By Jeremy McDonald
SHERIDAN, Ore.– Every coaches worse nightmare occurred for Sheridan Boys Basketball with them peaking early.
Yes the Spartans qualified for the Round of the 16 for the first time since 2012, but Sheridan didn’t win a game in the month of February.
Granted, they played the 2A Champions in Western Christian, Kennedy who finished fourth and a sixth-place team in Santiam twice to finish the regular season before falling to Lost River in the opening round. But going off their mantra of ‘0-0 +2’, they’re entering 2019-2020 with a similar idea of looking at each game as its own season.
Returning a solid core that saw Don Henley and DeEldon Paulk and mixed in with a upcoming group that features sophomore Randy Gibson, the Spartans hope to push towards the top of the Tri-Rivers Conference once more this season.
“We’re going to take it a step further. Every game is like its own season, each game is like its own season and we’re hoping to play 30 seasons this year,” said Steven Grauer. “Every game can make or break your season, so when you consider that one game…that is your season and that’s the only thing that matters.
“Of course we want to go 1-0 every game, but we got to prepare for one season leading up to that.”
Last year’s 18-8 season was good learning experience for the squad. Grauer pointed out, the program hasn’t seen a sustained success as they had last year in a long while. Sheridan hasn’t reached the Elite 8 since the 2010-2011 season when they finished third in 3A.
From the starters to the young guys on the bench, they all saw it and witnessed it a few short months ago. With them wrapping up their last Open Gym until the first practice Monday, Grauer reminded the kids that the season starts in three days.
Entering his fourth-year, second-full season as Head Coach, he’s not looking towards the term ‘rebuild’ and that Sparty has already done that. Now it’s just a matter of reloading and moving forward from what they have already built from the foundation laid last season. Respecting those returning as they brace for the journey ahead of them this winter.
“So these are all things that needed to happen and we needed to fail,” said Grauer of going through the growing pains of learning how to be successful as a program. “And just because you failed doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success and it doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it.
“Anytime you failed, you need to learn from it, every kid that was in the playoffs, every kid that was on the bench are back this year. They all saw it and experienced it and that should drive them to move forwards.”