“There’s a huge tradition here,” Sunnyside Christian boys basketball coach Dean Wagenaar said. “You certainly want to run your program and have the expectations.”

That could be considered an understatement for the Knights who have won three of the past four state championships, and 11 dating back to 1991 in either 1B or 2B.

Still, they lost their rhythm due to the pandemic, and then on top of that, graduated two seniors from last year’s squad which Wagenaar said could have been another state title contender.

“We have some ability, but it’s unproven,” the long-time coach noted. “They need to grow in better understanding of the game, commitment to playing every possession.”

When he looks around the league, Wagenaar expects stiff competition from their recently developed rivalry with Yakima Tribal. He also pointed to DeSales as a good program and thinks Riverside Christian has a good freshman.

The Knights have three seniors, Justin Van Wieringen, Jaden Jech and Matt Roedel, on the team that will be expected to be among the leaders with some juniors and a sophomore.

They are also expecting the return of junior Cole Wagenaar who is recovering from a significant leg injury.

The goals for the Knights are quite lofty, and with the first games on Nov. 27 in Mabton as part of a jamboree, and league starting Dec. 2, we’ll soon see what the season has in store.

Kevin Rounce can be reached at 509-837-4500 ext 110 or email krounce@sunnysidesun.com

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