Roncalli senior Taiden Red nearly didn't play the night he turned in record shooting performance

Omaha Roncalli’s Taiden Red recently set the Class B record by sinking 12 3-pointers, three days after his aunt Jona died in California of a possible aneurysm. “I was thinking about her and praying for her that night," he said. “She watched me play when I was younger so I wanted to do my best for her."

Omaha Roncalli’s Taiden Red recently set the Class B record by sinking 12 3-pointers, but that’s only part of the story.

He turned in that performance with a heavy heart following the death of his 26-year-old aunt. Red said it was his way to honor someone special who never got a chance to see him play varsity basketball.

“I was thinking about her and praying for her that night,” he said. “She watched me play when I was younger so I wanted to do my best for her.”

The senior guard played against Plattsmouth on a Tuesday night, three days after his aunt Jona died in California of a possible aneurysm. Then he and his family left for the West Coast to attend her funeral.

And it was perhaps the best game of his varsity career. He went 12 for 16 from behind the arc and finished with 40 points as the Crimson Pride posted a 68-31 home victory.

“It was just one of those games,” Red said. “I was knocking them down and the crowd was really getting into it.”

Roncalli coach JJ Stoffel said it was a special night at the school.

“When Taiden gets going, he’s tough to slow down,” the coach said. “He got hot at the start of the game and the other players kept feeding him the ball.”

Red’s performance broke the previous Class B 3-point mark of 10.

He said he was unaware of the state record, though he knew the school record for 3-pointers was eight. That was held by current Roncalli assistant Mark Schlueter.

“The most I’d ever gotten in a varsity game before was seven,” Red said. “I felt pretty good when I went past Mark, and he’s been giving me a little bit of a hard time about it since.”

Stoffel said it was no accident that Red, who averages 16 points, had such a memorable game.

“His dad works with him all the time,” the coach said. “But it’s amazing he had a night like that with everything else going on in his life.”

Red, a four-year varsity player, said his aunt was a positive influence for him growing up. He saw her the last time after his freshman year.

“She used to watch me play when I was younger,” he said. “My dad said she was watching over me the night I set the record.”

Red, a Midland University pledge, added that his teammates helped him get through that difficult week.

“We’re family,” he said. “They knew I was having a hard time and their support was something I really needed.”

Red missed Roncalli’s next two games — wins over Elkhorn Mount Michael and Ralston — before returning Saturday against South Sioux City. He scored 12 points in that win and 15 Tuesday night in a victory over Bennington.

Red has been a major contributor in his final varsity season with the Crimson Pride. He leads Class B in both 3-point percentage (.452) and free-throw percentage (.909).

“Teams have to respect his long-range shooting,” Stoffel said. “And his ability at the free-throw line makes him so valuable late in games.”

The Crimson Pride, who are riding a seven-game winning streak, are 16-4 and ranked fourth in Class B. Red said the team is determined to return to the state tournament, a place where the school came up just short last season.

Roncalli won its first-round game in overtime and its semifinal in double overtime. Playing Lincoln Pius X in the final, Roncalli lost in double overtime.

It was the first time in state tournament history that a team played three consecutive overtime games.

“I think about that championship game all the time, and it’s made me work even harder,” Red said. “We want to win state for last year’s seniors who came so close.”

Celebrating past All-Nebraska basketball teams

Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

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