By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– With two returners coming back from last season’s 2017-2018 Cascade Boys Basketball team in Carson Molan and Brandon Starnes, the Cougars know that they’ll have their hands full entering this season in retooling their young squad after graduating eight Seniors and seeing Treyden Harris transfer to South Salem before the start of this season.
Outside of that, the Cascade squad is by far one of the shortest that Head Coach Steve Ball has fielded during his time in Turner with Molan at six-foot-one-inch, and though they’ll have to change their style of play that will present it’s own challenges going from a very tall team last season to this season.
“We’re going to have to learn how to be physical with the size that we have. We’re going to have to adjust how we adjust how we defend teams that have to bigger people, they’re going to have to adjust to our quickness and our shooting ability. So where they struggle in some aspects on the floor, we’ll hopefully excel in others,” starts Ball.
“We’re going to have to find ways to limit teams that have big’s and prevent them from being as effective as they can be.”
Ball admits that teams will use their height advantage against Cascade this season and it’s up to his Cougar players to be physical in challenging those Post players in beating them away from the basket.
In the Oregon West Conference alone, Philomath saw two six-foot-five sophomores who transferred in from Monroe in Carter and Hayden O’Hare that will probably compete well with the height that Stayton has with Kaleb Anundi and Riley Nichol. One of the two O’Hare’s is like a scrawnier version of Nichol in that he’s able to shoot the three while being able to pound to the basket and rebound.
And that’s not to mention as well going up one of the best guards from 3A that transferred to now-4A Woodburn in RJ Veliz, Veliz was at Blanchet Catholic and was a unanimous First Team All-State as a Junior last season that awaits Cascade when league begins in January.
Molan mentioned how important the preseason schedule is going to be to set them up for the OWC in finding their team chemistry, gelling as a squad and executing the game plan on a night-in and night-out basis.
“League is going to be pretty tough this year, preseason will help definitely,” said the sophomore Molan. “We got a lot of tough games in the preseason, so it’s going to be good to see how we’re going to play in the preseason to see how it’s going to shape up for us in league.”
For Molan and Starnes, they knew since last year that they’ll have to help lead this team in some form or another entering this season with how young they were going to be. But they are embracing that leadership role as the Varsity returners entering this season with the season starting in a week.
“It’s going to be tough for us, but I think we both are taking those roles on anyway. We knew since last year that we have to take on roles as leaders and I think we’ve stepped up nicely help lead this team so I think that’s an important part,” said Molan.
Cascade opens the season at Molalla Tuesday at 7pm before hosting Redmond next Saturday at 7pm to open the 2018-2019 season.