By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– It’s been a full-circle trip for new Cascade Coach Justin Amaya. Ten-plus years ago Amaya joined then Head Coach Steve Ball as a JV2 coach, where he coached for a few years before heading to Amity to be the Warriors Head Coach before eventually returning to the Cougars a few years ago.
Now, after the departure of Calvin Molan, Amaya has stepped in as Head Coach of the Cascade Boys Basketball program going into this upcoming season.
“The opportunities coaching at the Middle School, helping Steve, helping Mark Stevens and just being a part of the Athletics has been a great opportunity for myself and my family and the youth in our community,” Amaya said. “The one thing about me is that I put the kids first and I’ll always put the Cascade kids first if they do it the right way.
“So it’s been a circle and an opportunity for me to come back and I’m excited for it.”
Amaya was brought on going into the Summer Basketball season, where the Cougars played in four-games at the Capital Fieldhouse (formerly The Hoop) last weekend and were part of the Small School Showcase. The Small School Showcase was something that they, at Cascade, were hosted as they started things off against 3A powerhouse Dayton Saturday morning.
Interestingly enough, Ron Hop and Amaya had some battles back when Amaya was coaching at Amity in the old West Valley League conference before both the Pirates and Warriors moved to the PacWest Conference in recent years.
Physical as it was, the Cougars defeated the Pirates 58-47 in the clash between the two former league coaches. Amaya spoke highly of the Dayton coach as Amaya kicked off his tenure at Cascade High School
“Ron and I had a couple of battles when I was coaching at Amity. He’s a really good coach and I admire what he has done with his coaching career at Dayton. That’s a really well-coached team we played today and we’re super talented,” said Amaya. “We’re learning on the fly right now and keeping it simple for Summer so we can be successful with what we have, but we want these tough games.
“These tough games prepare us for next year. The more competitive Summer is, the more opportunity there is for myself and the players to mesh and gel with how we could look next year.”
Cascade wraps up the Small School Showcase Sunday at Cascade High School.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald