La Crosse Central High School will be the site for the 14th annual Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle, set for February 1, 2020.
Seven games pitting top teams from Wisconsin against top teams from Minnesota get underway at 10:00 a.m. when small-school powers Stratford and Spring Grove hook up.
Minnesota leads the all-time series 47-31, but Wisconsin teams hope to come out on top for the second time in the past three seasons come February. Minnesota won last year's series of games, 5-2.
Following is a brief look at each contest:
Vaughn Breit of Stratford
10:00 a.m. -- Stratford, WI vs. Spring Grove, MN
Stratford went 24-1 a year ago and returns a pair of first-team all-Marawood South Conference performers in senior forwards Vaugh Breit (6-5) and Ben Barten (6-5). Breit is a three-time all-league performer who can impact a game with his passing, shooting, physical strength and toughness. He averaged 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds as a junior. Barten is a two-time first-team all-league player who averaged 15.4 ppg and 6.8 rpg a year ago. Senior Chandler Schmidt (6-2) is the third returning starter for the Tigers, who also bring back three key reserves in Teddy Redman (6-0), Dawson Danen (6-3) and Max Vanderhoof (5-7). Spring Grove is coming off a 19-4 season and is led by junior wing Caden Grinde (6-3).
Aidan Clarey of Brookfield Academy
11:30 a.m. -- Brookfield Academy, WI vs. Lake City, MN
This game is loaded with players who will compete at the next level. Brookfield Academy finished 20-6 a year ago under coach Pat Clarey and features four returning starters, all of whom boast the talent required to play basketball in college. That group includes senior guard Aidan Clarey (6-2), who averaged 19.8 ppg and 4.2 rpg as a junior, and senior forward Alex Leach (6-6), who contributed 11.0 ppg and 7.8 rpg, along with junior wing Max Kunnert (6-3), who averaged 13.3 ppg and 5.2 rpg, and junior forward Logan Landers (6-7), who added 14.1 ppg and 12.5 rpg. Clarey, Leach and Kunnert are solid NCAA Division II and III prospects in basketball while Landers is earning recruiting interest from Division I and II schools for baseball and basketball. That talented foursome hooks up with a Lake City squad coming off a 22-2 season and returning a pair of stellar 6-foot-3 senior wing players in Nathan Heise (6-3) and Reid Gastner (6-3).
Dalton Banks of Eau Claire North
1:15 p.m. Eau Claire North, WI vs. Rochester Mayo, MN
The larger schools take the stage at 1:15 p.m. with Eau Claire North of the Big Rivers Conference battling Rochester Mayo of the Big Nine Conference. North is led by senior point guard Dalton Banks (6-2), who is coming off a junior season in which he averaged 23.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists while helping the Huskies to a 14-9 record. Banks, who plans to visit NCAA Division I schools Ball State, Southern Illinois and Wright State in September, is one of three returning starters for coach Todd Marks. The other returning regulars -- senior wing Ashton Kallstrom (6-0) and junior combination guard Chad Kron (6-0) -- are very talented players in their own right and team with Banks to give North one of the better backcourt trios in the state. Rochester Mayo is coached by former Bloomer and Chippewa Falls coach Luke Madsen. Mayo features Madsen's senior sons, 6-foot-5 wing Gabe Madsen and 6-3 point guard Mason Madsen. Both Madsen boys have a plethora of scholarship offers from Division I programs, and both are taking an official visit to Cincinnati this weekend. Marquette is among the schools recruiting Gabe Madsen and the Golden Eagles are slated to receive an official visit from the sharpshooting wing in early September.
Keaton Ferris of Kaukauna
2:45 p.m. -- Kaukauna, WI vs. Mahtomedi, MN
Two highly respected programs with plenty of recent success hit the floor when Kaukauna takes on Mahtomedi. The Ghosts have won two WIAA Division 2 state titles over the past four seasons and boast three returning regulars from a club that went 20-6 a year ago under veteran coach Mike Schalow. Seniors Keaton Ferris (6-0), Logan Jedwabny (6-2) and Jacob Newhouse (6-5) provide a solid core for Kaukauna with Ferris and Jedwabny owning NCAA Division II scholarship offers from Minot State and Northern Michigan, respectively. Ferris (12.9 ppg), Jedwabny (17.3 ppg) and Newhouse (11.5 ppg) averaged in double figures last winter. Sophomore Chris Morgan (6-0) also figures to play a huge role for the Ghosts after playing major minutes as a freshman at Ashwaubenon. Morgan currently holds a Divisision I scholarship offer from West Virginia. Mahtomedi went 21-5 in 2018-19 and is led by senior forward J'Vonne Hadley (6-5).
4:15 p.m. Milwaukee Washington, WI vs. Austin, MN
Washington was hit hard in the off season as junior forward Michael Foster Jr. (6-10) and junior guard Chianti Clay Jr. (5-9) each opted to enroll at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix. In addition, the Purgolders lost Kansas recruit Tre White (6-6), who opted to move back to Texas after playing 11 games for Washington last season. Grambling State recruit Deontay Long and wing Johntae Martin were lost to graduation, leaving the cupboard somewhat bare for 2019-20. But coach Freddie Riley will rally the remaining players in the Washington program to put together a solid squad. Junior guard Tre Valeriano (5-9) played big minutes a year ago while juniors Marques Gray (5-8), Koriayon Mckay (5-8), Shamar Hollis (5-9). Diamaunte Terry (6-5), Christopher Williams Jr. (6-3) and Nicholas Spain (6-3) all contend for starting roles. Austin is led by athletic junior Teyghan Hovland (6-3).
Jordan Davis of La Crosse Central
6:00 p.m. -- La Crosse Central, WI vs. Minnehaha Academy, MN
The feature game of the day pits two of the top teams in the entire Midwest. La Crosse Central has advanced to the WIAA State Tournament in each of the past three seasons and won the Division 2 state crown in 2017. The Red Raiders are led by the twin tandem of senior guards Johnny Davis (6-5) and Jordan Davis (6-4). Both of the Davis boys are headed to the University of Wisconsin on basketball scholarships, and both are three-year varsity performers for coach Todd Fergot. Joining the Davis twins as a key returning regular is senior forward Terrance Thompson (6-7), a muscular post player who also can step outside and make perimeter shots. Thompson remains undecided about his collegiate plans, but owns scholarship offers from 10 different Division I programs. Minnehaha Academy, which went 23-2 a year ago, is led by senior guard Jalen Suggs (6-4) and junior forward Chet Holmgren (7-0). Both Suggs and Holmgren rank among the top 15 players nationally in their respective classes in the most recent rankings on 247Sports. Minnehaha also features an extremely athletic and promising sophomore forward in Prince Aligbe (6-6).
Gavin McGrath of Onalaska
7:30 p.m. -- Onalaska, WI vs. Lakeville North, MN
Onalaska, of course, is La Crosse Central's top rival in the Mississippi Valley Conference and, like the Red Raiders, the Hilltoppers boast a roster loaded with talent. Seniors Carson Arenz (6-5) and Tyrell Stuttley (6-5) are coming off strong junior seasons as each averaged around 15 ppg while helping coach Craig Kowal's squad to a 20-5 record. Joining Arenz and Stuttley as returning starters are senior Dakota Mannel (5-10) and talented juniors Sam Kick (6-1) and Gavin McGrath (6-11). McGrath averaged 6.6 ppg and 7.0 rpg as a sophomore and figures to be among the most watched class of 2021 prospects in the state by collegiate recruiters over the next several months. Lakeville North finished 22-4 a year ago and is led by junior guard Will Blaszciek (6-2).