SYRACUSE – Wawasee boys basketball coach Jon Everingham sees something unusual in his team this year.

“You can absolutely see it, and you can feel it,” he said. “You say, ‘There’s something different about that team.’”

The Warriors haven’t won a sectional since 2010 and are coming off a 6-17 season. However, Everingham, who is 12-35 heading into his third season with the Warriors, believes that all can change this year.

“I want to win the conference and I want to win the sectional, and I don’t think that’s out of the realm (of possibility) that we talk about those things,” Everingham said.

They’ll be without last year’s seniors, whom Everingham credited with strong leadership. One of those players was Trevon Coleman, a two-time All-Northern Lakes Conference selection who will leave a gap offensively.

The Warriors are hoping to fill that void with Aaron Evans and Ben Hoffert, both of whom have extensive varsity experience.

Everingham called Evans a very solid defensive player and a very consistent offensive player who can play all positions.

“We’re gonna rely heavily on (Evans) to provide leadership,” Everingham said.

Hoffert will play shooting guard, and Everingham noted his toughness and grit defensively.

Joining him in the backcourt is sophomore Cameron Salazar. Though he has little varsity experience, Everingham expects him to flourish in the point guard position.

“He’s got a little quickness to break down the defense,” Everingham said.

Salazar is one of several players who will be stepping up to play varsity without much experience.

That also includes senior Josh Slabaugh, who didn’t play last season, and senior Marshall Miller, who played mostly on the JV squad as a junior.

Both are expected to get prime-time minutes for the Warriors, as are juniors Austin Miller, Ethan Hardy and Michael Hammer.

With such a youthful team, Everingham expects early adversity.

“Any coach will tell you: when those parts of the equation are inexperience and youth, it’s gonna take a little bit of time,” he said.

However, he still is confident in his players to compete in the NLC.  Wawasee snapped a 42-game losing streak in the conference last year with a 28-20 win over Warsaw, and later beat Goshen 51-48 in overtime.

“Nobody’s gonna classify us as a favorite in the conference or sectional, but certainly we’re in the conversation,” Everingham said.

Wawasee will benefit from team chemistry that Everingham believes will help the team grow quickly.

“Once we get past the hump of feeling comfortable in a varsity game, you’re gonna start to see some of that skill, athleticism and scrappiness come out,” he said. “We’ll be a much different team in February than we are in November.

“If you overlook us, we certainly can sneak up and get you.”

The Warriors open their season with a home game Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against Fairfield.