DES MOINES — Murray's Austin Halls had one of the best statistical seasons in the history of Iowa boys basketball, but he is a repeat member of the second all-state team in Class 1A by the Iowa Newspaper Association.
The INA announced its 2013 All-State Boys Basketball teams today for Class 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A. A statewide panel of sportswriters was assisted by members of the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association.
Murray coach Darin Wookey said not getting the statewide exposure from an appearance in the state tournament was probably costly in gaining a first-team spot this year.
"We needed to take care of business and get to the state tournament," Wookey said. "That's the way it works. To surpass 2,000 (career) points, finishing sixth in the state in scoring (this season), while also finishing fifth in assists and becoming the state's all-time steals leader, that speaks volumes to what he was able to accomplish."
Murray, 23-2, was defeated by Ankeny Christian in the substate round this year. Last year, Class 1A fourth-place Nodaway Valley knocked out the 22-2 Mustangs in the district finals.
Halls averaged 25.1 points per game, 7.6 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 5.1 steals as a senior. He was 61-of-178 on 3-pointers for 34.3 percent.
He stands seventh all-time in Iowa scoring (2,360), first all-time in steals (459), and fifth all-time in assists (704) while also grabbing 588 rebounds. For his career, he was 227-of-682 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range. He shot 78.7 percent at the free throw line.
"I've never had a kid who was so versatile in what he could do," Wookey said. "He could go inside and out for us. Defensively, he could read a pass like no one else. He knew what kids were going to do before they did!"
Many of his 704 career assists were to teammate Cody Scroggie, also an all-state candidate who averaged 15 points, 3.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds. Scroggie had 1,406 points, ranking fourth in school history.
"They were a great combination," Wookey said. "Austin would be the first to tell you that without Cody and his teammates, he's not where he is today. Cody took a lot of pressure off by hitting some shots. A lot of those assists were to Cody on fast breaks, getting up and down the floor against pressure."
Halls, also captain of the INA's eight-man all-state football team, is considering Buena Vista or Central College to continue his basketball career and major in education.
The first team backcourt includes returning first-team all-staters Steven Soukup of Danville and Luke Lenhart of Storm Lake St. Mary's, who each played in three state tournaments. This year Danville was third and St. Mary's runner-up. They are joined by Briar Cliff recruit Austin Lefler of Lawton-Bronson, a 24-2 team knocked out in the substate by St. Mary's.
First-team utility selections are the versatile Brandt Van Roekel of Boyden-Hull's two-time state championship team, and Bryan Forbes of Lone Tree, who scored 29 points in a four-point state quarterfinal loss to Boyden-Hull.
The area had a second 1A all-stater in Mount Ayr senior Braydee Poore, who was also part of a significant one-two combination on the court.
Poore was named to the INA's third team in Class 1A as a front line player. The 6-3 senior averaged 15.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.0 steals for a Raider team that was 16-8 this year, falling to Murray in the district finals, and 20-3 last year.
Poore was part of four 15-plus victory seasons as a Raider. He shot 49.8 percent from the field and 62.8 percent at the free throw line. For his career, he had 1,065 points, 276 assists and 166 steals.
"You look at the state statistics, and Braydee is not only up there in scoring, but also in assists and steals and even very close to the top 10 in rebounding," coach Bret Ruggles said. "He's been a guy we can put in the post if we need to, he can hit the three-ball on the outside. The biggest thing people don't recognize from him is what he does on the back side of the defense. He was so valuable in getting those key steals and key stops."
Ruggles said Poore's unselfish play was important when teams tried to double-team him.
"Here's a 1,000-point scorer who was really a pass-first guy," Ruggles said. "He was always willing to give teammates opportunities. He understands the team concept."
Poore, also a state-champion high jumper and all-state football receiver, is considering basketball and track at William Penn University in Oskaloosa.
Also a unanimous all-conference selection and all-state candidate from Mount Ayr was Jake Still, a 6-2 senior. Still averaged 17.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
"Both Braydee and Jake were big parts of our success and created problems for our opponents," Ruggles said.
The 1A third team also includes Adam Courtney of Guthrie Center and Spencer Rochholz of Adair-Casey. Rochholz averaged 23.1 points and 6.9 rebounds for A-C's 16-6 team.
For Guthrie Center, a 19-5 team that lost to Ankeny Christian in the district final, Courtney provided 24.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, and was among the state leaders with 101 steals (4.2 average). He made 72 3-pointers.
Also nominated for all-state honors from the area were Mason Peterson of Lenox, Jeremy Deemer and Jackson Carr of Lamoni and the Ankeny Christian duo of center Ben Taylor and guard J.J. Waddle. All of them, along with Still and Scroggie, were among the top eight players in Substate 6 according to a panel of coaches.
The INA panel named West Des Moines Valley senior Peter Jok as Mr. Basketball.
Jok, who will play basketball at the University of Iowa next year, averaged 23.6 points per game, scoring a total of 542 points this season. He was a 92.6 percent free throw shooter and finished the year shooting 126 of 136 from the line. He shot 42 percent from three-point range, hitting 58-of-138 shots.
Jok also led the Tigers in rebounding, averaging 6.4 per game while pulling down a total of 148 rebounds this season. He finished the year with 72 assists, 28 steals and one blocked shot.