By Jeremy McDonald
SISTERS, Ore.– We were on pace for the same story, same verse Tuesday afternoon at Sisters High School.
It felt like a home game for Cascade, having played there playing the Outlaws once-a=year there in recent years, and it was against a familiar foe in Klamath Union. The Pelicans and Cougars met in the first-round of the 2020 playoffs, just days before the 4A-6A playoffs were canceled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic that was in its early days.
Cascade would reverse their fortune in this particular meeting, 55-41; but up until the final few minutes of this one, it was eerily similar to last year’s 69-68 defeat down in Klamath Falls.
The contest started with Cascade building a 35-13 lead by the 2:43 mark of the second quarter, only to see KU slowly march back into the game. 37-21 at half, 45-37 late in the third quarter. The Pelicans were on a familiar trek back in possibly pulling off another big comeback on the Cougs.
“Last year we did the same thing, we came out hard and we came out big early on them. Starting running, got a big lead,” Carson Molan starts. “But this time, we knew once we got that lead we needed to hold onto it. We gotta keep attacking, they’re a good team and could fight back from anything.
“Once we got it, it was like ‘ok, now we got to hang onto it’.”
Klamath Union started to attack Dominic Ball offensively, but the Junior giant went ‘no so fast my friend’ with a few blocks and made life difficult. Offensively, he and Kellen Sande each helped keep Cascade afloat during the Pelican attack with five second half points each.
His dunk with 4:21 left in the game rejuvenated his team and the Cougar Student Section that made the two-plus hour voyage over the hill for the game. With Deschutes County being in Low Risk, capacity was 50-percent and it felt like a regular playoff game.
“It was important. It would’ve become a game decider on who would slack off too much, they would go back into it and it would’ve been a repeat of last year,” Ball said. “It was nice. We definitely wanted it and we really wanted to get this back.”
Free Throws and baskets from Ball, Molan and Sande helped keep Cascade ahead down the stretch. The chants of ‘I believe that we will win’ began in the final minute with the Cougars punching their ticket to Coos Bay this weekend.
Molan embraced fellow Senior Jake Bertsch after the win, the two Senior and Justus Bischoff will have that one last ride into the sunset together. Knowing how important this moment is for them as well as their program.
“It’s amazing honestly because last year they took us out of the tournament that didn’t end up happening. It was a little sad, a little frustrating that as soon as we found out it was KU, we were talking revenge, revenge, revenge,” “We wanted them. We wanted to beat them so bad, so this is probably my most memorable moment in my High School career so far.”
Sande finished with a game-high 19 points, Molan finished with 16 points and Ball contributed 11 points.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald