Cascade Christian High boys basketball coach Jerry Williams set up a difficult nonleague schedule, and the results are starting to pay off for the Cougars as they attempt to claim the 1A Nisqually League title.
With only five teams in the Nisqually League, Williams made the same choice he has every year in creating as competitive of a nonleague schedule to prepare Cascade Christian as it enters the league portion of the schedule.
“I set up the schedule that way on purpose, so that when we got to the league part of the schedule, they would be ready,” Williams said. “It was all to help them once we’ve reached the league season.”
After the Cougars defeated Seattle Christian, 51-43, on Friday at home, Cascade Christian (7-9 overall) moved into a share of first place with Vashon (9-7) as both teams own a 3-1 league record entering the week.
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Vashon owns the No. 1 seed out of the Nisqually after it beat Cascade Christian, 52-48, last Wednesday after the Cougars allowed the game to slip away to the Pirates.
“We played some games like that, but we’re too inconsistent right now,” Williams said. “But when we work hard, we’re a tough team to beat.”
Part of the Cougars’ strong response to their league as come from their 12-game nonleague schedule, where their opponents have a combined 115-86 overall record (.572 win percentage). The schedule included games against Class 3A Metro’s Eastside Catholic (11-5), 2B Pacific’s Life Christian Academy (16-1) and 4A NPSL member Kennedy Catholic (13-5).
“I was confident in my shot. We have championship practices all the time,” Tyler Fox said. “So we’re confident in our team, and my team was confident in getting me the ball. We got a win out of it.”
The Cougars started the season with a 3-8 record, but since then, they have pulled off a 3-1 league record and show no signs of slowing down.
With the flu bug hitting both boys and girls basketball teams hard, and with the boys team losing top scorer Dylan Cooley to the flu on Friday, Cascade Christian didn’t miss a beat in facing Seattle Christian (10-7, 3-2).
Without Cooley’s outside shot, the Cougars went to Fox, who had a game-high 19 points. Freshman Parker Johnson added 12 of his own as Cascade Christian used a second-half scoring spree to outscore the Warriors 34-26 to pick up the win.
“With Dylan (Cooley) out sick, someone had to fill in and do the job,” Johnson said.
With only one game this week — Cascade Christian hosts Charles Wright (6-10, 0-4) on Friday (Jan. 27) — the Cougars have some time to recoup and get healthy as they make their final push through the Nisqually League and into the playoffs.
“Coach always scheduled difficult teams for this reason, so when we get to league, we’re ready,” Fox said. “We’re mentally stronger and we can come out and play hard.”