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Redbank Valley Eager to Begin Chase of Another District 9 Girls Basketball Championship

NEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. (EYT/D9) — For two years, Mylee Harmon has slashed her way to nearly 1,000 points for the Redbank Valley girls basketball team.

She averaged 21 points per game last season, using her speed, quickness and instincts to get steals and layups for instant offense. She is also adept at driving the lane and creating for herself. Her play earned her the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference MVP award and an all-state nod.

(Pictured above, from left: Izzy Bond, Mylee Harmon, Addy Bond and Kira Bonanno)

If there has been one thing missing from her game, it has been consistency from the perimeter.

Harmon set out this offseason to rectify that.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

“Teams are expecting me to do what I do, cut to the basket and finish,” Harmon said. “They don’t expect me to shoot and I got in a lot of reps and a lot of shots up. I think it’s coming along really well.”

That is a scary thought for Redbank opponents this season. If Harmon can be just as dangerous spotting up for a mid-range jumper or 3-pointer as she is at getting to the hoop, she and the Bulldogs may near impossible to slow down this season.

“She can take her game even higher if, like she said, she works on her outside shot,” said Redbank Valley coach Chris Edmonds. “Leadership is also going to be a big thing, seeing how we handle adversity and how we bring the underclassmen into the team.”

The Bulldogs lost Alivia Huffman to graduation after a season in which she averaged 16 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and reached 1,000 points in her career.

Also gone is sharpshooter Caylen Rearick and a slew of valuable role players who gave Redbank impressive depth that it used to wear out opponents.

The key to this season may be developing that depth again and finding a worthy scoring partner for Harmon.

Harmon and Huffman were quite the one-two punch last season.

Now Huffman is at PennWest California.

Harmon, though, still has plenty of firepower around her, including senior Izzy Deal, junior Kira Bonanno and sophomore Addy Bond.

“There’s a lot of talent,” Edmonds said. “We have a lot of leadership with those four. We just have to bring the others on board and show or teach them how to play our style of basketball.”

That style won’t change.

Redbank Valley loves to press the issue and they will again.

“We have a lot of freshman coming in, so I think all four of us are stepping up and being leaders,” said Izzy Bond. “We’re trying to carry on what we did last year. I’m going to be down low more, doing more of the dirty work, getting rebounds and locking people up on defense. I think my role needs to be more in the paint.”

That’s something she relishes.

Something of a throwback — one of her favorite players is Dennis Rodman from the 1990s Chicago Bulls — Izzy Deal doesn’t shy away from doing all the things that make a basketball team succeed, things that don’t necessarily show up in the box score.

“I mean, to me defense is always an important part of the game,” she said. “I work a lot on that and not as much on offense. I feel like I’m better on defense.”

Her sister, Addy, is a spark plug on offense. The guard came off the bench last season and played valuable minutes and hit some very big shots.

Her role will most certainly expand.

A quick guard with a strong outside shot, Addy Bond could take some of the scoring pressure off of Harmon.

Bonanno can also grind with the best of them in the paint and provides valuable points and rebounds.

The goal is simple: win another District 9 Class 2A title.

The Bulldogs won it last year and have had quite the run of success over the last four campaigns with three 20-win seasons, three district titles, two KSAC titles, a 30-game KSAC winning streak, a 24-game home winning streak, and two PIAA quarterfinal appearances.

Redbank would like to build on that.

“I think we can go farther if we all work as a team,” Bonanno said.

Team chemistry may be a strength.

“We’re super close,” Addy Bond said. “We kind of know what each of us is going to do before we do it. We know what we’re thinking. So I think because of that, we’re gonna do pretty well this year,”

As a point guard, Harmon said that closeness helps.

“It’s so important,” she said. “If they know what I’m thinking, like I’m looking for a backdoor cut and they recognize that and do it, that’s helpful because I don’t have to signal it.”

Redbank, though, will have to survive a difficult schedule, especially in January.

The Bulldogs have just one home game in that month and eight on the road.

In fact, only three of the 17 games in December and January are on Redbank’s own floor.

“I think each one of the non-conference teams we are playing have kids who are going on to play college basketball,” Edmonds said. “It should be a very challenging schedule. Hopefully the girls are up for it. We should know a lot about our team come playoffs.”

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.