Redwood boys basketball coach Darryl Hardwick says this is the deepest team he has had since his first year at the helm nine years ago.
This week is the perfect opportunity for Hardwick and the Rangers to put that depth on display. By Thursday night they will have played four games in six days.
Their upcoming West Yosemite League games against Mt. Whitney and Hanford aren't games they can afford to lose because of how tight and competitive the league has been this season.
Hardwick was not shy about using his bench in Monday's 50-48 victory over Mira Monte.
With a game they just played Saturday and Monday's game at the Martin Luther King Jr. Showcase at the College of the Sequoias, Hardwick made sure to play as many players as he could to keep their legs fresh.
During the final two minutes of the game, Hardwick made numerous substitutions to give him a big lineup on defense and a small lineup on offense.
He made all the right calls, including getting the ball to his point guard Ricky Ramirez on the game's final play.
The Rangers took over possession with about 27 seconds left in the game, worked the clock down and gave the ball to Ramirez, who drove to the basket for the game-winning shot with about three seconds left in the game.
"He knows that's a moment we want him to shine in," Hardwick said. "He's good at attacking the basket. We knew if we gave him the ball, he would make something happen. It was a great finish for a great player."
The Rangers almost didn't get the opportunity to let Ramirez play the role of hero.
After leading for most of the game, Redwood struggled to begin the fourth quarter. Mira Monte, led by Braxton Huggins' 26 points, took a 48-42 lead with under two minutes left in the game.
The Rangers picked up the defensive intensity, forced a couple of Mira Monte turnovers and put themselves in a position to score some easy baskets.
Patrick Burks scored four key points in a span of 16 seconds to tie the game at 48-48.
Mira Monte got the ball with 52 seconds left and had a chance to take the lead, but the Rangers forced a turnover to set up their final possession.
"I told the guys in the locker room that I thought we played a good first quarter, Ranger basketball," Hardwick said. "But the next three quarters, the game got away from us and we got away from the things we were doing well in the first. Coming down the stretch, we needed to make plays and make some stops."
Eight different players scored in Redwood's win. Ramirez and Montoya each led the way with 11 points, Dom Quintanilla and Burks each scored seven and Josh Carr chipped in with six.
During a busy stretch of games, the Rangers managed to go 1-1 in their nonleague games, losing to Clovis East 55-32 on Saturday.
Now comes league play.
The Rangers will close out the first half of the WYL season against Mt. Whitney tonight at Redwood.
Both teams are 3-2 in the WYL, trailing first-place Hanford West (4-2) by 1/2-game.
Redwood and Mt. Whitney already played each other once this season with Redwood winning 69-65 in the third-place game of the Polly Wilhelmsen Invitational.
"Mt. Whitney is a really good team and they're playing well right now," Hardwick said. "When we played in the Polly we were both coming off emotional losses. This will be a traditional Redwood-Whitney game with a lot of emotion and excitement. There will be a lot on the line, closing out the first half of league. Both teams will be ready to play. The emotion will be there, but it will come down to who executes better."