Multi-sport athletes make Camanche successful | High School Boys Basketball – QCVarsity.com
CAMANCHE – Call them a throwback team.
At a time when traveling teams are prevalent and specialization is happening in high schools across the country, the Camanche boys’ sports programs provide a breath of fresh air.
His basketball team, which takes to the floor at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Tuesday afternoon in an Iowa Class 2A quarterfinal against Western Christian, is packed with multi-sport athletes.
All five starters – Zach Erwin, Mike Delzell, Tucker Dickherber, Zayne Feller and Jordan Lawrence – are involved in at least three sports.
“We started playing all these sports at a young age, developed a competitive mentality and learned how to win together as a team,” Lawrence said.
Camanche is gaining a lot at the moment.
His football team was 9-2 and reached the state semifinals last fall.
His basketball team is making back-to-back appearances for the first time in program history.
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His baseball program made a substate final in 2019 and was 10-5 in a shortened season last summer.
His wrestling team won three state spots last month.
“In the past, Camanche has been kind of a laughingstock for some sports,” Lawrence said. “To finally see us come and stretch for a good time is great.”
While one athlete may thrive on the football field, the other thrives on the basketball court or the baseball field.
“They really don’t have an ego,” Davis said. “They don’t care about stats or who gets what.”
They come together for a common goal.
“We like to win,” Feller said. “We are all so competitive that we don’t like to lose. Winning at football motivates us to come to basketball.”
Davis saw him in November.
A day after Camanche lost in the state football semifinal to Central Lyon/George-Little Rock, there was a gymnasium open for basketball. Davis said football players were not required to attend.
“They were all here and all locked up,” Davis said. “It’s a special group of kids coming in right now and our culture is at an all-time high.”
Lawrence remembers playing organized sports with several of his current teammates since they were in kindergarten or first grade.
It was not uncommon for them to play basketball, football or baseball tennis in a neighborhood of Camanche.
“It’s been fun playing with them for so long,” Lawrence said. “We’ve really developed a winning mentality with this group.”
There have been many sacrifices along the way.
Parents bought to help at the youth level. University coaches have been receptive to sharing athletes.
Davis, in fact, has two football coaches on his basketball team.
“We have a group of college coaches right now who are doing a good job of making sure we don’t overload them at different times,” Davis said. “We constantly talk about schedules. The two things we insist on: don’t make them choose (a) sport and don’t let them overwork themselves.
This can lead to chaotic schedules. The payoff, however, is worth it.
“If you want something serious enough and it’s really important to you, you’ll find the time,” Dickherber said.
This begs the question: Do they get tired of spending so much time together?
“When you surround yourself with people who have the same goals and aspirations as you do, it’s really, really easy to be with them,” Dickherber said.
Friendships extend far beyond the playing field or the court.
Delzell, Dickherber, Erwin and Feller meet every Friday morning for breakfast at the Spring Garden in Camanche.
“The bond we created there ripples through everything we do,” Dickherber said.
“We just built this camaraderie, a brotherhood,” Feller said.
When Camanche went to the state tournament in 2017, Davis had several players who were early basketball athletes.
“We went to 1,000 team camps and were in a gym six nights a week that year,” he said. “It was great for this group. This group, we’re not here as much, but we try to maximize the time we have.
“There’s no right or wrong. You take the personalities of the kids and do your best with them. It’s been great for this group because they’re in a competitive environment 12 months a year and have that chemistry.
This cohesion will be necessary this week.
The Indians (18-6) are seeded seventh in the 2A field and take on the perennial Christian powerhouse of the West. The Wolfpack is athletic, has a range of shooters, and multiple players who can get to the basket.
“We know we’re better than a seven seed,” Feller said. “We have to go out there and prove people wrong.”
From how much he’s been tested this year, from a football playoff to an assortment of basketball injuries, Camanche is sure to believe it.
“We never needed anyone else to believe in us,” Dickherber said, “because we trusted each other enough.”