By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– There’s something special about this Cascade Middle School eighth-grade team, there’s no doubt or surprise about it.
The talent and ability has been evitied since seventh-grade when they had their first school undefeated season.
Now as eighth-graders, entering their last home game before going to the High School-level, they had one more opportunity to put on a show for the home-crowd one last time before closing out the season in Newport; and against a team that held a 9-3 lead on them early on in the season:
French Prairie, the feeder school for Woodburn and some of North Marion High School.
To start the game, it seemed as if it’ll be as interesting as the first-time they played as Brooke Worst scored the first eight points of the game to the Lady Spartans five, the six-foot-one-inch eighth-grader went on to finish with a team-high 13 points and five rebounds, finishing second to Caidence Urquhart who led the team with six rebounds with her six points.
The game remained around the four-to-six point range depending on the exact time of the basket, but by the 3:20 mark of the game when French Prairie cut it to 16-12 until when Bailey Pedersen converted a ‘And-One’, three-point play that put Cascade up 19-12, both team’s struggled to land a shot as each side tallied up the rebounds totals.
“It was really intense, it was kind of a struggle at first but once we started to get into the fastbreaks, we just started going and once we started getting it to Brooke, she was making them,” said Pedersen who had 11 points in Wednesday afternoon’s game.
As Pedersen eluded too, those fastbreaks became normal once more as they entered the second half up 21-12 as Kenna Coleman’s deep two, two of her four points, sparked a 22-2 third quarter run that helped secure the momentum in total control for Cascade in their 58-16 victory.
Anna Wilson scored eight, Kyonna Collins, Jaimy Bangert and Urquhart all had six points. Natalee Federico and Coleman both had four points each in the win. Bangert also had four rebounds in the game.
“It really got us pumped up out there, it really brought our energy back up to make a lot of those outside shots and have those amazing passes into me, it really helps and it helps the second half to keep us going and fired up to know that we can keep going and push ourselves harder than we usual do,” said Worst, who had five points in the second half after scoring those eight points early in the game.
“It’s truly amazing because we’ve been undefeated and we’re trying to go out this year like we did last year,” Pedersen said of winning their last home game of the season. “It’s really good because we’re going to 5A and we’re going to need the tough competition to play them.”
Already thinking ahead of schedule, I’m expecting that to be music to Mark Stevens ears if he hears that knowing that his future ballers are eager to carry this momentum into his program on the other side of the campus.
But for Mr. Stevens, there’s still one more game left before he takes over the eighth-grade class. They want 26-0. Finish it off in style. Build some momentum for High School.
And it comes down to what’s been making them successful as they look for 26-0:
“Definitely being a team out there and playing our hardest and not letting anything get to our heads.” said Worst.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald