Sand Springs head coach Eric Savage during high school basketball action between Sand Springs at Union on Jan. 15. 

JOEY JOHNSON/for the Tulsa World

Since Eric Savage arrived, the expectations have skyrocketed for Sand Springs’ basketball team. Savage knows that and same goes for the players.

“Expectations have definitely changed for the program,” Savage said. “We have advanced to the area tournament five times in the last six years, and reaching the state tournament is always the goal. The current players have been able to be a part of — or at least witness — the success of past teams.”

The lofty goals won’t come to a screeching halt even though the Sandites lost plenty of firepower from last year’s squad. Cale Savage, Kason Hughes, Jonathan Quier and Cole Durkee all graduated but the returners this season are prepared to carry the torch forward.

“They understand the hard work and dedication it takes to win consistently at the 6A level,” Eric Savage said.

Davon Richardson, Josh Minney and Marlo Fox are three returning starters at Eric Savage’s disposal. Those three combined to average 33.7 points a game last season, which ended in the area tournament and a victory shy of the state tournament.

“These three will be counted on for leadership,” Eric Savage said. “They’ll also be leaned on heavily upon this season.”

Another key cog will be Cason Savage — the third Savage boy to play for their father. Savage will help supply firepower in the backcourt for the Sandites.

“Cason is the last Savage boy,” said Eric Savage, who’s been able to coach all three of his sons, Colt, Cale and Cason, at the varsity level. “Definitely miss the time all the boys were together. We were fortunate to be able to share some very memorable moments on the court together. I’m looking forward to enjoying these last two years with (Cason) on the court and on the baseball diamond for the Sandites.”

As for the 2019-2010 season, the Sandites have embarked on season preparations with some practices to ramp up toward the season opener against Ponca City on Nov. 26.

“Practice if off to a good start,” Eric Savage said. “A lot of optimism about the upcoming season.”