(Above) Clear Lake’s Zach Lester (left) and GHV’s James Betz went toe-to-toe during the Clear Lake vs. GHV game played on Feb. 8 , in Clear Lake. -Reporter file photo by Chris Barragy
The Iowa Print Sports Writers Association (IPSWA) has announced its inaugural boys basketball all-state team on Tuesday. Clear Lake’s Zach Lester was a First Team Class 3A selection, while Garner-Hayfield-Ventura’s James Betz was a Class 2A Second Team selection.
The teams are selected by print sports writers in Iowa, and honor the top-24 high school boys basketball players in each class.
Lester had an outstanding senior season, setting multiple school records. He was also a unanimous First Team All-North Central Conference player. Lester scored between 30 and 39 points in nine games and between 40 and 49 in three games. His season high in scoring came against Crestwood in the Lions’ final game of the season when he put in 49 points.
He finished with school records for points in a season (665) and career school record for points (1,354). His other records included field goals made in a season (246) and career (472). He finished eighth all-time at CLHS in three-pointers made with 73. He broke the school’s season record for free throws with 138 made and set a school record with 337 made free throws in his career. His 114 assists this season was the 10th most in school history; he was already listed fourth on the list from two years earlier. He set a school record for assists in a career (363) and broke his own school record of 79 steals with 92 this season. He set a school record for steals in a career with 237 and finished ninth all-time with 29 blocks in his high school career.
During the 2017-18 season Lester averaged 30.2 points per game, ranking him third among all high school players, all classes.
GHV junior James Betz averaged 15.4 points and 10 rebounds per game. He also dished out 63 assists and had 43 blocks, helping the Cards to a 20-5 record.
This year’s IPSWA teams included the top-eight for each team, regardless of the position the players play. The players were decided by sports writers voting in each class. The Iowa Print Sports Writers Association was formed in February 2018 to carry on the long-standing tradition of the all-state program. The Iowa Newspaper Association voted to end their involvement in the program in January, and agreed to transition it into the purview of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association. Founding members included former members of the Iowa Newspaper Association all-state committee. Other sports writers were added to the IPSWA board of directors following its formation.