By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Cascade tore the game open in the second quarter against Stayton, using the momentum from Kellen Sande’s buzzer beating three-pointer to turn a 16-14 lead into an 34-18 lead with 2:17 left int othe half in their 73-65 win over the Eagles Tuesday night.
But, rivalry games and with it being the Oregon West Conference where madness does thrive on itself, madness was lurking around somewhere waiting to arrive. And surely the madness train arrived over the course of the final two minutes where the Eagles chipped away at the deficit, making it an manageable 38-29 run following Gabe Wigginton’s And-One opportunity in the closing seconds of the half.
“First quarter, we prefer it going a lot better. So we came back with it in the second quarter while we needed that energy in the first if we wanted to stay comfortable in the game,” Cascade’s Dom Ball of the explosion to start the second quarter.
“We just changed up our offense a little bit and it was working really good. We were being more aggressive again and we were playing like ourselves,” adds Stayton’s Garrett Callsen about the Eagle rally.
For much of the remainder of the game, it was a stalemate. Cascade couldn’t pull away with Stayton riding that momentum from how the second quarter ended and the Eagles couldn’t cut the deficit down to less than six points.
The closest that Stayton got was 65-60 with 49.4 seconds following Jacob Axmaker’s three-pointer. In a game like this where a good run could make-or-break you, it was important to stay mentally with it as Sande and Ty Best answered the bell with some free throws in the final minutes to help perseve the eight-point victory. The win puts the Cougars 7-1 in OWC play, keeping pace with Philomath ontop of the conference standings.
“It was huge man (staying with it). After their 9-2 run at the end of the second quarter, we went into the locker room and say ‘guys, we want to come out. We want to run, we got to play defense’ and we did that really well,” Sande said.
Sande finished with 18 points, Ball contributed 14 and Best led the way for Cascade with 20 points. Axmaker led Stayton with 34 points. Callsen and Wiggington each added 10 for the Eagles, who travels to Sweet Home Friday before Woodburn on Tuesday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald