It’s hard to tell that Camanche junior Tarah Wehde hadn’t played competitive basketball for two years before this season started.
In fact, this is her first season since she was in middle school
“I was shocked when I first saw her play for being off for two years,” Camanch head coach Ben Erwin said about his junior starter. “I had talked her into coming out and I am really glad she did.”
Whede is a starter and an integral part of the Indians’ game this season—a good decision to come out to say the least. She didn’t think too hard about it.
“It was something to do I guess,” Wehde laughed.
But really, the addition of Ben Erwin as head coach was a big part of the decision.
“Ben’s a good coach and I thought he would be good for us,” Wehde said. “Ben has really helped me. I think I have improved a lot even after being off for two years. I got back into a rhythm again.”
Naturally there was a learning curve, especially considering the nature of her other sports. Wehde is a standout volleyball outside hitter and a softball player, both very different from the high speed, high contact game of basketball.
She’s quickly adjusting. Whede plays a big role in the middle of things for the Indians, especially on defense.
“She’s athletic, she plays hard,” Erwin said. “She’s so active and controls the middle of the zone and causes a lot of problems.”
She’s quickly finding her strong suits on the court. In her last few games she’s been a leading scorer and rebounder for the majority of them. She pulled down seven rebounds against both West Branch and Anamosa and nine against West Liberty, a team high. Not to mention in those three games she scored a total of 25 points.
“I like being in the lane,” Wehde said. “I feel like there isn’t as much pressure on me than if I am out.”
She definitely can play the perimeter, though, despite her preference. Her nine-point game against West Branch included her going 3-4 from three-point range.
“I’m not used to being one of the scorers. It was a little surprising to me,” Wehde said. “I’m not used to making that many in a game. I try to do what I can for the team.”
Another key to her success was having some experience to fall back on. The Indians have talent and leadership in seniors Madi Parson, Cam Carstensen and Hanna Nissen.
“They’ve helped me a lot,” Wehde said about her elder peers. “From me coming back and them being starters, they’ve helped me improve on my skills.”
With the missing two years there are definitely things to improve on. Wehde admitted that she struggles with ball handling, post moves can always be improved and not turning it over is always key. But she’s made a lot of progress in just a short time.
The fact that she didn’t play her freshman and sophomore year is always in the back of her mind, though.
“I get a lot more nervous playing basketball than my other sports,” Wehde said. “Maybe it’s because I’ve been two years off and I know everyone is ahead of me. It’s nerve wracking.”