Jade Redmon has gone about playing basketball efficiently if not quietly.
The Mead senior is poised to write the final chapter in her high school career. And she wants to make some noise, leading the Panthers back to state for the first time since her freshman season.
The four-year starter has made a name for herself – not that she minds being attached to her older sister. Jade and Jazmine started alongside each other three years ago when her sister was a senior. Mead concluded the season in the state championship game.
“We want to get back and get our vengeance and hopefully win a state title,” Redmon said.
Jade has a greater appreciation now for the time spent on the court with Jazmine.
“At the time I didn’t realize it,” she said. “Now that I look back on it, it was cool to play with her and go through all that we went through together.”
When her sophomore year rolled around, Jade found herself as one of the most experienced players in a rebuilding season.
Then her coach, Regan Drew, resigned to spend more time with a young family, and Jade had to adjust to a new coach and a new system last year.
It took Redmon and her teammates time to get used to their new coach, Quantae Anderson. Mead got off to an 0-3 start.
“At the beginning we didn’t know one another,” Redmon said. “It was different than when Regan coached us. And we had some new players. It took time to adjust to Q. He’s different than Regan and I don’t mean that in a bad way.”
The Panthers, who finished 12-11 overall last season, ended the year playing their best. In fact, it took an improbable comeback by GSL champion Central Valley to eliminate Mead, which had a double-digit lead on the Bears in a district tournament game. CV escaped with a 49-48 win and went on to play for the state title.
It’s a game Redmon said Mead should have won. She wants to use it as a springboard into this season.
“We’ve grown as a team,” she said. “We trust each other a lot more than last year.”
Anderson implored Redmon, a 5-foot-7 point guard, to shoot more last year.
“We had a couple of really low-scoring games and I finally said ‘hey, you’re our leader, you have to be our scorer, too,’ ” Anderson said.
“At the beginning of last year she was almost too unselfish.”
Redmon finished the year averaging 14.6 points, fourth-best in the league, and 15.0 overall. She needs 236 points to reach 1,000 for her career.
Although her heart was set on playing with her sister some day at Gonzaga University, Redmon signed with Eastern Washington University earlier this month.
“Jade is a great player, who is just tough as nails,” EWU coach Wendy Schuller said on signing day. “She will do whatever it takes to get the job done. She handles it really well, can get into the lane and can be a major threat in the open floor. She is also going to help us defensively in terms of pressuring the ball and getting into passing lanes.”
Redmon knows her best ball is ahead of her, too. She’s young for her class. She just turned 17 in August.
She wonders how much more mature her game would be had her parents not started her in school so early.
Redmon laughed when it was suggested she was an eighth grader in terms of age playing with her sister three years ago.
Drew recalls watching progressive growth that season.
“We asked a lot of her both her freshman and sophomore years,” Drew said. “Her sophomore year she took on more of a leadership role. Jade thrives knowing her teammates look to her to be a leader.”
Drew will long remember a clutch shot Redmon made in the regionial championship game at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Her 15-foot jumper tied the score with 27 seconds left against Chiawana, forcing overtime. Mead won 54-48.
“If she doesn’t make that shot we may not move on,” Drew said. “She had such calmness and poise. That’s a huge memory of mine and a pivotal moment for her as well.”