in 2017-18, is the only returning league rival.
“We’re not worried about the results right now, we’re just focused on the process of getting better every day,” Gilbertson said.
The league goes from a triple round robin 12-game schedule to each of its six teams playing each other twice.
That means half of Redmond’s games will be played in December, with 15 games between Friday and Jan. 4 and only 10 more scheduled between Jan. 11 and Feb. 22.
“Our December schedule is like an NBA schedule,” Gilbertson said. “We play a ton of games so we’ll be ready for league in January.”
The Panthers first four league games will be almost like football season, with one game per week on Fridays between Jan. 11 and Feb. 1. The players see the extra time between games as an advantage.
“We get to bond so we know everyone a little better,” Westendorf said.
The Panthers hope to prove they are contenders, .
“Even though we’re young, we can still compete,” he said. “We’re not just going to compete, we’re going to win.”
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