Creston senior swingman Luke Neitzel earned third-team all-state honors on the Iowa Newspapers Association Class 3A all-state team.
It marks the first time the 6-2 senior has earned INA all-state honors in basketball.
“He’s put a lot of time in over the years, and this just kind of goes to show the success he had and we had,” Creston head coach Billy Hiatt said. “Lots of times Luke didn’t have real high numbers as far as scoring points, but he did the little things like assists and rebounding the ball. He did a lot of little things to help us have success and I’m very happy for him.
“I hope the young guys can learn off of him,” Hiatt continued. “He’s very deserving of it. It was a tough class this year, there’s some really good players in 3A, so it speaks volumes for him.”
Neitzel finished second on the Creston team in scoring at 11.4 points per game and ranked second on the team with 54 assists. He led the Panthers with 50 steals and with 5.3 rebounds per game.
The Panthers finished the year 19-4 overall and second place in the Hawkeye 10 Conference at 11-2.
“I do think that helps sway people, when you have success and have wins, that shows leadership,” Hiatt said. “To me that say a lot compared to if he scores 30 points a game and we win four or five games. It goes along with what we teach over here — teamwork, teamwork. That’s just how we try to get our program to run.”
Neitzel often had his biggest games on the biggest stages for the Panthers — performing well against teams like Atlantic, Harlan and Nodaway Valley.
In a district final loss to Atlantic, Neitzel scored 22 of the team’s 48 points. He also scored 16 at Harlan and 18 at Nodaway Valley.
“There’s some games where we had big crowds because we were playing good teams,” Hiatt said. “He performed well in those games. This past summer we went and played some stuff against tough teams, and he really stepped up.
“Last game against Atlantic, he had a really good game,” Hiatt continued. “He really steps up when he plays better competition. That’s definitely the time you want to get after it. I think that goes with his competitive spirit. I think he likes to compete. I think he’s very deserving to get an all-state selection.”
Joining Neitzel on the Class 3A team were fellow Hawkeye 10 players Dalton Franken of Atlantic and Trey Lansman of Harlan, both on the second team, and Sam Markham of Atlantic and Nate Cave of Harlan, both on the third team.