Casey guides Redding Christian to first D6 title in three seasons
Redding Christian senior 6-foot-4 center Joey Casey wanted to inject his jovial personality to the CIF Northern Section Division VI title game against Etna.
Forget about the pressure. Casey's goal was to have fun and let his energy dictate the outcome.
Casey, wearing blond highlights in his hair, won loose balls on the floor, collected rebounds and kept finding ways to score near the basket for the Lions.
Casey scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and junior Max Beasley scored 17 points to outlast Etna 43-37 at Shasta High School on Friday night.
Video game hobbyist Casey paid tribute to his classmates and teammates.
"I was just trying to have fun," Casey said. "Shoutout to all my Fortnight friends and Among Us friends. They really inspire me to keep going."
Casey scored 10 of 16 points in the second half after Etna narrowed the deficit to 24-22 at halftime.
Redding Christian (17-12) won its first CIF Northern Section title since 2019 after losing to Weed in last year's CIF Northern Section Division VI title game and the 2020 Division VI semifinals. The Lions will hold a top three seed in the CIF NorCal Regional Division VI playoffs next week.
Etna (14-11) kept the game within two possessions after a rocky, 2 hour and 30 minute van ride to Redding. The team travelled through icy conditions down Highway 3 through Weaverville before ending up on Highway 299.
"It was eventful," Etna coach Scott Bennett said. "We had to go over Scott Mountain, which wasn't open, and then back to Weaverville through Whiskeytown and then here. We back-doored it."
Etna kept the game close throughout the evening but struggled to find a rhythm offensively. Senior Daniel Case scored 11 points and his fellow captain Trey Bennett scored nine points.
Six of Etna's 14 field goals came on 3-pointers. Deficiencies in shooting coincided with Etna not putting strong enough defensive pressure against Casey and Beasley.
"We had the open shots, some we made and some we didn't take," Bennett said. "That's basketball. Sometimes you're on, sometimes you're off and credit to Redding Christian. They made the shots, we didn't."