There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the Camanche boys basketball team this year.
But that’s really nothing new to them. For years they’ve had consistent talent throughout, making postseason runs and thrilling with high-scoring games.
This year feels a little different.
The Indians are returning more experience than ever. More than that, many of them are still feeling the sting of disappointment.
The Indians were upset two years ago by Northeast in the district final. Last year, they were stunned by Iowa City Regina in the sub-state game, watching a conference opponent that they had already beat head to the state tournament.
“I think they’re hungry,” head coach Josh Davis said. “They know what it takes to get there from being around it, but haven’t done it htemselves. There’s some hunger and the feeling like we need to get where we need to be.”
They’re highlighted by a talented senior class. Guard Cam Soenksen is back for his fourth year with the varsity players, offering ball handling and shooting that rivals the best in the state.
Caleb Delzell has a 6-07 frame that notched 12 double-doubles last season Those two accounted for the top scorers and rebounders last season.
Below them, junior Zayne Feller is back after an impressive sophomore campaign while sophomore point guard Zach Erwin returns as well.
Junior Jordan Lawrence and Kyle DeWeerdt are out at the moment with lingering football injuries, but they’re hoping to return to the roster before the new year, adding even more talent and depth.
“We have a lot of kids back and have had a few good years the last few years,” Davis said. “A lot of people are excited to see what can happen this year.”
You take that already talented roster and then you add one more. Camanche added senior transfer LJ Henderson to the mix, giving them a utility player capable of playing whatever role they need: scoring, rebounding, or defense.
“He’s a tremendous athlete and he’s a basketball player more than anything else so we can put him wherever we need to on our team,” Davis said. “He’s played iwth our guys since he was young so the chemistry is really good.”
Not a single player comes back without some kind of varsity experience, leaving them poised to improve on a four-loss season from last year.
Plus, Davis trusts the work they’ve put in the offseason.
“They’ve really committed to being in the weight room and getting stronger,” Davis said. “They’ve been in the system for years and know the expectations that we have as coaches and that they have for each other.”
They may be returning the same faces, but they have something they want to do. They want to have that successful season and end it on the right note.
“They know what it takes to win and are excited to put their stamp on it,” Davis said.
See the rest of the Camanche winter sports previews on Page B3.