MUSCATINE--The Camanche boys' phenomenal season came to an end Saturday after Iowa City Regina proved too much to handle from the three-point line.
The Regals dropped 12 three-point field goals, including nine in the first half, to cruise to a 69-44 victory over the Indians.
"This will hurt, this will sting," Camanche head coach Josh Davis said. "But we lost to a really good team tonight.
The game was in the hands of Regina shooters from the tip-off. Regina hit three consecutive threes before they made any other points, and five in the first quarter. The shell-shocked Indians, who usually thrive on their long distance shooting, were having trouble finding the holes in the perimeter defense. They went 1-5 from the three-point line in the first quarter and 1-9 in the first half.
They had to deal with some adversity early on as well. Both Caleb Delzell and Zach Erwin got hit with two fouls early, and Cam Soenksen was on the ground for a few minutes with an ankle injury in the first quarter. He would eventually return, but it threw the Indians off nonetheless.
"They got up on us early, hit some big shots," Davis said. "Then we had to get up and press to get back in it. We did, we fought to get back in within a couple baskets. Then Zach gets another foul, Cam goes down with injury, Caleb gets a foul. Some of our go-to guys, main ball handlers weren't available and it exposed us a little bit."
The normally high-scoring Indians managed just ten points in the second while the Regals put up 21. They went into the locker room at half with 17-point deficit on the board and a silenced crowd.
In the second, the defense stepped up. The Indians were forcing turnovers on the perimeter and putting up shots and the crowd was getting back into it as they made some headway.
However, the Regals seemed to have an answer for everything after just a few seconds. With increased pressure from the guards, Regina was consistently getting easy layups in the paint. Soon, the lead was just too far out of Camanche's hands.
"We had to take chances," Davis said. "We were down by 10 or 12, got a couple turnovers and a couple shots, then they beat us on the back side. We haven't found ourselves in deep holes very often so it was not a situation we've been in a lot. They had an answer, got timely buckets when they needed it."
Regina's Mason Miller ended with 29 points, sinking the majority of the three-pointers for the Regals. Athletes like Zayne Feller and Zach Erwin guarded him well all night, but he just found ways to distance himself from the defense.
"He is just always moving, it's hard to keep up with him," Feller said. "He has such a quick release it's hard to guard. He was just on fire tonight."
Bryce Barnett also had four long distance shots for 12 points, and Ashton Cook put up 21, mostly from the paint.
Feller, along with Calvin Ottens and Caleb Delzell, had to work hard for the Indians to try to match points in the paint. The Regals were dropping down each time the guards were able to get the ball inside though, which caused a lot of turnovers and not a lot of shots from the block. Offensive rebounds were also hard to come by.
"It was harder for our guards to get it down to the post," Feller said. "They were good at doubling down on us once we got the ball, we didn't get a lot of open shots."
Cam Soenksen and Caleb Delzell led in scoring, with 14 and 12 points. Feller finished with eight. The Indians were 4-17 form three and 4-9 from the free throw line.
The Indians end their 2018-2019 campaign 20-4, suffering only three losses in the regular season. They say goodbye to seniors Jaxon White, Calvin Ottens, Carson Seeser and Chase Grim. It was noticeably emotional on the bench when Davis started pulling players off the floor in the final minutes. Seniors embraced and underclassman comforted while dealing with their own emotions.
"I love those guys, all four of them," Davis said. "It sucks tonight. We're trying to celebrate those guys the next few days."
"They were a really fun group to be around. They loved each other, fun to be around at practice, fun to be around at school. They'll continue to be that way we just don't get to play anymore games."