With a new coach and pre-season excitement, the returning varsity boys basketball players have an optimistic outlook on this year’s season.
“I feel like this season we can bond more and we’re most excited to make memories,” senior Angel Tello said.
Last year, the boys endured a short season filled with many challenges. The large number of underclassmen made it difficult for the team to build their varsity team as they lacked upperclassmen and experience.
“I think that we got a lot more experience this year which is nice because last year we had a bunch of sophomores and juniors. I think that this year we can train more and try to hopefully make it to state,” senior Spencer Brozstek said.
Junior Gabe Pyles added, “This year we’re going to be an older team because last year we were a small team. It’s a lot less diverse in age groups so we’re looking forward to it.”
“Last season was really short and our players were kind of just here to play, but now with this season we’re looking like more of a family than just a team,” senior Joey Wagner said.
Along with the shift in maturity, bond, and age of the team, the Pioneers welcome a new head coach, Paul Henderson, who has over 20 years of coaching experience.
Prior to coming to Sandy, Henderson coached at Riverdale High School located in the Portland area. He was head coach there from 2012 to 2020 when his team made an impressive seven district playoff appearances, and three state playoff appearances.
Henderson was named 2012-2013 Lewis & Clark League Coach of the Year while at Riverdale and finished his coaching at Riverdale with a total of 102 wins. Henderson comes to Sandy with an optimistic attitude regarding the boys and the team this season.
“Our goal is for all members of the basketball program to represent Sandy High School in a positive way…on and off the court,” Henderson said.
Though creating a positive environment for the team is important to the players, they are enthusiastic about going out and winning more games.
“We’re excited to win a lot of games. Last season we didn’t win very many so this season is like a brand new start,” senior Jackson Boyles said.
As for teams in the league, the boys hope to surprise some teams from last year but know some teams will be harder than others.
“Central Catholic is obviously going to be tough competition but I think we stand a chance and Gresham is going to be really good as well but then we have the rest of the teams that we’re hopefully going to blow out of the water,” Wagner said. “I think we can run our plays better because last season we had some trouble getting our plays down during the game. If we have more plays during the game, it’ll get more players open and more people scoring.”
The boys face their first game on Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. against Century at home and hope to start their season off strong with their first victory of the season.