Russell Coleman began his basketball tenure at Cedaredge High School last year as the junior varsity coach for Cedaredge High School's girls program. Coleman begins his varsity coaching experience for the Bruins with 11 letter winners from last season's 21-4 team on this year's roster and has plenty of reason to be excited for the 2018-19 season.
Coleman will have four seniors (all letter winners from last season) to mold a solid team around.
Courtney Freeman will pose a distinct problem for opposing teams as the talented guard earned All-State Honorable Mention and was an All-Conference 3A WSL player in 2017-18. The list of seniors continues with Cammie Baldozier, Hannah Gardner and Dalia Alejandre sure to compliment Freeman's play.
Junior Makayla Kehmeier is one of the most steady players the Bruins have and was an All-Conference First Team selection a year ago. Her leadership and skills will make the Bruins better on both sides of the ball.
The remaining letter winners for Cedaredge include talented sophomore Kammie Henderson, who can play inside or outside, and is a good defender.
Other sophomores who lettered last season are Sophie Andrews, Aspen Furubotten and Kimberley Milholland. Elizabeth joins that list of sophomore players who are listed on the varsity roster for Coleman.
Add freshman Paige McGovern and the complete list of varsity players is intact.
The Bruins were last year's No. 6 ranked team in 3A and won their first two games before bowing out of the state tournament with a loss to eventual state champion St. Mary's.
Coleman will have capable assistants in former head boys coach Kevin Dunbar, Haley Benson, Anthony Lambrakos and Kayla Jubert.
The season will provide plenty of wins for the Bruins with players such as Freeman, Kehmeier and Henderson touted as potential impact players for Cedaredge.
Moffat County won the league title last year with Grand Valley finishing second and Delta fourth behind Cedaredge. All the mentioned teams will be on Coleman's radar as teams to be wary of.
"We have a young team with a couple of very talented returnees. If our young players develop, we'll be pretty tough. We have the potential to be much better in February than we are in December," noted Coleman.
Cedaredge played in last weekend's Vail Christian Tipoff where the Bruins defeated 4A Battle Mountain, 52-33, on Friday and then faced 3A/2A Frontier League's Lake County (Leadville) in the title game on Saturday, winning a slow-paced game, 34-12.
Coleman's first varsity win at Cedaredge was reminiscent of Bruin power teams from recent years where Cedaredge dismantled opponents with solid offense and a smothering defense. The Bruins forced 26 turnovers and allowed just 10 field goals in their win over the Huskies.
Freeman had 16 points to lead the offense with Kehmeier's 15 and Henderson's 10 giving the Bruins three players in double figures.
Saturday's title game was another stifling defensive performance with the Bruins scoring single digit numbers in the last three quarters of the game. Freeman was, again, Cedaredge's leading scorer with 14. Kehmeier finished with 8 and Henderson had 6.
The Bruins are in Nucla Saturday, Dec. 8, for varsity contests (girls and boys) at 12:30 and 2 p.m., respectively.
Next weekend finds Cedaredge at Centauri on Friday night and in Ignacio on Saturday for games with the Bobcats.