Junior High Badgers End Season with 10-2 Mark


Ketochi photo by Kodiann Lynn

The Cascade Badgers junior high boys' basketball team placed third at last weekend's District 10-C tournament. Back row (l-r) Rocky Day, head coach Ashley Tait, Trayden Tait, Ricky Day, James Lewis, Brodie Ober, assistant coach James Lewis. Front row (l-r): Carter Otheim, Caiden Sekuterski, Carter Casavant, Chase LeVeque, Tyler Lane, Nathan Gatch.

Trayden Tait, Staff Writer

The word ‘relentless’ means oppressively constant and incessant.

Before the 2019 junior high boys’ basketball season began, head coach Ashley Tait chose this word as the theme for this year’s team, and the team set a goal to win the district tournament.

Though the team ultimately didn’t reach its goal, the players were relentless in their effort and were rewarded with a 10-2 season record and a third-place finish at the District 10-C tournament in Fairfield this past weekend.

Cascade 46, Sunburst 41

The Badgers’ first game was a little too close for comfort, but they pulled out the 46-41 victory over Sunburst in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Eighth-grade guard Trayden Tait led the Badgers in scoring with 17 points, while fellow eighth-grader and backcourt mate James Lewis added 16 in the victory.

The Badgers started the game off hot and jumped to a quick 7-0 lead over the Wildcats. The Badgers would maintain this lead for the rest of the quarter and end the period up 15-6. Both teams scored 11 points in the second quarter, and the Badgers led at halftime by the score of 26-17.

The Wildcats cut into the Badger’s lead in the second half, but the Badgers would maintain a steady two-possession cushion the whole half to win 46-41. Brodie Ober had an incredible game-high 16 rebounds to help the Badgers in the win, which placed the Badgers into a semifinal matchup against the Heart Butte Warriors.

“We didn’t play well, but we played well enough to win,” said Coach Tait.  “Sometimes, there can be a bit of a let down after beating an opponent easily, but Sunburst is well coached, and they were ready to play.”

Ketochi photo by KodiAnn Lynn
Eighth-grader Brodie Ober snags one of his six rebounds against Valier in the consolation game of the District 10-C junior high boys’ basketball tournament this past weekend in Fairfield.

Heart Butte 66, Cascade 54

On Friday the Badgers started the game off with some sloppy defense, and let the Warriors hit eight three-pointers in the first quarter. The Badgers would outscore the Warriors 42-40 the rest of the way, but Heart Butte’s 26-12 first quarter lead proved too big of a hurdle for the Badgers to climb. The game would end in a disappointing 66-54 loss for the Badgers.

Lewis and Tait led the Badgers in scoring again with 25 and 19, respectively. Lewis ended the game with his second straight double-double of the tournament, as he had 10 rebounds to go along with his impressive scoring.

“I was disappointed in our effort defensively in that first quarter,” said Coach Tait, “but we haven’t played a team like Heart Butte all season.  We are not used to teams that can shoot so well from the outside.  We outscored them over the final three quarters, but that first quarter was a killer.”

Ketochi photo by KodiAnn Lynn
Eighth-grader Ricky Day shoots for two in Cascade’s 54-38 victory over Valier.

Cascade 68, Foothills 29

The Badgers went into Saturday with a new mentality. If they couldn’t win the tournament, then they knew they had to go after third place with everything they had. That is exactly what they did.

They played the first of their two Saturday games against the Foothills Falcons to earn a place in the consolation game against the winner of the Sunburst and Valier game.

The Badgers used their tough pressure defense to jump out early on the Falcons for a 24-7 first quarter lead. The Badgers would dominate the Falcons for the rest of the game and finish with a dominant 68-29 victory.

Lewis again filled up the stat sheet with his third straight double-double. He had 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 4 steals. Tait added 20 points in the win.

“It was important for these boys to rebound from the disappointment of losing to Heart Butte the night before,” said Coach Tait.  “I’ve been talking to them all season about the fact that unselfish people are able to adapt and adjust when things don’t go their way, and my players responded with a huge victory on Saturday morning.”

Ketochi photo by KodiAnn Lynn
Eighth-grader James Lewis surveys the floor in Cascade’s win over Valier.

Cascade 54, Valier 38

Only an hour after their win over Foothills, the Badgers were warming up for their consolation game against the Valier Panthers, a game that would end in a 54-38 victory for Cascade.

The Badgers would start the game with an 11-5 first quarter lead and never let the Panthers seriously challenge them the rest of the way.  Tait scored seven of his team-high 19 points in the quarter.  A 15-11 second quarter gave Cascade a 26-16 edge at halftime.  Valier tried to stay with the Badgers in the third, hitting their only two three-pointers of the game, but Cascade held a 40-28 lead after three.  In the fourth, Lewis dropped in nine of his 18 points, and the Badgers made shots down the stretch to keep Valier at bay.  Tait and Lewis combined for 15 rebounds, eight assists, and five steals as they once again led their team to victory.

“This group of eighth graders will definitely be missed as they move on to high school,” said Coach Tait.  “They are the spark that will hopefully light a fuse in our younger players to continue what this group began, which is expecting excellence and doing what it takes to achieve it.”