By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– There was a picture of Cascade Kellen Sande circulating on Instagram following Cascade’s 4A State Title Win with a variation of a line of ‘He did it. He lived up to the promise’.
The picture. From Sande’s junior year, he’s sitting down. Head down, broken hand he played the final three quarters with against Marshfield. The Cougars lost the 4A State Title Showcase game to the Pirates in the 2021 season and Sande vowed that his senior year, this past year, would be different.
They’ll win it for the seniors from the year before. And they did just that.
Justice Bischoff. Jake Bertsch and Carson Molan. The latter was there Tuesday afternoon, joining his former teammates in Sande and Dom Ball in signing to play basketball at Chemeketa Community College.
“A lot of hard work…the promise was to win the State Championship my senior year and I want to do it for Carson and all the seniors. Jake and Justice and after losing that junior year, it was horrible. One of my worst heartbreaks of my life,” describes Sande. “Senior year…Just grinding it all year.
“We came together as a team. Wanted it the whole time and won it.”
Molan spoke about the brotherhood. The Brotherhood was the battle cry for the Cougars and they took it to the next level this past Winter.
All the hard work and sacrifice through the years led to that 42-30 win against Junction City to cap a 22-3 year and bringing home the first State Title since the 1970’s.
“It’s really nice. It’s a really good basketball memory and really good journey in general. It’s something I’ll hold on to,” said Ball.
The quiet seven-footer points to hoping to use the next year or two to continue to develop his skills for a possible future at the four-year level.
“Definitely gonna have to get stronger. I’m going to try to put a lot of effort into the weight room and a lot of effort onto the basketball court to improve at the college level,” Ball said.
For Sande, it’s awesome to see the trio coming back together. His hope is to help back the NWAC Championship to Chemeketa and Salem as Sande, Ball and Molan all embark on the brotherhood one more time together. Especially with Molan, who he looks at like a brother.
“It’s awesome. It’s going to be fun,” Sande said. “I missed playing with Carson this year. At the beginning of the year was like, ‘oh man this is tough.’ He’s been like my older brother through the three years, he’s always been there for me. He’s been like a brother to me on the court.”
“I’m ecstatic. I get to keep playing with them for a while and I’m excited to keep playing with them as long as I can,” adds Ball on playing with Molan and Sande.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald