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Pairings released for the 3rd annual Wisconsin vs. Illinois Border Battle

10/01/2019, 5:00pm CDT
By Mark Miller

The Prairie School in Racine once again will be the site for the 3rd annual Wisconsin vs. Illinois Border Battle, set for February 8, 2020.

Seven games, pitting top teams from Wisconsin against top teams from Illinois, get underway at 11:00 a.m. when Brookfield Academy takes on New Trier. 

Wisconsin leads the all-time series 7-6, and won last year's series, 4-3.

Following is a brief look at each contest:

Alex Leach

11:00 a.m. -- Brookfield Academy (WI) vs. New Trier (IL)
The Knights of Brookfield Academy return four key players from last year's club that finished 20-6. Seniors Aidan Clarey (6-2) and Alex Leach (6-6) both are receiving recruiting attention from NCAA Division II and III schools in the Midwest. Clarey averaged 19.8 ppg while Leach contributed 11.0 ppg and 7.8 rpg a year ago. Also back for coach Pat Clarey are talented juniors Max Kunnert (6-3) and Logan Landers (6-8). Kunnert averaged 13.3 ppg and 5.2 rpg while Landers contributed 14.1 ppg and 12.5 rpg. New Trier is a school of nearly 4,000 students, but coach Scott Fricke must replace all five starters from a year ago. Seniors Trevor Boehm (6-0) and John Carragher (6-3) are the top returning players for the Trevians.  

Carson Nell

12:30 p.m. -- Winnebago Lutheran (WI) vs. Chicago Steinmetz (IL)
Winnebago Lutheran of Fond du Lac won 18 of 24 games last winter and brings back three starters, including coach Marty Nell's son, 6-foot-1 senior guard Carson Nell, who averaged 14.0 ppg and 2.5 rpg. Also back for the defending Wisconsin Flyway Conference champion Vikings are seniors Donovan Schwartz (5-10), who averaged 13.5 ppg and 3.0 rpg, and senior Zach Loehr (6-2), who added 7.0 ppg and 4.5 rpg. Newcomers from JV and freshmen teams that went a combined 29-8 figure to add quality depth for the Vikings. Coach Brad Dowling of Chicago Steinmetz, a school of just over 1,300 students, finished 26-6 last winter and won the Chicago Public League Blue-North championship.

2:00 p.m. -- Madison East (WI) vs. Marian Catholic (IL)
Two of the top teams in the Midwest square off in this feature game as Madison East ranks among the favorites to win the WIAA Division 1 state title in 2019-20 while Marian Catholic boasts a pair of NCAA Division I recruits in its backcourt. Madison East won the Big Eight Conference crown last season and went 22-2 overall under coach Matt Miota. Four starters return for the Purgolders in seniors Anthony Washington (6-3), Keonte Jones (6-3) and Marcus Justice (6-5) along with junior Jevan Boyton (6-4). Washington and Jones each averaged in double figures as juniors. Marian Catholic won the East Suburban Catholic League title and went 27-5 overall under coach Mike Taylor. Three starters return for the Spartans in University of Iowa recruit Ahron Ulis (6-1), Western Illinois recruit Elijah Jones (6-5) and senior guard Joe Green (6-0). 

Antuan Nesbitt

3:30 p.m. -- The Prairie School (WI) vs. Chicago Perspectives MSA (IL)
Coach Jason Atanasoff of the host school welcomes back three starters from a club that finished 14-11. Leading the way for The Prairie School is talented junior wing Antuan Nesbitt (6-3), who earned second-team all-Metro Classic Conference honors as a sophomore after averaging 15.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists. Joining Nesbitt as returning regulars for the Hawks are juniors Jacob Fallico (5-10) and Kody Krekling (6-3). Fallico averaged 8.3 ppg and 2.2 apg while Krekling contributed 4.1 ppg and 3.1 rpg. Senior Liam Shannon (5-11), junior KJ Williams (5-8) and sophomore Asanjai Hunter (5-11) also figure to play key roles for The Prairie School. Chicago Perspectives MSA went 12-15 last winter and competes in the White-West Division of the Chicago Public League. 

Malik Abdul-Wahid

5:00 p.m. -- Brookfield Central (WI) vs. Deerfield (IL)
Defending WIAA Division 1 state champion Brookfield Central once again boasts a very talented lineup with gifted juniors David Joplin (6-6) and Ben Nau (6-0) leading the way. Joplin and Nau are ranked among the top class of 2021 prospects in Wisconsin, and both have already received scholarship offers from NCAA Division I programs. Joplin averaged 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while Nau contributed 9.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 2.2 apg as the Lancers went 23-5 under coach Dan Wandrey. Senior Malik Abdul-Wahid (6-5) also returns for the Lancers and appears poised for a big season after performing well on the club circuit last spring and summer. Deerfield, which beat Neenah in last year's Wisconsin vs. Illinois Border Battle, is led by senior center Brandon Leib (6-10) and junior wing Walt Mattingly (6-5). 

6:30 p.m. -- Sun Prairie (WI) vs. Antioch (IL)
Coach Jeff Boos begins his 25th season at Sun Prairie with two starters and a top reserve back from a club that finished 21-7 and lost to Brookfield Central in the WIAA Division 1 state-title game. Seniors Colin Schaefer (6-0) and Delaware Hale (6-6) are the starters back for the Cardinals. Schaefer, an exceptionally quick lead guard, averaged 11.3 ppg and 3.0 rpg as a junior while Hale, an athletic forward who can protect the rim, contributed 12.2 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Senior guard Dawson Hughes (5-11) also returns after averaging 7.2 ppg and 2.2 rpg in a reserve role a year ago. Antioch has an enrollment of more than 1,300 students and competes in the Northern Lake County Conference. The Sequoits finished 13-14 a year ago. 

Jordan Davis

8:00 p.m. -- La Crosse Central (WI) vs. DeKalb (IL)
The Red Raiders of La Crosse Central hope to make it four straight trips to the WIAA Division 2 State Tournament come March, and veteran coach Todd Fergot appears to have the talent to accomplish that lofty feat. Senior guards Johnny (6-5) and Jordan (6-4) Davis return for their fourth year of varsity basketball. Both of the Davis brothers have committed to play college basketball at the University of Wisconsin. Also back from a year ago is senior forward Terrance Thompson (6-7), a bruising forward who owns several NCAA Division I scholarship offers of his own. DeKalb has an enrollment of just over 1,800 students and went 19-13 last season. 

For the latest and most up to date boys' basketball news and recruiting information, follow Mark on Twitter @wisbbyearbook. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Mark by clicking here.

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