"A good team is lead by its coaches, a great team is lead by its players." And with six returning varsity players and six seniors, a "great team" is exactly what Trinity Christian Academy's head boys basketball coach Dayton Sheridan is expecting.
"I have got a lot of young men committed to working hard, pushing one another and giving it all they've got every time they step onto the basketball court," Sheridan said. "From last season, we have grown a lot as a team."
That growth is not just in the figurative sense but also literally as two new assistant coaches have joined the team: Colton Culberhouse, who additionally will serve as the JV coach, and Zac Jackson.
"Both coaches bring energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and the want to win to the program," Sheridan said. "Both these coaches are a true blessing and will allow our team to be even more successful."
Now that football has ended, the Eagles are at full strength and ready for the season and to improve its 2-2 start.
"With the new additions, it brings work ethic, determination and the want to compete," Sheridan said. "Through adversity, it has allowed us to gain in knowledge that we as a team have to fully buy in to what we are trying to accomplish to be successful.
"Attitude and effort are a part of what we as coaches have reminded these young men to bring every day, to lead not just themselves but to hold one another accountable and to pick each other up."
TCA will rely on seniors and veteran players Luke Carson, Nate Field, Alex Marcantonio and Malen Baldridge along with newcomers Ryan Hollingsworth and Braeden Heitz.
"Our seniors have been through a lot and given so much to the program," Sheridan said. "They've grown every year, gotten better and encouraged our underclassmen to stay committed to what we as a program are trying to accomplish."
While making the postseason is always the goal, Sheridan said changing the culture of how the team handles adversity is something he and the new coaches are looking to work on.
"Rising above, together as a full unit, and pushing past any obstacles," he explained, adding that with everything going on now, the Eagles have to stay motivated and encouraged. "Making the postseason is obviously the goal for any program but what we leave behind for those coming up can create change and allow for something even greater."
This season, no doubt there will be some adversity in light of the pandemic. Sheridan said staying healthy, making the right decisions outside of school and with family and friends and learning to "control what we can control" is all that can be done.
"Taking the right precautions and steps [will allow us] to continue the season as best we can," Sheridan added. "These young men have to grow up a little bit quicker in this day and age; they understand even with all the changes outside of basketball that we have to remain positive and united as a team.
"We have to trust in God among all things."
The Eagles' schedule looks similar to last season, with TCA taking on tough competition. The team will also be participating in a few tournaments and get in as many games as possible.
"We like to branch out and challenge ourselves as a team; that's how teams get better, sometimes playing a better team and allowing ourselves not to get comfortable," Sheridan said. "We want to see how our players react to adversity and then grow from it as a team."
While winning on the court is important, Sheridan explained that who the boys are off the court is just as important.
"We as coaches want these young men to be successful on and off the court and as coaches we are trying to mold these young men into not just great basketball players but young men who can be successful in society," Sheridan said. "The commitment a lot of these young men have shown would make any coach proud."