SHERIDAN — Following each practice this season, the Sheridan High School boys basketball team huddles around mid court. The post-practice meeting is more than just a mundane debriefing. Head coach Jeff Martini has implemented a new routine where he’ll ask a player at random how they improved and how they helped a teammate improve.
“It’s just to show what we are doing personally each day to get better, and us personally getting better will really affect the team and help the team get better,” Sheridan’s Tristan Bower said. “That’s the ultimate goal this season.”
The Broncs have enjoyed an upward trajectory in Jeff Martini’s still young head-coaching career.
In Martini’s inaugural year with the program, the Broncs finished third at the state tournament. Last season, Martini’s second, Sheridan claimed a conference championship, won 20 games and took runner-up at state.
The logical next step for the Broncs this season is to raise a state championship banner. With the talent Sheridan has coming back this season, expectations remain high for the smallest school in the 4A East Conference.
With all that potential, Martini is trying to keep his team grounded and focused on the little things.
“Every team is trying to win state, so I think the thing to focus on isn’t necessarily the big picture of trying to win but rather how do we improve every day,” Martini said. “We have a lot of really talented kids, but with that, we got to get better. We can’t be complacent. We have to continue to improve.”
The Broncs have to replace three starters from last season, but the two that return — Bower and Parker Christensen — both earned first-team All-State recognition. Sophomore Sam Lecholat and junior Gus Wright step into starting roles in the frontcourt, giving the Broncs plenty of experience and length.
Jacob Boint, Brock Bomar and Ethan Rickett provide significant backcourt depth, which should take some pressure off Bower’s shoulders.
Sheridan has two state titles in its school’s history. The last occurred in 2003, but with the recent success and runs at the state tournament, there’s no reason to think the 2018-19 squad can’t end that drought.
Head coach: Jeff Martini
Last season’s record: 20-8
Last season’s conference record: 9-3
Key contributors: Tristan Bower, Parker Christensen, Sem Lecholat, Gus Wright
Jan. 3-5 at Cheyenne Tournament
Jan. 11 at Billings West
Jan. 12 vs. Kelly Walsh
Jan. 18 at Thunder Basin
Jan. 19 vs. Campbell County
Jan. 25 at Natrona County
Feb. 1 vs. Cheyenne Central
Feb. 2 vs. Cheyenne East
Feb. 8 at Cheyenne South
Feb. 9 at Laramie
Feb. 15 at Campbell County
Feb. 16 vs. Thunder Basin
Feb. 22 vs. Natrona County
Feb. 28-March 2 at Regionals (Cheyenne East)
March 7-9 at State (Casper)