There's something missing for the SHS Grizzly boys basketball team this season.
Actually, make that someone missing as for much of the season Head Coach Ron Rowe has been away from the sidelines due to illness.
Assistant Coach Ruben Fernandez has since guided the team this season, and he's pleased with how the Grizzlies have responded to the adversity of losing their coach.
"This team has battled through injuries, personal losses, Coach Rowe being ill and out for the season. It's been these seniors (Greg Spini, Brandon Daley, Eric Amaro and Eduardo Salmeron) that have kept this thing going," Fernandez says. "I mean, how do you a replace a coach who has over 25-plus years of coaching experience and over 300 career wins?
"You don't! You just keep doing what's made him successful and tweak some things here and there and keep a positive attitude."
Fernandez also praised the support of Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole and Athletic Director Bill Daley.
"For me, I'm grateful to the Sunnyside administration for having confidence in me and giving me the opportunity to work with these kids," he says. "It has been an absolute pleasure to be around all of these kids! They are all very smart, coachable and respectful young men."
Fernandez added, "Their desire to win and do their best is evident. I just want to help them accomplish all their goals."
One of those goals presents itself tonight, Tueday, when Sunnyside plays at Shadle Park in a loser-out District tourney game.
"About a month ago or so, we had a team meeting and decided that we wanted to make sure that we got better every game whether we won or lost and that we wanted to make sure we were playing our best basketball come playoff time," Fernandez says. "I think we've accomplished that goal and are ready for Tuesday's game at Shadle Park."
The Grizzly boys are indeed on a roll, closing out the regular season with two wins in their final three games as they prep for the playoffs.
"The kids have put in an enormous amount of time and effort in preparing for the postseason," Fernandez says. "They are so excited, I think we could fly to Spokane!"