INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Devontae Lane got some organized, or at least semi-organized, run Wednesday night at Kirkwood’s Johnson Hall. It could have been for the last time.
That possible finality wasn’t lost on the senior all-state guard from Iowa City West.
“In theory, it could be. I don’t know,” Lane said, before his South team’s 111-94 win over the North in the 2017 version of the Eastern Iowa All-Star Game prep basketball event. “I love the game of basketball, I love football. One of them has to give. Eventually we’ll know which one it is.”
Lane is in the enviable position to pursue a possible Division I college future in two sports. Or perhaps it’s unenviable.
He was a two-year all-stater and four-year varsity player for the West hoops team, helping the Trojans to the Class 4A state championship two weeks ago. He really emerged this past fall on the football field as a big-time recruit, spurring a run to the 4A title game as an outstanding running back.
He’ll play one of those sports at the junior-college level, with an eye toward D-I eventually.
If basketball wins out, he’ll attend Des Moines Area Community College in Boone. If it’s football, he’ll go to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.
“Not too much new to report. Same old story,” he said. “I’m kind of leaning toward basketball, but I don’t really know which one is going to happen. I’m just taking it slow, taking my time in making the decision.”
He said that decision has become extremely difficult. Obviously.
Lane surprised a lot of people when he announced last fall he was probably pursuing the gridiron, though his lean has returned to hoops. There is no timetable for a decision.
“It’s something where you don’t try and set a date,” he said. “That’s going to pressure you. I’m thankful the coaches are taking their time with me, my family is taking their time with me. I don’t know. It’s just hard. It’s very hard.
“I’ll know it when I wake up in the morning one morning. And that’ll be it.”
The boys’ version of this boy-girl double-header was delayed by the brute strength of Waverly-Shell Rock’s Austin Phyfe. The 6-foot-10 University of Northern Iowa signee literally broke a rim on one of the baskets with a vicious dunk in warmups.
It took 25 minutes or so for a replacement rim to be detached from a side hoop and bolted in to replace the broken one.
West’s Connor McCaffery was named MVP of the boys’ game, finishing with 20 points. Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Max Techau led the North with 18 points.
The North won the girls’ game, 77-63, with Bellevue Marquette’s Marissa Schroeder and Iowa City High’s Kenya Earl sharing MVP honors. Earl had a game-high 20 points for the South.
Mount Vernon’s Austin Ash won the overall 3-point shooting contest, topping Davenport Assumption’s Jasmine Harris in the co-ed finals.
AT JOHNSON HALL
NORTH (77): Tori Hazard (Janesville) 11 points, Aliyah Robinson (Waterloo West) 6, Ashley Funk (Elkader Central) 3, Brianna Mensen (Maquoketa Valley) 6, Morgan Pitz (Western Dubuque) 13, Marissa Schroeder (Bellevue Marquette) 17, Savannah Domeyer (Clayton Ridge-Guttenberg) 12, Katie Harken (Waverly-Shell Rock) 3, Megan Gronau (Dubuque Hempstead) 6.
SOUTH (63): Kelsey Hora (Highland) 5, Jasmine Harris (Davenport Assumption) 10, Lexi Noonan (Cedar Rapids Xavier) 2, Shania Boyd (Columbus Junction) 4, Rachel Stewart (Davenport West) 2, Kenya Earl (Iowa City High) 20, Kennedy Dighton (Cedar Rapids Jefferson) 8, Josie Durr (Solon) 6, Kaitlyn Volesky (Mount Vernon) 4.
NORTH (94): Cole Smith (Vinton-Shellsburg) 7, Drake Brewster (Cedar Rapids Kennedy) 2, Ethan Wyant (Jesup) 13, Connor Duax (Dubquue Hempstead) 8, Lowden Rockweiler (Decorah) 9, Joe Smoldt (Gladbrook-Reinbeck) 6, Max Smith Drahos (Cedar Rapids Prairie) 7, Tristen Kautman (MFL/Mar-Mac) 13, Max Techau (Cedar Rapids Xavier) 18, Austin Phyfe (Waverly-Shell Rock) 11.
SOUTH (111): Devontae Lane (Iowa City West) 12, Ray Miller (Davenport Central) 10, Niko Gosnell (Lone Tree) 8, Dakota Soenksen (Camanche) 7, Abe Kinrade (Maquoketa) 14, Cooper Kabela (West Branch) 2, Austin Ash (Mount Vernon) 21, Connor McCaffery (Iowa City West) 20, Bailey Basala (North Scott) 9, Seth Moeller (Clinton Prince of Peace) 5.
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