By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
13 days. That’s all the time that seperated the Class 4A state championship football game and West High’s basketball opener against Marian Catholic.
One day shy of two weeks is all that stood between the final football game of Devontae Lane’s prep career and the start of his senior basketball season.
It felt like a lot less time than that to the West High two-sport standout.
“I was kind of sore and my legs were kind of dead,” Lane said of the transition from football to basketball. “It was kind of hard getting back into the flow of things.”
It’s easy to understand why Lane was a little sore.
The state title game loss to West Des Moines Valley capped a brilliant two-year football career for Lane who racked up 122 carries and 794 rushing yards this fall, all in the final eight games.
Following the Trojan’s run to the 4A title game it took some time and some hard work for Lane to get back up to full speed on the basketball court.
A returning all-stater in basketball, Lane has looked like his normal self the past few weeks.
Lane matched his season high with 23 points in a 74-50 win over Cedar Rapids Prairie last Friday and has scored more than 20 points in three of five games following the holiday break.
The play of Lane has helped top-ranked West High (10-1) open January with five straight wins after a loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie in its final game before break.
“The break definitely helped a lot,” Lane said. “Just coming in and working hard every day and getting back into basketball shape.”
Lane hardly got off to a slow start this season.
He scored in double figures in all six games in December, averaging 15.5 points during that stretch.
The 6-foot-2 senior guard used the holiday break to polish his game and get his legs under him, the type of things he previously did before the season opener but didn’t have time for this fall.
Lane has taken his game to another level since returning to the court in January.
“It was definitely the conditioning,” Lane said. “Just learning how to play as hard as you can for as long as you can.”
In five games after break Lane is averaging 16.2 points per game, similar to what he did before the break.
It’s how he’s done it that has been impressive.
Lane is shooting 63 percent from the field in five games in January, including a red-hot 55 percent (12-22) from 3-point range.
In six December games Lane was just 1-of-11 from beyond the three-point arc.
Lane already has three games with multiple 3-pointers in January including a 6-of-7 performance from 3-point range in a win at Linn-Mar.
He hit four 3-pointers in his 23-point performance against Cedar Rapids Prairie last week.
“When Devontae is shooting the ball like that it just makes it that much harder to try to defend him,” West High senior point guard Connor McCaffery said. “He is so good at getting to the basket off the dribble it’s tough to stop him when he’s making jump shots.”
On the season Lane ranks second behind McCaffery in scoring for West High averaging 15.8 points per game and is shooting 55 percent from the floor.
Lane leads West High in both assists (4.5 per game) and steals (3.4 per game) and is shooting 83 percent from the free throw line.
“You can definitely see that he is comfortable out there,” McCaffery said. “He’s playing really well right now and that’s what we expect from him.”