Redding Christian girls control FSL with 39-20 win over Burney

Redding Christian’s Sammie Wunner looks for an open teammate with Burney’s Kiley Tiran defending during their game Tuesday night at Redding Christian. The Lions won 39-20. (Photo by T.J. Holmes/Shasta County Sports)

PALO CEDRO – The Five-Star League has belonged to the Lions for the past half-decade. And after Tuesday’s 39-20 home victory over Burney at Fitzpatrick Gymnasium, it doesn’t look like Redding Christian is slowing down any time soon.

Sammie Wunner registered a double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds and Courtney Jones pitched in with 10 points as the Lions’ tenacious defense and energy overwhelmed the Raiders, to take control of the FSL.

Redding Christian (4-0 FSL, 19-2) has won all 19 FSL games when Lions’ third-year coach Scott Alexander put a team on the floor — the only blemish during his regime was a forfeit in 2016-17 due to not having enough players due to injuries.

The eight players on this season’s roster is still building off its camaraderie from last year’s success of reaching the NorCal championship game. And it shows on the court.

“These girls are fun,” Alexander said. “They way they pass and when they score that’s an extra bonus. There’s good continuity within the team that has good ball movement and everyone gets involved.”

Redding Christian didn’t have its best offensive night, shooting only 26 percent from the floor. But that’s where the relentless defense often preached by Alexander comes in handy. The Lions limited Kiley Tiran, who came in averaging nearly 17 points per game, to scoring 12 of her teams’ 20 points – the lowest total of the season for the Raiders (3-1 FSL, 13-4).

“We had goals of what we wanted to hold them under,” Alexander said. “We have good on-ball defenders but it takes five good defenders to play like we do.”

Redding Christian ended the first quarter and opened the second with 3-pointers from Wunner and Sadie Alexander to build a 14-4 lead. A Kaylee Jones putback and Alexander dished to Wunner in transition for a 20-13 halftime advantage.


Jones gave the Raiders trouble on defense in the third, running the baseline to combat the 2-3 zone. It forced Burney to break communication and allowed Redding Christian to spark a 10-0 run. Wunner scored twice in the paint with defenders having problems switching, leaving the 5-foot-11 post with space underneath. Then Alexander facilitated off an Aleah Matos steal to Courtney Jones and dished to Matos in transition.

“They did a really good job working back and forth and our forwards weren’t calling the cut from (Kaylee Jones),” Burney coach Jason Estes said. “They got her the ball deep and our center had to make a choice between her and the high post.”

Burney didn’t make a field goal in the third, getting only a pair of free throws from Tiran in the period to enter the final stanza trailing 32-15.

Tiran buried a 3 at the 4:37 mark in the fourth but Redding Christian’s ability to grab offensive rebounds and stay aggressive on defense sealed the win. Courtney Jones drained a pull-up 3-pointer and a deep to end the scoring.

“Kaylee and Courtney are just the spark plugs for us with rebounding and the jump balls they’re getting,” Scott Alexander said.

Redding Christian gets a break the rest of this week and plays at Los Molinos on Tuesday while Burney hosts Mercy on Friday. Burney, a D-VII team, has turned its season around as a contender in the FSL but has its work cut out to push for a league title.

“We’re at that spot where we’re beating everybody but the upper teams and those have been a bit of a head game for us,” Estes said. “The teams we’ve lost to, we should have won a couple of those games. We have a couple of sophomores and we’re young so as soon as they grow they’ll get out of that.”

Redding Christian 39, Burney 20
Burney 4-9-2-5—20
Redding Chr. 11-9-12-7—39
Burney (3-1 FSL, 13-4): Tiran 12, Bellino 4, Davies 2, Cummings 2.
Redding Christian (4-0 FSL, 19-2): Wunner 11, C. Jones 10, K. Jones 8, A. Matos 7, Alexander 3.
3-pointers—Burney 2 (Tiran 2), Redding Christian 4 (Alexander, Wunner, A. Matos, C. Jones).

About T.J. Holmes

T.J. is a national award-winning journalist who has roamed sidelines, baselines and bleachers in the North State since 2010. He shares his passion for sports and the community with his fiancé Tracy, who works alongside him as a videographer for Shasta County Sports. Story tip: shastacountysports@gmail.com.

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