Road Warrior Sparts Look To Two Seniors To Lead

By Jeremy McDonald

SHERIDAN, Ore.–  Cesar Casillas admits that this season is bittersweet, having played Varsity for the past three years and with this being his final year as him and Nik Wittrock return as they only two Varsity returners for the Sheridan Boys Basketball team.

“Sad, but we’re going to do what we can do.  Just practice hard everyday and get better.  Me and Nik, become leaders and just go,” Casillas said.  “I think it’ll be really big and I think me and Nik can do it.  It’ll definitely be really hard too, but I think we can handle it and can do it.”

For Head Coach Steven Grauer, he has confidence in Casillas and Wittrock to step up as leaders and has confidence that his team has the potential to reach the District Playoffs, but will look at the preseason slate as a chance to develop his younger players going into the PacWest schedule in January.

“I’m really confident in the kids that we have and the potential that we bring, however that potential is going to take some time to develop.  This is more of a developing start to the year with so many new players and so many minutes to decide.  Certain kids will step up and certain kids won’t,” Grauer starts.  “Cesar and Nik, they are returning and I’m really confident in their ability and I’m confident in their ability to lead, it’ll just come down to everyone else around them to be able to take that next step forward.  

“With age comes maturity and we are going to have a lot of younger kids, so it’s my job as a coach to make sure we’re putting them into positive positions and making sure that expectations are reality and not something we can’t achieve.  I believe we can achieve our goals and make districts.”

Ol’ Sparty will have their hands full coming out of the gate with six-straight road games between November 30 and December 15 with trips to Willamina, Portland Adventist Academy, Delphian, Lowell, Waldport and Santiam on the docket before having their first home game December 16 against Oakridge.  A good test to see how they’ll adjust to the demands of being Road Warriors right off the bat with the young roster that they have.

“It’ll be huge getting hopefully six road wins-in-a-row.  I think we can do it though, it’ll be fun,” Casillas said of the road trip.

“We’re going to learn a lot over those first six games.  It’s going to be a great challenge and I’m excited for myself and those players to go in there with an open-mind and to compete for 32 minutes every game and I think we’re going to surprise ourselves of what we’re capable of,” adds Grauer of the start of the season.

Of their ten non-league games, seven are on the road before Sheridan open PacWest Conference play January 3 at Santiam Christian before hosting Jefferson January 6

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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