REDMOND — As the final buzzer sounded, the Redmond Panthers jumped in jubilation.
Then they posed for team photos.
This was clearly not an ordinary nonleague win.
“We’ve been struggling the past few years with just building our program back up and this year it’s finally our year,” senior McKaylie Capps said after 5A Redmond’s 52-43 girls basketball victory over 6A Bend Friday night on the Panthers’ court. “This kind of proves it right here. It’s really a good feeling to beat Bend.”
Capps, who led the Panthers with 22 points, had yet to beat the Lava Bears in her four seasons.
“We’ve been playing really together lately,” Capps said. “We’ve been stronger and more focused. It’s just our year.”
Angela Capps, McKaylie’s mother and Redmond’s coach since the 2012-2013 season, had not beaten Bend either.
“Bend is such a great team and they’re very well-coached and I’ve always had this great respect for their program,” Angela Capps said. “This is big for us.”
With the score tied 34-34 entering the fourth quarter, Sydney Gardner scored two quick baskets to put the Lava Bears up by four points.
But the Panthers answered with an 8-0 run and never looked back, outscoring Bend 19-8 in the final eight minutes.
“We just kept our composure,” Angela Capps said. “It’s a sign of maturity because in years past we would have folded. It’s just a credit to them. They’re mature, a lot of veterans out there.”
Another Redmond senior, Jordan Fox, came off the bench to score nine points. Senior Ava Kitchen added eight points.
“We played like a team,” coach Capps said. “We finally just came together. Defensively had some great stops. We did some really good things offensively and were patient with the basketball.”
Gardner scored 12 points for the Lava Bears. Caitlin Wheeler added 11.
“They wanted it more than we did. End of story,” Bend coach Allison Gardner said. “They pieced together things in a composed manner. We did not. They have some experience coming back and they have a great coach and they came really hungry and we came complacent. We’re ready to put this one past us and move on to league.”
Bend (4-6) will open Mountain Valley Conference play Tuesday at home against Sprague, riding a three-game losing streak.
“We’ve got a lot of freshmen playing a lot of minutes for us,” Gardner said. “We’ve got a lot of kids who have never played in our system and we have a lot of kids who haven’t played much varsity minutes at all, so we’re still searching for that chemistry and the group that’s going to play well together and have some success. We haven’t been able to put together a really pretty basketball game in a while.”
Redmond (6-6) will host crosstown rival Ridgeview next Friday in its Intermountain Conference opener.
“It’s such a great lead in to our league,” Angela Capps said of beating Bend. “We feel good. We can play with anybody. This is a huge confidence boost for them. They’re (Ridgeview) very tough so it will be a good challenge on Friday.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0307, firstname.lastname@example.org