A second-place finish in the Big South West Conference standings earned Redwood Valley a pair of honorees to the All-Conference team for the 2018-19 season.
Senior Cole Woodford had a big final season, surpassing 1,000 career points and earning All-Big South West Conference first team honors. Woodford led the Cardinals with 21.0 ppg, was second in rebounding (6.2 rpg), steals (2.0 spg) and assists (3.3 apg) and knocked down a team-high 90 three-pointers. He finished his career with 1,407 points and 398 rebounds and will take his talents to Jamestown College next season.
Fellow senior Kyle Huhnerkoch was an honorable mention selection for the Cards, averaging 8.4 ppg, finishing third in rebounding (4.2 rpg), averaged 1.6 apg, shot 51.5 percent from the floor and knocked down 29 three-point shots.
Sophomore Connor Josepshon had a breakthrough season, finishing third on the team in scoring (8.5 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.9 rpg), assists (3.9 apg) and steals (2.1 spg). Senior Bronson Smith was second on the team in scoring (10.0 ppg) and averaged 2.4 rpg, 1.2 apg and hit 21 three-pointers. Junior Bryant Haas averaged 6.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.4 apg and nearly a steal a game. He also shot 58.1 percent from inside the arc and shot a team-high 75 percent from the charity stripe.
Senior Colin Wells averaged 6.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg and 2.0 apg, and junior Carter Guetter averaged 4.6 ppg and 3.0 rpg. Freshman Alex Lang averaged 3.5 ppg and 1.3 rpg, and fellow freshman Carson Woodford averaged 2.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, shot 58.8 percent from inside the arc and had 16 blocked shots. Senior Brennan Sander averaged 2.8 ppg and 1.4 rpg, and senior Michael Mace averaged 2.5 ppg and 1.8 rpg.
Despite 11 regular season losses, the Cardinals earned their first trip to state under Head Coach Aaron Lindahl after dominating the Section 3AA tournament. It was an impressive run for a team that had a number of new starters to open up the season and also had to deal with numerous injuries throughout the year.
“The biggest thing to take away from this year was the perseverance and grit these guys had,” Lindahl said. “It took us 16 games to get everyone healthy, which is crazy. On top of all the snow days where we would go multiple days without practice, then play a game, the guys did a great job of handling all the things we battled through. I tip my hat to all our guys that stuck it out and believed in one another to accomplish what we did.”
The Cardinals – despite having defeated top-seed New London/Spicer during the regular season – were given the fourth seed in the north half of the Sub-Section, a slight that didn’t escape the coaching staff and players.
“Everyone was counting us out, nobody thought we were going to win the Section,” Lindahl said. “All year, all you heard was NL/Spicer is really tough. Then we beat them at their place, and everyone kept saying, Morris is playing the best basketball out of everyone (winning like their last 14 games before playoffs). “Neither of those games were really that close. Then everyone said that St. James and JCC were the one and two seeds in the south and shouldn't have a problem with Redwood, because they both beat them during the year. That was a 25 point win in the Section final. Our guys didn't buy into the outside noise.”
The Cards were competitive in a pair of losses to Perham and Esko at state, showing well against a strong Class AA field.
“I thought at state we really battled,” Lindahl said. “We knew the competition was going to be tough, but I thought our guys did a good job of not giving up and battling to the end."
In the end, it was a memorable run, one that the seniors will hold dear and the underclassmen can use as fuel for next season and into the future.
“They believed in one another, worked hard for one another, and bought in and believed in what we were trying to do,” Lindahl said. “We talked all year that it is great to win games during the year, but our goal was to get better everyday and playing our best basketball in March. I think we did that and that goes to show the great kids we had on the team, from our best player, to our 14th player, to our five managers, and coaches that put the time in through the whole year.”