Sunnyside guards Ethan Copeland and Daniel Singleterry are a couple of juniors who have burst onto the scene in a big way this season. 

They have proven themselves to be a lethal scoring combo. Copeland is averaging 25.3 points per game (tops in the Big Nine), while Singleterry is averaging 16.6 points per game, (sixth in the Big Nine). They also more than hold their own on the defensive end of the floor. 

In a sport where you simply need star talent to be competitive, these two players have blossomed into legitimate All-League players. It’s given Sunnyside a fighting chance to make the state playoffs this season. 

“This team believes that we can beat anyone on any night,” Copeland said. “Coach has been preaching that to us all year, and we’re going to carry that mindset into the tournament.”

Right now the Grizzlies are only 4-6 in conference play, but it will be enough to give them a berth in the district tournament. They've played some good teams very competitive as of late, including a three point loss to Davis, and an eight point loss to Eastmont.  

Regardless of how far they go in the district tournament, the result of their season will still be a massive improvement from where they were at last year. 

The best way to describe the 18-19 season for the Grizzlies was a transitional year. After finishing 19-4 during the 17-18 season, they would fall to 3-17 last season. 

While the team record might not have reflected a great year, the head coach of the Grizzlies, Bruce Siebol, still believed there were plenty of positive takeaways.

“As sophomores, Copeland and Singleterry were our two top scorers, and they did a great job improving,” Siebol said. “Our team was really young last year, but we were taking the right steps.”

Siebol added that not only are Copeland and Singleterry delivering star-level production this year, but they've also blossomed into true team leaders. This is reflected in the captain status they both earned in the preseason. 

While Copeland and Singleterry both see the team improvement as welcome and lots of fun, they also believe they are far from being a finished product.

They are the only two players left from the 17-18 state qualifying team, where as freshman they came off the bench and played valuable minutes. That feeling of making it to state is something they’re starving to experience again in their prep careers. 

Should Sunnyside make it to state, a lot of outsiders might see them as playing ‘a year ahead of schedule.’ This belief would of course not be shared with those inside the Grizzlies building, as every year season believe they can have a championship season.

But it’s worth noting this Sunnyside roster has zero seniors on it, and it’s hard for analysts across the state to get behind a team without senior experience. Not that Copeland and Singleterry particularly care what outsiders think.

“We just want to be known as the hardest working team out there,” Singleterry said. 

Any type of positive experience they have in the district tournament will be taken as momentum going into next season. Combine that with returning every single player on the roster, and this team is on the verge of becoming a Big Nine title contender. 

A benefit to Sunnyside becoming a title contender is both Copeland and Singleterry would see increased exposure. This exposure would go a long way with their college basketball recruiting.

For 11 straight years now, they’ve been playing together in the Sunnyside youth basketball system. Very early on they knew they wanted to earn a college basketball scholarship. 

Both players are average size, as Copeland is 6-foot-2 and Singletary is 6-foot-1. But because they are still the biggest players on the Grizzlies roster, it’s forced them to expand their skill set. While they both have the speed and finesse to play guard, they also have the mindset to play physical in the low post.

Both still have a long way to go before becoming polished college prospects, but fortunately they’ll have another season at the prep level to continue developing their respective games. 

The Sunnyside basketball program is very much on the rise, and these two players are anchoring that future. Look for Copeland and Singleterry’s name value to continue to grow over the coming months.