The First Hundo-Wins

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

TURNER, Ore.-  “It just means you’ve been around for a while,” smiles Cascade Head Coach Justin Amaya. “I was thinking about that, but what it really comes down to is being fortunate enough to be around talent and kids who understand the game of basketball. Having some really good assistant coaches.”

For Amaya, the last eight years as Varsity Head Coach have been a trip. He’s seen success at Amity High School before taking over at Cascade High School this year, having the Cougars sitting at 2-0 on the season following their 58-47 win over Central.

Every group has been special leading up to Amaya’s 100th victory, being familiar with The Panther Pit with the 3A Warriors having used the gym before for District Tournaments going into the postseason.  It was a Homecoming of sorts as he achieved the Coaching Milestone.

Especially with a Cascade program he started off his coaching journey all those years ago.

“It means a lot for it to happen here.  This group, it’s a special group and I’m looking forward to being here for many years to come,” Amaya said.

It’s been three days since the victory, Amaya speaking highly of Dean Sanderson’s squad as Cascade and the Panthers went neck-and-neck in a battle expected to be between two Top teams in 4A and 5A respectively.

Sanderson’s squad led by a few in the second half before Amaya’s Cougars answered the bell to take the victory.  Amaya points to his team being more relaxed than in their season-opener against Seaside on November 30.   Playing like they practiced, defending the right way, doing the little things right.  Going about the game the way they wanted it to be.  

For Amaya, he saw a difference between the Seaside and Central games in terms of nerves for his Cascade squad.

Amaya and the Cascade team following the win against Central, Amaya’s 100th as Varsity Head Coach (Picture provided by Cascade Basketball)

“You know what’s funny.  We were just up watching film, the Central film, and the boys and I were talking today.  We all agreed that we were more nervous about that Seaside game.  More so myself.  We have a lot of expectations on this group and we don’t talk about winning the Championship or winning the League Title,” Amaya starts. “We’re talking about taking it one-game-at-a-time and getting better each game,” starts Amaya.

“And then you get to that Central game felt good.  It felt good seeing the boys respond to that intensity, that environment.  It was a whole different game than from Seaside, the nerves were gone for Central.  We were zoned in, so was the Central kids.  They played really hard, they wanted that game as badly as we did.”

And once the battle was over and Amaya went into the locker room, someone had tipped off the players prior to his entrance of the milestone, because they were ready to celebrate the hundo-burger win total with their coach in the locker room.

“I didn’t know that the kids knew.  There were a couple of parents who did the research and must’ve told the boys (because) after the Central game, I went into the locker room and they showered me with love.  Chanting ‘100’ over-and-over-and-over,” Amaya starts.  “It really caught me off-guard and it meant a lot that they cared to show that appreciation for that milestone.  Players know, they understand that…as much as it meant to me, it meant as much to them to be a part of that.”

Monday’s practice was a light shoot-around, working on their free throws as Cascade won’t have a game until Friday when they travel to Lebanon to take on the Warriors.  The second in a four-game road trip going into the Capitol City Classic on December 17.

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