By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Cascade were on an absolute mission Wednesday afternoon to close out the Capitol City Classic against John Paul II of Texas.
They jumped out on the 6A Texas State Private School Champions 20-9 after the first quarter, being 16 points from Spencer Horne and led by as much as 20 points during the second quarter of their 73-59.
The fire, the passion, the drive was all there as the defending 4A Oregon State Champions wanted to prove that their loss to defending 5A State Champions Wilsonville was a fluke. Using that anger as fuel for this big game.
But even then, Cascade wasn’t getting comfortable knowing how well this Cardinals team is and showed as their lead was reduced to eight by the fourth quarter. The lead felt tight even when it was in double-figures, more so once it got below ten points and the John Paul II Cardinals were swinging momentum into their favor.
“I was getting nervous there, I’m glad we pulled through. Our bench came in and stepped up. Without that, I don’t think we can pull it off,” Cascade’s Horne said. “We were really pissed off about the Wilsonville game, we came out flat and we wanted to show that it was a fluke. So we came out hard and we had a good game plan today and we executed,” Horne said. “I was trying to prove that we’re one of the best (teams) in Oregon, that we’re a valid team. I was trying to come out and make my teammates better.”
The Cougars remained calm, cool and collected as they paced with John Paul II. Surviving the ambush that their opposition threw their way with physicality and high-paced ability to put an end to the two-game skid that they were on. It was a mindset that they channeled from their Central win to start off the tournament. A mindset that helped them to the finish line in this one as they found a way in getting it done.
“We didn’t want to keep the losing streak going. We lost our first two in our last 20 or so games and we didn’t want to keep that going, so we came out knowing we had to come out strong like we did against Central with the same mindset that we did,” Rogue Newton said.
Horne finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Cameron Merks led John Paul II with 14 points and three steals as each team had three players record in double-figures in points.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald