DES MOINES - He was one of the leaders of one of the best Springville boys basketball teams to take the floor in quite a few years.
Now Alex Koppes is also one of the rare Oriole boys to ever earn a first-team All-State hoop honor.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that Alex was chosen as a first-team All-State selection in class 1A by the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association (IPSWA),” said Koppes’ coach Nick Merritt. “To be one of the top-8 players in 1A in Iowa is a huge honor for Alex and for our program. Alex had a great year but definitely emerged on people’s radars over the post-season while posting some huge numbers and helping lead us to the state tournament where he had a big game on the biggest stage.”
When the Orioles needed a big shot, Koppes wanted the ball in his hands. And time and again the incredibly talented junior came through for his team guiding the program to a 20-6 record and the school’s second-ever state tournament berth by averaging 19.8 points per game while shooting a blistering 54-percent from the field, 45-percent from the 3-point line and 82-percent from the throw line.
Koppes was also among team leaders in rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shot as well.
The Springville team also just missed setting a school record for wins in a season, held by the 2013-14 team that went 21-2 and reached the district championship game.
“Alex’s hard work over his career has put him in this spot as he is always in the gym or in the driveway and has committed to the weight room to get stronger,” Merritt said. “While I know this is an individual award for Alex, I’m sure he would be the first to admit that is also an award for our team. Individual awards are often the result of a combination of team effort and success and a player’s hard work.
“Alex’s performance individually combined with our team’s great year were the recipe for the appropriate selection of Alex as a first-team pick. As a coach, I’m extremely proud of Alex and our team and feel fortunate to coach so many talented players.”
Koppes was one of two Tri-Rivers Conference players to earn class 1A first-team All-State honors by the IPSWA with Easton Valley junior Kaleb Cornielsen while the River Hawk senior Jessen Weber and Clinton Prince of Peace senior Nathan Moeller were named third-team Class 1A All-State picks.
Joining Koppes on the class 1A All-State first-team were: Trey Shearer, jr. (Montezuma), Nick Reid, sr. (Central City), Angelo Winkel, jr. (Algona Garrigan), JD Stout, sr. (Keota), Kiks Rosengarten, sr. (Wapsie Valley) and Braden Gibbons, sr. (Madrid).
Earning second-team class 1A All-State honors were: Brennan Sefrit, sr. (Bedford), Jackson Louscher, sr. (South O’Brien), Nik Coble, sr. (WACO), Zach Huff, sr. (Don Bosco), Keegan Edwards, sr. (Lone Tree), Noah Beck, sr. (BGM), Kayden Ames, jr. (West Fork) and Trey Baker, jr. (Martensdale-St. Mary’s).
Earning third-team class 1A All-State honors with Weber and Moeller were: Spencer Schorg, sr. (Remsen-St. Mary’s), Taurice Grant, jr. (Meskwaki), Cole Damman, sr. (Baxter), Gage Fry, sr. (Grand View Christian), Creighton Nelson, sr. (Exira-EHK) and Chett Helming, sr. (Lake Mills).
Tri-Rivers Conference talent was represented in class 2A as well as North Linn seniors Austin Miller and Austin Hilmer were both named first-team picks.
The IPSWA also chose their Mr. Basketball, naming Norwalk’s Bowen Born for the award. Born averaged 36.4 points per game. The 5-foot-11 guard is sixth on the Iowa High School boys basketball all-time career scoring list and is headed to the University of Northern Iowa on a full-ride scholarship.
Koppes is the first Springville boys’ basketball player to be named first-team All-State since Elias Nissen back in 2014.