Last February, the RedHawks’ season came to an end with a with a one point loss to Durham in the second round of the NSCIF Division V playoffs not only knocking them out of contention for a section title, but also handing them their first losing season in seven years.
Returning six players from that squad, the RedHawks were looking forward to employing their characteristic free wheeling style to get things back on track in 2021, before COVID put their plans on hold.
If and when an opportunity arises, leading the way will be senior Mason Saso, a three-year varsity player who has flourished in the RedHawks’ run and gun offense averaging 20.1 points per game and receiving All-Sacramento Valley League honors last season.
Saso, who reached double figures in all but two games a year ago and was ninth among the Northern Section’s scoring leaders, is a dual threat with an ability to not only hit from the perimeter, but deliver at the rim as well.
Coach Brian Davis, entering his eighth season at the helm of the RedHawks, says he will also lean heavily on what he describes as a “very solid returning cast with major varsity experience” in seniors Drew Bradbury, Sal Silva and Liam Kiever, along with a pair of juniors in Ethan Lay and Jojo Luna.
Colusa will look for Bradbury to be a presence in the paint again this season after he averaged 8.5 points per game and was one of the team’s more consistent rebounders.
Luna, the RedHawks’ second leading scorer in 2020, was good for 10.8 points per game and is strong taking the ball to the basket, while Lay was the team leader from beyond the arc converting on 39 percent of his long distance shots.
A relative newcomer who could also play a significant role is junior Nic Price, a late season call-up last year who can provide additional quickness and athleticism that is necessary in the run and gun game.
According to Davis, there is the potential for a number of younger players to also make an impact, but lack of practice time has prevented him from seeing all they can do and where they fit best in the rotation.
“Our underclassmen have huge opportunities to be major contributors this season, although they will have to be quick studies because we want to hit the ground running as soon as we get the green light,” Davis said.
Without question the RedHawks, who at times have struggled on boards, will have to operate on all cylinders to improve upon last year’s mark, when they battle in the retooled SVL which includes stiff competition from the likes of Pierce, Durham, East Nicolaus, Live Oak and Winters.
Nevertheless, although basketball is still along way from being played in 2021, Davis remains optimistic about his current crew and its support group, summing it up by saying, “ This is such a great group of players, parents, and administrators who make this a true squad and I’m excited to be a part of it.”♣