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2/1/2013 2:17:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
Photo by Kacie Thrift
From left, Keith Boyd, Glenn Johnson, and Matt Caples sit side-by-side as they coach during the Cashmere boys’ basketball game against the Cascade Kodiaks. On Jan. 22, Boyd made his return to the team after being absent for a few weeks due to an emergency surgery. Johnson, who is not a regular member of the coaching staff, stepped in to help at the request of Coach Boyd.
Photo by Kacie Thrift
Dylan Boyd during his first game with his dad and head coach, Keith Boyd, back. Dylan Boyd said when his dad became sick and missed the game against Okanogan, it was the first time his dad had not been there to coach him since the third grade.
Coach Boyd back on the bench
Kacie Thrift
Staff Writer

A few hours before the Cashmere boys basketball team played against the undefeated Okanogan Bulldogs, players received the message their head coach, Keith Boyd, wouldn't be at the game.

For the head coach's son, Dylan Boyd, this would be the first basketball game since third grade his dad wasn't there to coach him. Seniors Jordan Christensen and Coleman McElroy have been coached every high school career game by Boyd. Other players like Casey Ruether, Dawson Taylor, and Connor Badgley have grown up with Boyd's influence as a coach since they were in AAU.

As the athletes started showing up to the gym on Jan. 5 for their game, they were told by the assistant coaches Boyd was sick and wouldn't make it.

"It was different not having my dad there but I felt like I needed to step up a little more as a leader and make sure everyone played like we would play if he was here," Dylan Boyd said.

Jordan Christensen, captain, said he knew coach Boyd had prepared them the night before at practice to beat Okanogan. With their coach in the back of their minds, Cashmere won 85-57, their first win of the six game winning streak.

That night, Keith Boyd started to feel worse and by Sunday [Jan. 6] morning he was admitted to the hospital with a ruptured appendix.

Jan. 8 would prove to be another competitive game for the team as they faced Brewster, another top four CTL team, without their head coach. At this point, the team knew their coach would be okay but he was still in the hospital.

"Keith has established a great program. The reality was he asked me for help and since I am familiar with what they do so I started to help with coaching," said Cashmere Superintendent Glenn Johnson.

As Keith Boyd sat in his hospital bed, he listened to the game online. It was a close game, but it became another proud moment for the head coach as the game ended with his son making important steals and the team working together to win 60-55.

"He [Keith] was definitely in the back of our minds that Brewster game. It was a tough game, they [Brewster] played hard but it was definitely a motivating factor of coach isn't here lets get the win for him," Christensen said.

As Keith Boyd continued to heal, the team continued to play inspired and take the victories over Omak, Quincy, and Tonasket.

Johnson and assistant coaches Levi Heyen and Steele Sykes attribute the wins to the great program Keith has built over the years and the dedication of the players. Keith, however, says the wins are attributed to everyone involved.

"What makes a good business? Surround yourself with good people. Hire the best, I did that. Coach Heyen communicates with the kids wonderfully, Johnson has stuck his neck out for this, Sykes takes care of me and these guys, and the kids are all great," Keith said.

"This was all a group effort. When you can combine Steele, Glenn, Heyen and a great group of kids who have been in the system for a numbers, it starts rolling."

After five days in the hospital, Boyd was released but unable to start coaching and teaching again. He would make a few appearances at practice to see the team but the doctor wasn't ready to let him be in a high stress situation like a game.

On Jan. 22 Boyd was able to watch his team on the sidelines for the first time in weeks. In the best defensive game the team has played all season, the Bulldogs beat Cascade 69-25 at home.

Boyd said it was great to watch the boys play as a team and that watching his team work that hard makes his stomach heal. After the six game winning streak the team headed to Okanogan, the No. 1 team in the league and lost. The winning streak ended but Boyd said he is proud of the team's success and is ready to finish up the regular season and go into the playoffs where the wins really matter.

With the previous success over the last few weeks, coaches and players of the Cashmere boys basketball team are confident Boyd has built a winning program. However, the teams goals aren't finished yet.

"Our main goal started at the beginning of the season and it's to put another one of those things up there," Keith Boyd said as he pointed to the state Championshiop titles on the gym wall. "I'm just happy to be back though and I am proud of all the kids and coaches who have stepped up. That's not a credit on me, that's a credit on them."

For the athletes on the team, it's a good feeling to have their head coach back. Captains Dylan Boyd and Christensen said the team is on a roll and they want to work hard to be the best team they can.

"The past four years he [Keith] has taught me to pay hard. You can't control shooting and variables like that but you can control attitude and effort so as long as you give those 100 percent we're doing good," Christensen said.

This Thursday, the team will play against the Brewster Bears on the road to see where they stand in the league. They played against Chelan on Tuesday but results were unavailable at press time.

"I think people only see part of a program and part of a team. But these people spend a lot of time with these players and not just in sports but in drama, music and all school activities," Johnson said. "These people spend a lot of time and build a relationship with the kids. When a member of that group isn't there they want to play hard honor him. It's been fun being a part of this program and it's neat to see they care about each other and they care about him."

Kacie Thrift may be reached 782-3781 or

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