Four earn first-team accolades from INA

Four earn first-team accolades from INA

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Four earn first-team accolades from INA

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Four area boys basketball players were named to all-state teams by the Iowa Newspaper Association, and all four were first-team selections.

State champion West High was honored with two Class 4A first-team selections: senior Jeremy Morgan and junior Wyatt Lohaus. The Trojans also had two first-teamers a year ago.

West Branch senior Rylan Murry was named to the first team in Class 2A, and Lone Tree senior Bryan Forbes was a Class 1A first-team pick. West Des Moines Valley’s Peter Jok, an Iowa recruit, was named Mr. Basketball.

Morgan and Lohaus were instrumental in West’s state tournament run last week, helping the team to climb out of a hole in the final two minutes of regulation against West Des Moines Dowling, spurring a second-half comeback against Dubuque Senior and a igniting the defense in the dominating championship-game victory over Bettendorf. Both players were named to the all-tournament team with Morgan designated as captain.

Morgan is a repeat first-team selection, and Lohaus was a third-team pick as a sophomore a year ago.

The 6-foot-6 Morgan averaged 12.2 points, made 38 percent of his 3-pointers and 77 percent of his free throws. He led the team in steals (2.7 per game) and was second in assists (3.7) and rebounds (4.5). He also blocked 37 shots through the semifinal. He finished his career as the all-time assists leader at West. He has signed with Northern Iowa.

His play in the second half against Dubuque Senior in the tate semifinal game, hitting 4-of-5 3-pointers, was instrumental in West’s comeback victory.

Lohaus, a 6-2 point guard, led the team with a 13.3 point average. He hit 39 percent on his 3-point shots and 74 percent on his free throws. He led the team in assists (5 per game) and had about a 2.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has committed to play at Northern Iowa but still has his senior season to complete.

Lohaus was a man possessed in the championship game, scoring 22 points and spearheading West’s early run to take a big lead. He hit a long 3-pointer as time expired in the second quarter to give West a 15-point halftime lead.

“Both players are ultimate team players and leaders,” West coach Steve Bergman said. “They are complete players, and I appreciate that the selectors recognize that isn’t all about scoring average.

“Wyatt has joined Jeremy as an elite defender and these two are our leaders in assists. For them, winning a game always came before their personal glory. We would not have the team success without this.”

The versatile Murry finished his career at West Branch as the career-leader in just about every statistical category except rebounds where he finished second to Marv Cook. Murry averaged 23.8 points on 55 percent shooting and shot 80.3 percent at the free-throw line. He grabbed 8.2 rebounds per game and had almost four assists per game. He was able to accomplish this despite being the focus of every opponent’s defense and facing numerous box-and-one type defenses designed to deny him the ball. He will play next season at Nebraska-Omaha.

Murry also was an academic all-state selection and is a top student taking several college-level classes.

“This is the first time we have had a first-team all-state selection in quite a while, in fact, I don’t know if we have ever had one in basketball, and if we have it was a long time ago,” coach Stephen Bender said. “He is a great player with great character. He is very fundamentally sound, and with his size it makes him really hard to guard.

“He is the type of player that makes his teammates better. I have really enjoyed coaching him, and he has helped us win 66 games the last 4 years.”

Forbes, a perpetual motion machine on the court, led his team to the state tournament. This season the Lions lost only to state champion Boyden-Hull and third-place finisher Danville, which was ranked No. 1 all season.

The 6-3 Forbes averaged 23.7 points on 52 percent shooting. He shot 45 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent from the foul line. He also led his team in rebounding (9.1).He averaged nearly five assists and five steals per game. He blocked 51 shots.

He was a nightmare match-up for opponents with his ability to shoot from NBA 3-point range while also being effective with dribble penetration or in the paint. Like his teammates he was a ferocious defender in the Lions’ all-out press.

“This is a great honor and well deserving for Bryan,” Lone Tree coach Tom Squiers said. “He has put in so much time to basketball during his career at Lone Tree. He worked very hard in the off-season to improve his game and probably put more time in the gym than any player I have ever coached.”

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