COOS BAY — After losing the Class 4A showcase final to Marshfield last June, Cascade’s boys basketball team has been on a mission.
“Losing last year was horrible,” said Cascade senior Kellen Sande. “We have a mission to win (this year).”
The Cougars advanced to Saturday’s final against Junction City with a 57-46 win over Banks on Friday at Marshfield High School.
Cascade and the Tigers meet at 5:45 p.m.
“I’m excited to get back to the ‘chap’ just like last year,” Sande said of the title game after scoring 22 points and hitting four 3-pointers for Cascade.
The Cougars have a pair of great inside players, Ty Best and Dominic Ball, but on Friday it was Sande who hit a bunch of big shots to help fend off the Braves.
“We take what they’re giving us,” Sande said. “If they are crashing down on our bigs inside, they are smart enough to kick it out to us to hit big shots.”
Sande hit a 3-pointer as part of a game-opening 9-2 run and Cascade led the entire way.
“They came out and wanted it right off the bat,” said Cascade coach Calvin Molan. “They came with energy.”
Banks chipped away at the lead a number of times during the game, but Cascade always came up with big shots to get back in front.
That included Best scoring 22 points and grabbing nine rebounds inside and the Cougars also getting a number of transition hoops.
“We were able to create offensive opportunities from our defense,” Molan said, adding that the Cougars had to find ways for offense against the tough zone defense of the Braves.
“Banks does the best job we’ve seen all year of a 2-3 zone,” Molan said. “We had to create good shots.”
Having Sande go 4-for-7 from behind the arc helped.
“Kellen has been our leader all year offensively and defensively,” Molan said. “All of our leaders did a great job tonight.”
Cooper Gobel had 19 points and Ben Mayo had 12 for Banks, combining for seven 3-pointers.
The Braves will face league rival Seaside in the third-place game Saturday afternoon.
Cascade, meanwhile, will be going against Junction City, entering championship night on a 14-game win streak.
“I’m just proud of the boys and the way they’ve been playing,” Molan said. “We’ve been talking all year about getting to this point.
“We have some unfinished business.”
But the Cougars have been focused on not getting ahead of themselves.
“We’ve been talking about how the next game is the biggest,” Molan said.
Now they are going to the biggest game.