Reed Point-Rapelje’s Cade Bare gets in the game

November 28, 2016

Editor’s note: This is the second in an eight-part series profiling some of the state’s basketball stars and the hoops that helped make them who they are today.

REED POINT — Young Cade Bare wanted to play basketball with the big kids.

The second-grader was tired of shooting at the hoop nailed to a nearby tree.

He wanted to play with his older siblings and cousins, on the court that doubled as the driveway at his grandfather’s house. Bare wanted his opportunity at the big basket.

The ranch three miles outside of town and four generations deep is the centerpiece of family gatherings. Playing basketball is a long-standing tradition among the many cousins, which is now extending to second cousins.

Bare’s previous attempts to join the fun had been rebuffed.

“You’re too young,” they told him.

“I would just get mad and leave,” remembered Bare with a laugh, now sitting in a chair a few feet away from the same driveway/court.

One family holiday, he finally got his wish.

“I was happy,” he said. “Then you get to play and you’re, ‘Wow. These guys are big and scary.’ And you can’t cry when it gets rough because you asked to play.

“You’ve got to be tough, you’re with all your cousins.”

The small patch of concrete is where Bare honed his basketball skills with family. One bad dribble on the edge of the concrete and the ball flies away. And gravel gets slick in the winter.

It’s where he played hours and hours of one-on-one against his brother Jake, six years his senior.

“Jake would get pushy,” said Bare, with a younger brother’s smile. “He toughened me up. He never went easy on me. I had to find ways to score against him.”

Jake Bare is an assistant coach with the Reed Point-Rapelje. A cousin, John Schladweiler, is a teammate.

“There are times on the way to practice and on the way home, Jake and I don’t say a word,” said Bare of keeping basketball and family separate.

The ball handling talents, the toughness accrued at home — a bump from an opponent is nothing compared to a forearm shot from cousin Eli — have helped Bare become the unquestioned leader of a young Reed Point-Rapelje team that is thinking big after a surprising run to the Class C state tournament last season.

The savvy guard — one of only two seniors on the roster and one of five in the entire senior class — averaged 17 points a game last season for the Renegades. He averaged 18.2 points a game in the postseason, including three games of 31 points or more.

Bare dropped a career-high 35 points, including 17 of 20 from the free-throw line, in the Southern C Divisional opening win against Northern Cheyenne.

He also helped engineer Reed Point-Rapelje’s 68-point swing against Plenty Coups. The Warriors had defeated the Renegades 97-50 at the 6C District tournament. Reed Point-Rapelje returned the favor 72-51 in the Southern C semifinal. Bare had 31 in the win.

“Everything lined up,” said Bare, whose strength is the ability to remain calm during the athletic storm.

Like his teammates, Bare isn’t concerned about points. He was just as happy after scoring five points against Harlowton at the district tournament.

“We won,” he explained.

“Cade has a lot of inner confidence,” said Renegades’ head coach Jerry Thompson. “Especially at the end of last year, his game just took off. He put the team on his shoulders. He knows what he is capable of doing and not doing. He is a very smart player. He is very coachable.”

Since fifth grade, Bare has always been his team’s go-to scorer. It’s a title that rests uneasily on his shoulders.

“I’ve accepted it,” he said. “The spotlight is not necessarily my favorite place. I like when the notice is on the whole team. Last year, I worked on being more of a vocal leader.”

A natural left-hander, he began his basketball career playing right-handed. He taught himself to be ambidextrous with the ball starting in fifth grade and continuing through junior high. Bare now can deftly take the ball left or right against opposing defenses.

Basketball runs deep in the family. Both parents — Ron and Teresa — have coached their children in the junior high program and played high school basketball. Teresa Bare is also the head volleyball coach at the high school. A grandfather, Leonard Schadweiler, played for Carroll College.

And his grandmother, Mary Ann, “has a voice that can be heard through the gym,” said the grandson with a bigger smile.

Bare said there are usually at least 10 family members in the stands for games. More for tournaments. This past March, extended family helped at the ranch during calving season so his parents could attend the state tournament in Great Falls.

The competitiveness continues indoors as well.

“When the family gathers, we have 25, 30 people playing cards and stuff,” he said. “And if not basketball, it’s baseball in the orchard or volleyball. Some people are not very good losers.”

The 4.0 student is the same in the classroom.

“We have a review game in history class,” Bare continued. “If I lose, it’s not a good thing. In Sunday school, I had to be the first one to look up the Bible verse.

“I’m trying to learn how to be a good loser.”

After games, Bare can be found visiting with family and older members of the community.

“Cade is probably, without a doubt, one of the nicest kids you will ever meet,” said Thompson.

Bare understands expectations run high this year for the Renegades.

“It’s a whole new pressure,” Bare said. “This year, we’re expected to go further. We know we have to be prepared to bring our best every game.

“We’ve been together so long, I don’t want it to go too fast.”

The driveway/court, is a little smaller now with a deck added to the front of his grandfather’s house. The white box outline above the rim is almost indiscernible, faded from Montana weather.

But the games continue.

Cade Bare and Jake still play occasionally. Cade was in eighth grade when he finally beat his brother. “It was a good feeling,” he said. And now Cade Bare plays against his younger brother Cole.

“We’ve played in snow boots, coveralls … winter clothes,” he said of playing in 10-degree temperatures.

“You can’t play as long because after a while, you can’t feel your hands.”