By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– Last year was a good learning experience for Rogue Newton as he saw his junior season end prematurely, tearing his ACL in the Cougars Overtime defeat to Marshfield in the fourth-game of the year in 2021. Four games into what was to be a promising season for the now-senior as he had to watch his team and teammates navigate through a historic season that saw Cascade end their State Championship drought in the process.
But all-in-all, he remained positive. The scrappy guard couldn’t be on the court so he was the spark-plug on the bench. Supporting his team off-the-court since he could not be physically on the court with them.
“It was really disappointing, I had a tough time accepting the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to play any sports for a full year, but I found my new role with the team pretty fast. I think that helped both me and our teammates figure it right out,” describes Newton on the new role. “It was huge for me, because if I didn’t fulfill that role then I’ll be too focused on me not being in the game. So I tried to stay as involved in the game as I could but not being in it. Being that hype man on the bench, that was the way I found out how I could help the team the most.
“I never try to be a downer. I’m always trying to be someone that’s upbeat is something I’ve always worked hard to be…you don’t really see that as much because I’m usually on the floor, but being off the floor and having no other way to impact the game, that was obviously the thing I could do so that showed a lot more.”
Now healthy, Newton is ready to go. Cleared doing football season, where he was a running back for the Cougars in years past before sitting out his senior season and turning his focus to basketball, the guard is one of the few returners from that State Championship winning team going into this year. Him and the Horne twins of Sam and Spencer return while Roman Farrell, Jackson Walsh, Kaiden Ford and Coleton Urquhart saw some minutes in the State Tournament as will return. Landon Knox, who helped nearby Crosshill Christian to a third-place finish in 1A last while averagine 26.6 points a game in the three-games State Tournament in Baker City as a freshman last year, will add some offense lost with Kellen Sande graduating with the season starting in two-weeks.
But thanks to some off-season games with Summer League, they’re just using the next few practices to polish up the team chemistry before they tip it off against Seaside on November 30.
“Our team chemistry is already through the roof, even with the new additions that we have this year. So I think we’re going to start off the season really strong because no one else has really worked as hard as we have,” Newton said. “We just can’t expect to win every game. We can never go into a game thinking that we have already won it before the game even started. We got to play like how we always do and prove to everyone else that we do deserve that number-one seed.”
After opening up the season with their home opener, the Cougars host Central on December 2 before going on the road to play Lebanon on December 9.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald