Prep Basketball

Despite missing state, Xavier boys' basketball had memorable season

HS journalism: New coach was first adjustment in 2019-20

Xavier's Davis Wagner, driving up the court during a game in January, was one of eight seniors on the Saints' team this
Xavier’s Davis Wagner, driving up the court during a game in January, was one of eight seniors on the Saints’ team this season. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Sometimes good things must come to an end.

This was true for the Xavier boys’ basketball team when its season ended on Feb. 27 with a loss to DeWitt Central in the Class 3A substate semifinal.

There were eight seniors on the Saints’ team who finished their high school basketball careers that night — Jake Beckmann, Nick Hansel, Harrison Hartgrave, Mitch Helmkamp, Tre McCrary, Kevin Nelson, Peyton Shannon and Davis Wagner.

“My favorite part of the season was competing every week with a great group of guys,” Beckmann said. “The part I will miss the most is the memories I created with my teammates and the competitiveness on the court, those are things I will never forget.”

The season came with some adjustments — and new experiences — for many, starting with Mike Freeman stepping into the new position as head coach.

“I think everyone did a good job handling the change and building relationships with coaches who were new to the program,” McCrary said.

The Saints credited a lot of their success to the chemistry they had off the court.

“There was not one guy on this team who thought about himself at the end of the day and I am so proud that I could call everyone on the team a friend,” McCrary said.

Although the Saints started the season 2-8, they finished with a record of 11-12.

“We lost a lot of games at the beginning of the year, but nobody put their heads down and complained,” Wagner said. “Everyone just came to practice the next day with the mind-set to improve no matter what the scoreboard said the night before.”

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With eight seniors leaving, junior Jack Lux believes his class will need to fill the new leadership roles for the team to succeed next season.

“I want to lead the team next year in the weight room, on the court and off the court in order to have the best season possible,” Lux said,

The Saints will use this season as a motivation for next year to meet their end goal — returning to the state tournament.

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