By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– Nick Randall has been around the game of basketball what seems like forever. Coaching at his Alma Mater at North Medford and Phoenix before making the move up to the Salem-area.
Bumping into Cascade legendary coach Mark Steven’s four years ago, Randall joined the Cougar Girls Basketball program. Learning the ins-and-outs of not just the community, but also of the program too before he took over the program going into this season.
Speaking highly of Stevens and how the former coach helped him adjust and how his old school coaching style inspired him going into his second week of being the Head Coach.
“It was the same culture. That culture of hard work and gritty. How Stevens coached, it felt like how my High School coach coached me and it was an easy fit,” Randall describes. “And it was so nice to learn underneath him, somebody that has been here for so long. He knows how the community works, so all the ins-and-outs of the youth program and this and that. How the school works and he’s an old school guy, and that’s how I am and I kind of like those.
“He was like, ‘this is how it’s done and we’re going to do it this way and that’s how my coach coached me and it was refreshing almost to get back to that old school feel.”
The team has the feels of four years ago when Ariel Tobassion’s group entered High School being a really young team as they enter the season. Granted they return Meah Carley from last year’s State Tournament appearance team and had Maddie Dustin, who was a Mountain Valley Conference first-teamer with South Salem last year as a sophomore, to anchor and lead the team.
“Being the only returner, I’m excited to be a leader out there. But I’m really excited for the new girls coming up, we got a very talented group coming up. They’re a little bit younger, but the girls coming up are super talented,” Carley starts. “We got a transfer coming in name Maddie Dustin, she’s a stud. I’m excited to have her on the team too.”
Dustin spent the last two seasons on the Varsity-level with the Saxons, but was already playing like an upperclassman last season as she enters this new adventure as a Cougar.
“I feel like it’s going to be a tough role to just come in and be a leader for the team having not been here before. So I think it’ll be really good for me to be in that leader position,” Dustin said. “Meah is the only senior and we’re going to work together to lead the young girls.”
Of the younger girls, Randall spoke highly of the younger girls and of his junior class as he looks to find where everyone will fit in and contribute with their season starting November 30 against Seaside at home.
.Photos By Jeremy McDonald