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The Gazette KCRG
Posted February 8, 2013
HIGH SCHOOL JOURNALISM: Cascade more than just a team


Cascade's Austin Gehl (left), driving for the basket against North-Linn's Kyler Burkey earlier this year, calls his teammates his family. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Editor’s note: Here is your chance to tell your story about your team, your school or your favorite player. If you’d like to join The Gazette’s growing list of high school contributors, contact J.R. Ogden at jr.ogden@thegazette.com

By Nolan Weber, Cascade sophomore

CASCADE – The Cascade boys’ basketball team has been firing on all cylinders this season, averaging 62.1 points per game and giving up an average of only 29.1.

But it is more than an unbeaten basketball team at Cascade.  It is a family, a family of 15 players who grind it out every night no matter if it’s a basketball practice, a game or just hanging out around a TV playing NBA 2k13 on the Playstation.

The Cougars are anything but your normal run-of-the-mill team. They have players with nicknames that range from Scoop to Budda. There’s a Spoons and a Punky.

Up and down the roster you can find players with their own, original personality. One could have a 4.0 grade point average while the player sitting to his right could be writing music in his spare time and posting it on YouTube.

Cascade’s basketball team is a melting pot of personalities that have been melted down into one family. And that makes them great.

This year’s Cascade team is made up of eight seniors, five juniors, one sophomore and one freshman. An unlikely mix of players to have such great team chemistry because some  have never played with each other before this year. But unlike some larger school teams, like an Iowa City West where you may only see your teammates after school, the players at Cascade are almost guaranteed to see each other roaming the hallways during passing periods and at lunch.

This leads to great team chemistry because players always are  talking and keeping in touch with each other.

Cascade High School has a motto the basketball team uses – “better every day.” Each player has an obligation to his teammates to fulfill this motto and if one player is not fulfilling it, the others are there to pick him up and help him get on the right track.

“We’re all brothers and will stay together through anything,” senior captain Timmie Kleitsch said. “We all have each others backs and are willing to do anything for each other.”

Another senior captain, Austin Gehl, called his teammates “a second family.

” They mean a lot,” he said. “We all support each other through thick and thin. We grind it out in the gym everyday, no matter what. Each of us pushing each other to our maximum potential.”

Cascade  just finished a 16-0 conference season and the regular season at 21-0 with a win over Anamosa on Thursday. This is the first time since Cascade joined the Tri-Rivers Conference  for a team to go undefeated. This gives the Cougars tons of momentum for the rest of teh season. The Cougars hope to continue this success for the remainder of the regular season and into tournament, looking for a strip to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Miones for their second time in three years.

No matter what happens in the final regular-season game, the Cougars will take on the winner of Waterloo Columbus and Maquoketa Valley on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in Cascade. Then the winner of that game will proceed to play either Mount Vernon, Monticello or Alburnett at Western Dubuque on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.

“We’re getting better every game and that is exactly what you want to be doing at this time of the year,” senior Jared Manternach said. “Hopefully we can continue this trend and take care of business.”


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