Fuller House: Family ties on cohesive D-NH squad

Cade Fuller knows what his little brother can do on the court.


When Dane Fuller was a little "gun-shy," as Cade put it, in his freshman year, big brother wanted to make sure Dane gained some confidence in the offseason.


"He felt like he couldn't take shots he would normally take, and I told him, 'If you're open, shoot,'" Cade said. "It'll go in if you're shooting the right shot."


Dane's contributions have been a major boost to a senior-heavy Dike-New Hartford team looking to keep the good times rolling after a state football runner-up finish in the UNI-Dome late last year.


The Wolverines begin their state basketball journey at 8:15 p.m. Monday against Van Meter in a Class 2A quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.


"It's gonna be awesome," Dane Fuller said. "Some people don't even get this opportunity once in their life, so we want to treat it like a good one."


Cade is averaging 15.1 points per game in his senior year, just behind Colton Harberts' 15.7 point-per-game average. Dane is contributing 10.1 points for the Wolverines (21-1), up from his average of 4.5 as a freshman.


"Dane's super athletic, he can run and jump well," D-NH head coach Greg Moore said. "Cade's been the leader on the team for a couple of years now, and there will be times that he'll take [Dane] aside if he thinks he's getting rattled a bit, but for the most part, Dane's super competitive and the one thing he's gotten better at this year is his defensive game. We'll stick him on the best offensive guard once in awhile just because his defense has gotten so good.


"You've got a slasher in Dane … and a guy that handles himself pretty well driving the ball to the basket and shooting the three in Cade. Both run the floor really well."


The Fullers aren't the only family connection on the team. Coach Greg Moore has his two sons playing together, another senior-sophomore duo of Ryan and Nathan Moore, respectively.


"I try not to coach them at home and leave the basketball here," Greg Moore said. "They handle things well and they're both a little different in styles – Ryan is more defensive, Nathan's a headier, more offensive kind of guy, but they're competitive in practice and get after each other a bit, too. It's enjoyable to have those kids there and see them every day."


There's also some connections to the 2016 team that last qualified for state basketball: An older brother to Ryan and Nathan, Jacob Moore, was on the 2016 Wolverines roster. Ditto Brody Goos, the older brother of Owen, and Jake Sonnenberg, the older brother of Drew.


After going through so much as a team on the football field last fall, the Wolverine boys have plenty of bonds of their own between each other.


"The whole team is basically my brothers," Dane Fuller said. "We just have to focus on staying positive and not letting little things get in between us and working hard."


VAN METER A TALL CHALLENGE: Ryan Schmitt, a 6-foot-9 senior, is the leading scorer at 15.1 points per game for the Bulldogs. Anthony Potthoff (14.6 points) and Spencer Lamb (12.4 points) are each 6-foot-3.


Van Meter knocked out Pella Christian in the substate final, 48-46, to return to the state tournament for the third-consecutive season.


"They're a very tall team and they don't like to push it," Harberts said. "We don't want to play into their game, we want to keep playing fast while staying under control and not turning the ball over. … Gotta box out, can't give them second chances."


Harberts averages 9.6 rebounds this season and Derek Kinney adds 5.4 rebounds.


"We'll have to try and pressure them when they have the ball, I'll help Colton out with help-side defense," Kinney said. "We play better when we play fast and keep it in transition, so we need to keep pushing the ball."


The Wolverines have been able to distribute the scoring load effectively this season, and that'll have to continue on Monday.


"We've got to look for the open guy," Tim Koop said. "We've got a bunch of good scorers, we just have to spread the ball around."


Greg Moore also wants D-NH to keep its head in the game.


"We've been in these situations with football before, we just can't let the environment get the best of us," he added. "[Van Meter] executes so well and plays really solid defense and don't turn the ball over. … We just need our guys to play our game and stay within themselves and play together as a team."