Wall and Lane Make History
Updated Wednesday, March 8th, 2017, 3:40pm
Damon Wall '18 and Chase Lane '18 have just been named to the
All State Prep B Basketball First Team. The naming of two players to this
elite squad marks a first in Doane Academy's long history.
(Original article, below, by Phil Anastasi - email@example.com)
If everything goes according to plan, the back wall of Doane Academy's tiny gymnasium will soon be demolished to make room for a larger facility for the Spartans' expanding athletic program.
That's a fitting metaphor for what Damon Wall and Chase Lane have been doing on that court this season.
The junior guards have been plowing through the perception that the little private school on the banks of the Delaware River in Burlington City is the quaint home of a small-time boys' basketball team.
With Wall and Lane combining for an average of 35 points per game, Doane Academy has compiled an 18-3 record, gone undefeated against South Jersey foes and earned the No. 6 seed in the upcoming Non-Public B South tournament.
"Nobody believes in us, but we believe in ourselves," said Lane, a 6-foot-4 athlete from Eastampton, Burlington County.
These are exciting times for Doane Academy, thanks in large part to a pair of recent gifts totalling more than $25 million from late industrialist Henry Rowan and his family's charitable foundation.
The second-oldest school in South Jersey, Doane Academy - founded in 1837 as a boarding school for girls - is known for its small classes, high academic standards and diverse student body in grades kindergarten through 12.
"We have so many different kinds of kids here," said Wall, who lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. "Chinese kids. Black kids. Rich kids. Poor kids. We're all a big family."
Under veteran coach Dan Williamson, Doane Academy boys' basketball long has been the most visible athletic program on the school's leafy 10-acre campus, which sits in the shadow of the Burlington-Bristol bridge.
But the Spartans have taken another step this season, with a 6-0 mark against South Jersey foes Moorestown Friends, GCIT, LEAP Academy, Maple Shade, Riverside and New Egypt, plus a surprising drive to Monday's Prep B state championship game against Morristown-Beard.
In addition, the Spartans will host one of South Jersey's most highly-respected programs when Holy Spirit visits March 1 for the first round of the Non-Public B South tournament.
"Our guard play is the best we've ever had," Williamson said. "And this team probably plays defense better than any team we've ever had."
Williamson, also the school's athletic director, said the Spartans are bound for a push into South Jersey prominence as improved facilities and the school's rising profile attract more accomplished student athletes.
In that regard, Wall and Lane serve as poster boys for the basketball program as both are top students who have attracted interest from college recruiters, according to Williamson.
Wall was highly-touted on the local AAU circuit as a middle-school athlete. He played for Doane Academy as a freshman, left to attend Newark-based basketball power St. Benedict's as a sophomore and returned to the school in Burlington City before this school year.
"I'm so much more comfortable here," the 5-foot-11 Wall said. "It's one of those situations where, the grass isn't always greener.
"At St. Benedict's, I was just another number. Here, I feel loved."
Wall is averaging 18.7 points along with 4.4 assists per game. He scored 33 points against GCIT, 27 against New Egypt and 30 in a 64-62 win over Pennington on Saturday that sent Doane Academy into the Prep B state final.
"He's one of those typical Philly point guards," Williamson said of Wall.
Lane's brother, Carl, also played at Doane Academy, graduating in 2013.
Chase Lane is averaging 16.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists. He has scored in double figures in every game except one, when he managed eight, and reached the 1,000-point mark for his career in Monday's loss to Girard (Pa.) College.
"The hardest-working kid I've ever been around," Williamson said of Lane. "He will literally be here for eight hours Saturday and Sunday if I open the gym."
Lane said Doane Academy's low profile as a small-school team that plays in the Penn-Jersey league serves as motivation.
"We hear it all the time," Lane said. "But we're out to prove everybody wrong."