The names missing from West High box scores this season are obvious.
Devontae Lane rattled off the list of departed seniors from last year’s state title team like clockwork.
Mr. Basketball winner and current UNI Panther Wyatt Lohaus topped Lane’s list.
Names like Chike Ukah, Nick Gallagher and Garrett Grimsman quickly followed.
Toss in current senior David DiLeo, who has missed three of the first four games with an injury, and West High has been without its top four scorers and top four rebounders from a season ago.
Lane has been a big reason why three-time defending state champion West High (4-0) hasn’t skipped a beat this season.
The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard has scored in double figures in all four games while averaging 15.8 points, second on the team only to fellow sophomore Connor McCaffery’s 16.8 points per game.
“It’s definitely a bigger role for me this year,” Lane said. “Last year we had all those great seniors and this year we are relying on me now to make plays.”
So far it has been a role that the explosive Lane has excelled in.
Lane leads the Trojans in assists (12) and steals (8) and is averaging 3.8 rebounds per game.
The sophomore’s production has helped West High to a perfect start despite the absence of DiLeo and breaking in several new starters.
“It’s big as a sophomore to follow in the footsteps of the guys that we’ve had here,” Lane said. “That’s what you want when you play here.”
The Trojans expect to get DiLeo back soon from a bruised thigh that has limited the senior to just one game.
DiLeo, who averaged 12.5 points per game last year, has missed the Trojan’s last two games and hasn’t played since Dec. 6.
“He is getting better fast but it’s one of those things where rest and a little bit of rehab is about all you can do,” West High coach Steve Bergman said.
DiLeo was excellent in his only action of the season, scoring 25 points in an 81-66 win over Hopkins, Minn.
The 6-foot-7 senior was 5-of-7 from 3-point range in the win in Minneapolis.
“He is a big part of our offense,” Lane said of DiLeo. “When he gets back we’ll be pretty good.”
• MILESTONE IN THE MAKING: Iowa Mennonite coach Dwight Gingerich will enter elite company the next time IMS picks up a win. Gingerich, who currently sits at 599 career wins, will become just the ninth coach in state history to join the 600-win club. IMS travels to Louisa-Muscatine (2-3) on Tuesday and to Pekin on Friday.
• MR. DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Three games, three double-doubles. That was line for Regina senior forward Drew Cook last week who recorded point-rebound double-doubles in three Regal wins. The 6-foot-5 Cook averaged 22.3 points and 12 rebounds during the week and is averaging 24.3 points and 11 rebounds per game this season.
• TOUGH ROAD AHEAD: Solon has opened the season 3-1 under first-year coach Jason Pershing and will face a tough end to the 2014 portion of its schedule this week. The Spartans travel to defending Class 3A runner-up Central Clinton (4-0) on Tuesday, host West Delaware (1-3) on Friday and wrap up their pre-holiday schedule at 4A Cedar Rapids Kennedy (2-1) on Saturday.
• RATINGS UPDATE: West High grabbed 14-of-16 first-place votes while earning the top spot in the first Class 4A Associated Press poll released Monday. Ankeny Centennial was second in 4A while North Scott was third. Regina was fourth in the opening Class 2A poll while River Valley Conference foe Cascade earned the top spot in 2A. In Class 3A Waverly-Shell Rock was No. 1 while Central Lyon claimed the top spot in 1A.
• A LOOK AHEAD: Longtime rivals Lone Tree (6-0) and Highland (4-1) meet in the first of two regular-season meetings on Tuesday at Highland. City High (1-1) will face one of the toughest tests of its early-season schedule when Cedar Falls (3-0) comes to town on Friday. Iowa Mennonite (4-0) will wrap up its pre-holiday schedule on Saturday by hosting Winfield-Mount Union (4-1) in a key SEISC showdown.
PERFORMANCES OF THE WEEK: Iowa Mennonite junior Eli Gingerich had 18 points, eight assists and six rebounds in a 62-61 win over Highland. Lone Tree sophomore Jovonte Squiers had 21 points and five assists in a 72-53 win over WACO. West Branch senior Brad Arp had 10 points and 13 rebounds in a 55-51 win over Washington. Regina junior Nathan Stenger had 21 points, four rebounds and four assists in a 62-56 win over Tipton.
Reach Ryan Murken at 339-7369 or email@example.com.