Camanche starts strong, fights off Panther rallies in State quarterfinals

Panther players wave to the Monticello crowd after receiving a participation trophy at the State Boys Basketball Tournament March 10 in Des Moines. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Ty Kehoe of Monticello (11) drives with the ball during the state tournament loss to Camanche at Wells Fargo Arena.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Camanche rolled to a 17-4 first quarter lead, and fought off a pair of Monticello comeback attempts to score a 67-52 win over the Panthers in the quarterfinal round of the State Class 2A Boys Basketball Tournament Tuesday morning, March 10 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

     It brought an abrupt end to the Monticello boys’ first state tournament appearance in 60 years.

     “We knew we could beat them, because we had, but it takes nearly a perfect game, because they are tremendously talented and well-coached,” Monticello coach Tim Lambert said. “We didn’t have that perfect game, and they did, so all credit to them.”

     The third meeting between the two River Valley Conference rivals was similar to the first two in that one team took a big early lead. That role was played by the Indians Tuesday, who got on the scoreboard five seconds into the game on a three-point basket by Cameron Soenksen, and never trailed.

     The Indians posted leads of 10-2 and 17-4 before taking a 20-7 lead to the first quarter buzzer.

     “They came out making shots, they were getting steals and turnovers, and I think we were a little shell-shocked,” junior Connor Lambert said.

     Camanche boosted its lead to 29-12 midway through the second quarter before Monticello closed the first half on an 11-2 run to cut the margin to eight, 31-23. Justin Recker, who scored 21 points for the Panthers, hit a pair of three-pointers during that run, and a steal by Luke Lambert followed by a pass to Ty Kehoe for a layup made it an eight-point game.

     “I thought we looked very nervous in the first quarter, but then we settled down and started playing our game,” coach Lambert said.

     When Connor Lambert opened the second half with a three-point basket, it pulled Monticello to within five. But Camanche went on an 11-2 run over the next four minutes to regain a 14-point lead, and despite three-pointers by Monticello’s Petersen and Connor Lambert, the Indians opened it up to 53-36 after three periods.

     The Camanche lead was 16, 58-42, with 5:29 to play before the Panthers went on an 8-1 run. Luke Lambert scored off a pass from Petersen, and Connor Lambert and Recker sank three-pointers. With 4:32 to play, the Panthers trailed 59-50.

     “I think the world of Monticello,” Camanche coach Josh Davis said after the game. “I think they are one of the better teams here, so we knew we were in for a run today.”

     It helped the Panthers that Camanche, which was 14-for-31 from the free throw line for the game, missed 14 free throws in the fourth quarter alone.

     “We knew, the way the game was going, we had to stop the clock and hope they miss free throws,” Connor Lambert said. “And they did, but we didn’t hit the big shots when we needed to at the end.”

     Monticello only could score two points the rest of the way, and the Indians were able to pull away once more.

     “We thought we were playing well, but we just had too many turnovers,” said junior Justin Recker, who led all scorers with 21 points. “We’d get (close), and then we’d turn it over, and they’d go on a little run.”

     Connor Lambert scored 12 points, going 4-for-9 from three-point range. Ty Kehoe was 3-for-6 from beyond the arc and finished with 11 points.

     Luke Lambert led the team in rebounds with 10. Tate Petersen and Kehoe had four assists apiece.

     Camanche was led by its “big three” of L.J. Henderson with 17 points, Cameron Soenksen with 15, and Caleb Dalzell with 12.

     The Panthers finished the season with a 21-3 record, including 17-1 in the River Valley Conference and a share of the North Division Championship.

     “We know how to get here now,” junior Luke Lambert said after the game, “Every team (at State) is impressive, big, athletic, and we know what it takes to win now. Hopefully we’ll be back next year.”

     “We had an unbelievable season,” coach Lambert said. “We did some amazing things.”

     The coach gave credit to the four seniors – Devin Kraus, Jeff Carlson, Ethan Martensen and Cade Folken – for their contributions this season.

     “They accepted their roles, and they were as big a part of the team as anybody else,” the coach said. “They created a culture that was fun to be around. It was fun every day.”


March 10

State Class 2A



(at Wells Fargo Arena,

Des Moines)

Monti    7 16 13 16 – 52

Cam     20 11 22 14 – 67

     MONTICELLO (52) – Justin Recker 7-15 4-4 21, Luke Lambert 2-8 1-3 5, Connor Lambert 4-9 0-0 12, Ty Kehoe 4-11 0-0 11, Tate Petersen 1-6 0-2 3, Devin Kraus 0-1 0-0 0, Tyler Luensman 0-0 0-0 0, Ethan Martensen 0-1 0-0 0, Cade Folken 0-1 0-0 0, Jeff Carlson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-53 5-9 52.

     CAMANCHE (67) – L.J. Henderson 6-8 5-14 17, Caleb Delzell 5-10 1-2 12, Zach Erwin 1-3 1-4 3, Cameron Soenksen 5-10 3-4 15, Jordan Lawrence 2-2 2-3 7, Zayne Feller 4-4 1-2 9, Ethan Buckley 1-1 0-0 3, Nolan Baker 0-0 0-0 0, Logan Shaw 0-0 0-0 0, Kyle DeWeerdt 0-0 0-0 0, Brayden Lodge 0-0 0-0 0, Dylan Darsidan 0-0 0-0 0, Mike Delzell 0-1 1-2 1, Payton Draper 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-39 14-31 67.

     Three-pointers: C. Lambert 4, Recker 3, Kehoe 3, Petersen; Soenksen 2, C. Delzell, Lawrence, Buckley.

     Rebounds: Camanche 32, Monticello 30 (L. Lambert 10, Recker 4, C. Lambert 4).

     Total fouls: Monticello 19, Camanche 13.



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