Improving His Game

By Jeremy McDonald

TURNER, Ore.–  It’s been a slow progression for Cascade’s Kellen Sande entering his Junior Year.

Freshman year, he was the Cougars sixth-man as a freshman before becoming a starter his sophomore season.  But with his sophomore season, it was a less-than-ideal performance with the feeling of underperforming on a Cascade team that went 18-7 overall and 8-4 in the Oregon West Conference. 

The OWC sent five teams to at least a play-in game in 2019-2020 before the Coronavirus Pandemic canceled the remainder of the postseason with two of the five squads in the 4A State Quarterfinals.

But mix in the quarantine, plus the feelings of how he did as a sophomore, he’s been taking advantage of this time to work on his game like many other basketball players during this time.

Putting in work with Begin and Johnathan Watts.  Cascade-grad Tyler Walker has helped him with the little skills like dribbling and finishing while reflecting on what he still needs to work on moving forward.

“I’ve been working all quarantine and summer with my trainers who have pushed me to over perform my junior year and huge shoutout to Coach (Jacob) Begin on the basketball workouts and coach watts are helping get bigger and stronger,” said Sande.  “I need to still work on my leadership skills and feeling more comfortable with that role. Looking forward to working with Coach (Travis) Newton and (Calvin) Molan on that.

“Quarantine has made miss basketball so much but I’ve gotten the opportunity to play almost every weekend this summer because of my AAU AAP great organization ran by Drew Dunsworth.”

Cascade as a team, finished tied for second in the Oregon West Conference at 8-4 with Woodburn while going 18-7 in 2019 (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Like many Oregon players, Sande had to go to other states to get some live reps since the sport is currently prohibited for being a ‘contact sport’.  But as Sande has pointed out, it has made him appreciate the game more because of having to travel to compete.  Dedication to the craft some would call it.

The last weekend or two, the Junior had played with some of his Cascade teammates.  The squad itself went 5-0 in their last run.  The leadership traits, improving.

“The way we played last weekend we all were just playing very good basketball by moving the ball running in transition, setting picks just had a fun time playing basketball,” Sande said.  “(The Leadership) is coming good I feel like I just need to use my voice more and playing with Carson Molan who is just a stud me and him normally see eye to on everything we just need to express to our teammates.

“It’s very fun we all get along very well and play very well together.  We’re all expecting a huge season out of Dominic Ball too…(It’s)very important going to absorb as much as I can practicing with my guys cause this could be our last time.”

Molan was OWC Player of the Year and a first-team selection in the shortened-season last year. Davis was also a first-teamer for the Cougars.  And with the uncertainty of what is to come, it’s just a matter of putting in the work when he can in the coming weeks in hopes of a season.

“Just keep working hard with my trainers and eat well and work on my leadership these next weeks in practice,” said Sande.


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