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home : schools & sports : schools

12/11/2013 3:13:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 

Photo by Sebastian Moraga
This is the 2013-14 Cashmere High School varsity boys’ basketball team. Front row, from left: Adan Farias, Dylan Boyd, Jesse Jaspers and Mason Elliott. Back row, from left: Cooper Green, Hunter Read, Connor Badgley, Casey Ruether and Parker Landdeck.
Cashmere seeking to improve on successful 2012-13 campaign

Sebastian Moraga
Staff writer

It's dome or bust for the Cashmere boys' basketball team.

With the state sixth-place finish from 2012-13 still fresh in their memories, the 2013-14 squad begins its quest to return to the Yakima SunDome.

The man leading that charge was there for that deep run into the post-season, albeit as an assistant. Now the team's head coach, Levi Heyen said this team has what it takes for another showing at state.

Heyen replaced Keith Boyd at the helm of the program, but he said that he and his predecessor share plenty of common basketball ground.

"It's pretty smooth transition for the kids, because Coach Boyd and I are very similar in our basketball philosophies," Heyen said. "The goal is to teach the kids how to play basketball. Instead of running a whole bunch of plays, we want to teach them to play the game and then at game time, we let 'em go out there and make plays."

They will need to make plays against this year's Caribou Trail League. The CTL champs Okanogan -fourth in state- have all but one starter back from last year, when they won 25 games.

Brewster started three freshmen last year and still made the playoffs, so they will be even tougher now that the team is older, Heyen said. Those two are the main teams to beat if Cashmere wants to snag a league crown and earn another trip to Yakima.

"It's always the goal," he said. "To get to the Dome and see what happens once you get there."

Cashmere brings three starters back from 2012, Mason Elliott, Casey Ruether and Dylan Boyd. On top of that, last year's sixth man Connor Badgley is a senior and a starter this year.

"We have some good, solid senior leadership," he said. "A real experienced group." Both Boyd and Ruether are on their fourth year as starters, Heyen added.

"Some of these guys played football," Heyen said. "So they know how to win." The team is not huge, but it's a good rebounding squad, he added.

At the same time, their football experience plays a little bit against them this year. With Cashmere football reaching state semifinals, Ruether and the rest of the football players are hitting the hardwood on sore legs.

"They are a little bit tired, but at the same time they are real competitive," Heyen said.

Once they get their legs back, it will get interesting. Boyd said the biggest pluses for his team are its athleticism and speed.

"It's a long season, and we want to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season," he said.

The season started Dec. 10 with a matchup against 4A school Eastmont, a rematch of last year's home opener.

"They worked us over last year," Heyen said of the game the Wildcats won by 22 points. "Beat us pretty good. Those types of games can be good for you, you have to learn to play at a higher level, [where] the game is faster, the players are stronger."

It also helps for when it's time to play under the big roof in Yakima, and the teams are all elite.

"It's always the goal," he said. "To get to the Dome and see what happens once you get there."

Sebastian Moraga can be reached at 782-3781 or

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