Blue Devil Boys Fired Up To Start The Season, In Search Of Fourth Straight Trip To State

WAYNE – As the Wayne High boys basketball team works their way through week one of official NSAA practices, WHS will return a group of key players from last year’s state tournament qualifying team.

Head coach Rob Sweetland will be entering his 10th year leading the Wayne High boys.

Coach Sweetland said the team was going through the typical first week of practices while also retaining a lot from last year.

“Trying to bring the younger guys along so we can have some competitive practices,” said Sweetland. “Just kind of a feel out process to see where our depth chart is gong to lie in a couple of weeks. Just some fundamentals, mostly offense positioning and how we are going to play our man defense. Just a lot of teaching in the first week.”

Along with coach Sweetland, Adam Hoffman and Sedrick Svehla will serve as assistant coaches as well as Wes Blecke as a volunteer coach.

This year’s group will be made up of 26 players with five seniors being Alex Phelps, Sedjro Agoumba, Carter Junck, Daniel Judd and Brayden McCorkindale.

Coach Sweetland wants to make sure this year’s group works hard and a trip to the state tournament isn’t just given to you as two starters graduated roughly 60% of their scoring.

“Trying to find guys to replace them won’t be easy,” Sweetland added. “Take every practice seriously, compete against yourselves, competed against each other and every game is going to be important too.”

The Blue Devil boys will return three starters.

Wayne High boys competed in the Concordia (Seward, NE) camp while a handful of guards joined coach Sweetland during a camp in Minnesota. A three-day D-League camp was held in Wayne while players also participated in a league in Norfolk.

WHS is coming off a 24-4 season. The Blue Devils suffered a 47-40 loss to Kearney Catholic in the opening round of the boys state basketball tournament last season. The Blue Devil boys have posted 20+ win seasons for three straight years and qualifying for the Class C1 state tournament.

Coach Sweetland is excited to get the season started.

“Everybody is fired up to get back and going and getting on a court and getting a ball in their hands,” Sweetland mentioned. “So, we got to keep that energy up all the way until the end of the season really. Keep the energy up all year, that’s going to be important for this group.”

The Wayne High boys will open their 2022-23 season at Battle Creek on Friday, December 2 at 7:45 p.m. before hosting Ponca on Saturday, December 3 at 7 p.m.

This year’s Holiday Tournament hosted by Wayne will feature the teams of Auburn, Hartington Cedar Catholic, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge, Pender, Pierce, Plainview and Winnebago. The tourney will last from Wednesday, December 28 – Friday, December 30.