TURNER, Ore.– It came down to free throws for Cascade to finally get back into the win column Friday versus Tillamook as Tyler Walker hit four huge free throws after the Cheesemakers made a late second half run.
By halftime, the Cougars was rolling as they built a massive 41-26 lead as they enter the halftime break.
“We pride ourselves on coming out strong,” said Walker who scored a team-high 18 points on the nice little start they had. “We need to do a better job coming out strong in the second half. Second half we we’ve been coming out slow, but I think we’re progressing.”
They came out and sustain their lead, but Tillamook found a groove as Cascade seemed to relax a little bit with the Cougar lead at 15 during the third quarter.
Soon enough, it was down to single-digits late into the fourth quarter.
But the youthful Cascade squad stayed strong, something that is growth said Head Coach Steve Ball as his team fought back the Cheesemakers with the clock winding down.
“It’s growth,” said Ball. “And that’s what we’re looking for. Just conintue the process and just keep better each game and getting a close game like that is good experience for them. It’s a lot different, a big point advantage, there’s not as much pressure. But for these guys to face a pressure situation like that right now is good experience to be able to finish it and come away with a win.”
As it came down to the wire, Walker hit his first two free throws to put the Cougars up four, Damian Ball rebounds a shot, only to have Tillamook get the ball back a little further up the court a second later in a scramble with 10.4 seconds left.
But, a bad Cheesemaker inbound pass that went out of the bounds gave Cascade the ball and with an intentional foul to Walker iced the game with another two-for-two free throws.
“I just know my teammates got trust in me,” said Walker. “I know coach wants me with the ball at the end of the game. So, my teammates gave me the confidence at the end of the game.”
As time expired, there was excitement in knowing their four-game losing streak that came to an end.
“Oh it feels good,” smiled Walker. “We had a tough four-game losing streak. I think all of us know, we have a tough start that’s all I could really say; but we are getting better and we’ll proceedto get better everyday.”
Even their was a sign of relief from the big man himself as they walk away from the game on top as they prepare for Valley Catholtic.
“We needed a win badly,” “And I was really pleased with how we started that first half, the guys came out firing. We did a really good job trapping and moving and pushing the tempo a little bit. Made good plays and found guys for open looks.
“Second half, Tillamook responded back and got out in transition. We gambled a little bit too much at the wrong situations and they got a lot of lay-ins out of it, so we have to do a little better job of our transition defense. First half we rebounded well, we had 16 boards first half, we had eight second; but that was because they were getting lay-in’s. But very pleased, very pleased with how we finished the game out. Tillamooks’ a good program, they fought back and well coached.”
Cougar Scorers- Walker-18. Icovino-10. Ball-8.Schnapp-7.Beckman-6. Stormo-5. Osuna-4. Suelzle-3. Harris-2. Morlan-2.