By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Rivalries are a fixture to sports as popcorn at a basketball game.
Speaking of basketball, the Stayton Eagles will give fans a double dose of popcorn in their rivalry games versus Cascade Friday night.
For the players, it’s exciting.
“The rivalry with Cascade goes way back,” described Kyle Schwarm. “It’s just team versus team and it’s going to be exciting. I’m excited for it.”
“It’s been five or six years since we beat Cascade in a basketball game. We just have to come and play. Show up and play against a good team.”
On the girl’s side, Madison Anderson describes how intense the environment gets regardless where the game is at.
“It’s pretty tough, it’s pretty intense,” she said. “Everyone fights hard and a lot of people come. It’s been a good rivalry for a long time. Ever since our Head Coach (Hollenbeck) has been in High School.”
For Lady Eagles Head Coach Melissa Hollenbeck, she’s experienced this particular rivalry as a player and now as a coach.
“I can describe it from a player’s perspective and a coach’s perspective,” said Hollenbeck with a smile. “It is always a big game when we play Cascade. No matter what the team’s records are, it is always a battle. It is always a heated battle.”
Stayton Boys Head Coach Joe Kiser, these rivialry games hype the kids up more than anything. The trick is to keep them within themselves during the game.
“We really don’t do anything different,” said Kiser. “I know these kids want to beat Cascade more than anything so I really have to make sure we’re not too overhyped about it. I have no doubt that they’ll show up, compete and play hard.
“We just want to treat it like another league game. Every league game is super important, we get ten and we have seven left so we don’t want to treat it no different.”
#17 EAGLES (8-7. 2-1 Oregon West Conference) VS #14 CASCADE (9-6, 2-1 OWC)
Stayton looks to continue the momentum from an incredible overtime victory over North Marion Tuesday Night when they open the ‘Rivalry Night’ doubleheader with Cascade at 5:30pm.
“We just have to treat Cascade like we did for North Marion and Central and go out there and give it our maximum effort because we know Cascade’s a good team,” described Matt Lindemann on how the Stayton Eagle can continue their winning ways.
The Cougar Men run something similar to what the Eagles run systemically said Kiser that will have them focusing on the scouting report a little more than usual.
“They run a lot of little quick hitters like us,” said Kiser. “So we’ll go through a little more on scouting report than we normally do but it’s only because of what they do.”
Lindemann said that’ll come down to defense and especially against senior guard John Schirmer and junior guard Tyler Walker.
“Schirmer and Walker are their two biggest scorers,” started Lindemann. “So we need to play some really good defense, set our feet and get our hands up and not allow them shoot wide open jump shots because they’ll knock them down.
“We need to play some really good defense.”
#12 LADY EAGLES (11-4, 2-1 OWC) VS #1 CASCADE (16-1, 3-0 OWC)
For the Lady Eagles, they’ll have their hands full with the Cougars Friday night following the guys game. Number one in-state and their lone loss came from Kamehameha of Hawaii to start the season.
Since that loss, the Cascade have held their last three opponents to under 30 points a game and hasn’t allowed a team to score more than 43 since Valley Catholics 53 point performance in January 8 54-52 Cougs win.
Stayton’s averaging just below 55 a game and both Anderson and Hollenbeck knows they need to come out with intensity and play smart on Friday Night’s Nightcap game.
“Just come out with intensity and don’t get into anything,” said Anderson on her end.
“We need to come out and play our game, we do,” said Hollenbeck. “ (Just) do all the little things and focus on us. They’re going to have a big crowd there, it’s going to be loud, and hot and crazy.
“Not get side tracked with any distractions, stay focused and steady on the path. The girls are prepared, they’re ready, they’re fired up and we’re ready to go.”
The girls game starts roughly at about 7:15pm at Cascade High School in Turner, following the guys game at 5:30pm.
.Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!