By Cara L. Dempski
WISCONSIN DELLS — For most high school students, their senior year is one full of goodbyes.
Music students play or sing in their final concerts, actors and actresses perform in their last plays, and athletes finish their final games or meets with their teams.
Unless, of course, the students are like Elk Mound’s Dane Lew, and earn invitations to post-season all-star events.
Lew was selected to participate in the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s Division 3 North all-star team.
[emember_protected] He was part of a 10-player roster coached by Matthew Klarner, who coached the Xavier High School Hawks to a 73-47 win over Prescott in March for the WIAA Division 3 state boys’ basketball championship.
The team met their southern opposition June 17 at JustAgame in Wisconsin Dells, losing the game 111-87.
Klarner seemed pleased to have Lew as part of his all-star team.
“Dane is an elite competitor,” Klarner said. “He plays the game the way it should be played: all-out on every possession. It was a pleasure to get to know him during the all-star week.”
The Appleton-based coach also noted three-sport athletes such as Lew are a dying breed, but Klarner said Lew’s drive, ability to listen and accept coaching, and competitive spirit are what help him excel in all three sports he played.
The former Mounder basketball player and Xavier coach had plenty of time to get to know each other the week of the game. Lew’s week started June 13 with a trip to Appleton and a team meeting at Xavier High School. The team held its first practice that afternoon before heading to a team dinner at Klarner’s home and then taking some time to get to know each other.
Wednesday started with breakfast and a second practice session before the team broke for lunch and some free time. The team met for a third practice later that afternoon before holding a team scrimmage and heading to Klarner’s house again for dinner. The players had some more free time before lights-out at 10 p.m.
Thursday saw the team getting breakfast at 8 a.m. before packing for the trip to Wisconsin Dells and arriving at JustAgame Fieldhouse around 11:30 a.m. The D3 North team headed to lunch at Buffalo Phil’s before checking in at Great Wolf Lodge and then heading off to see a Tommy Bartlett “Ski and Sky” show.
Everyone met back at JustAgame for a team scrimmage before eating dinner at the fieldhouse, getting in some sight-seeing and fun, and hitting bed at 10 p.m.
Friday morning brought the team’s fourth practice, this time on the court the players would see again the next day, before going for a jet boat ride and lunch. The young players had free time afterward, but had to be back at the hotel and ready to depart for the all-star banquet at Chula Vista Resort by 6:15 p.m.
The players were in bed by 11 p.m. to rest up for the following day.
The Division 3 game started at 12:30 p.m. June 17. Lew made the most of his 18 minutes in the game, scoring 10 points on a pair of three-pointers, a field goal, and two shots from the line. The recent graduate also reeled in a trio of rebounds.
While Lew’s team did not pick up the win, he still called the week a win.
“I had a great experience playing in the all-star game,” he said. “I had the opportunity to play with many other great athletes, meet new people, and learn to play with a new team. I thought it was a lot of fun, especially in the Dells, and I’m happy to have had the chance to play one last basketball game.”
Elk Mound head boys’ basketball coach Mike Kessler said the former Mounder player’s hard work and success was rewarded with his selection as a WBCA all-star. Kessler noted Lew’s basketball skills were only part of the reason he was selected for the team.
“Coaches down there were not only impressed by his skills as a basketball player, but were more impressed with his character and work ethic,” Kessler said. “Dane was not just a tremendous player for us, but also a standout young man. He exemplified everything an all-star should be.” [/emember_protected]