Observations from the 14th annual Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle, held February 1, 2020 at La Crosse Central High School and UW-La Crosse:
The 10-Player All-Wisconsin Squad
Johnny Davis, 6-5, Sr., G, La Crosse Central
Playing against a national-caliber team with two players ranked among the top 10 players in the United States in their respective classes, Johnny Davis was nothing short of sensational for La Crosse Central. He kept the Red Raiders in the game against Minnehaha Academy -- Central dropped a 73-64 decision -- until the closing minutes of the contest with his hustle and determination on both ends of the court. The ultra-aggressive and consistently productive wing guard scored 42 points against a team that features Gonzaga recruit Jalen Suggs, a 6-foot-5 senior guard, and prized 7-foot-0 junior center Chet Holmgren. Davis made mid-range jump shots, finished through contact in the lane and went to the foul line 20 times in the contest, played before 3,000 fans in Mitchell Hall on the UW-La Crosse campus. The top candidate for the coveted Mr. Basketball award, Davis also had a follow-up rebound dunk in the first half that got nearly everybody in attendance on their feet. About the only drawback to Davis' stellar performance was missing six foul shots. But considering the teams were playing on a bigger court, Davis was a marked man by the Minneahaha Academdy defense and he rarely came out of the game, the fact he tired a bit is understandable.
Dalton Banks, 6-2, Sr., G, Eau Claire North
Banks turned in the most prolific scoring performance of the entire Border Battle as he finished with a career-high 46 points in a 93-80 loss to Rochester Mayo. With senior backcourt side-kick Ashton Kallstrom and his 20.1 ppg sidelined with an injury, Banks knew he'd have to up his scoring total a bit to compensate for Kallstrom's absence. And boy did he ever succeed in that regard. A physically and mentally strong point guard headed to Southern Illinois in the fall, Banks scored off strong drives to the basket. His stellar pivoting ability around the basket kept the Mayo defenders off balance and drew plenty of fouls as Banks went 8-for-14 from the free-throw line. He also drilled a couple of three-point shots and was a more than willing passer to his open teammates.
Tyrell Stuttley, 6-5, Sr., F, Onalaska
Steady, productive and physical, Stuttley scored 20 points, hauled down 8 rebounds and played his usual strong man-to-man defense in helping Onalaska improve to 15-1 with a 60-44 triumph over a Lakeville North squad coming off an emotional 69-66 victory over state-ranked Lakeville South 24 hours earlier. Stuttley continually probed the Lakeville North defense on offense, catching the ball along the baseline, taking a couple of hard dribbles toward the basket, elevating and then using the rim as protection from shot blockers on successful reverse layups. His physical presence on defense is a huge asset for coach Craig Kowal as he is able to keep opponents outside of the lane with his quickness and strength. The Minnesota State Mankato recruit is averaging 15.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the state's top-ranked WIAA Division 2 school.
Logan Jedwabny, 6-2, Sr., WG, Kaukauna
A four-year varsity performer for coach Mike Schalow at Kaukauna, Jedwabny had his game in high gear in the Ghosts' 69-68 loss to Mahtomedi. Scoring from beyond the three-point arc and off the bounce, Jedwabny finished with a season-high 29 points. He buried four triples and helped Kaukauna rally from a 44-34 halftime deficit to take the lead late in the contest. One of the state's better unsigned class of 2020 prospects, Jedwabny competes with outstanding passion and has good size, strength and skill as a wing-guard prospect. NCAA Division II Northern Michigan has extended a scholarship offer with additional schools also expressing interest.
Aidan Clarey, 6-2, Sr., G, Brookfield Academy
Running up against an outstanding opponent in the Lake City Tigers, Clarey and his teammates stayed within striking distance through the first half, but a huge onslaught to start the second half led to a 99-68 setback. Matched up against Northern Iowa recruit Nate Heise (6-5) for some of the game, Clarey still managed to score at a high level as he finished with 30 points, including 21 in the first half. Clarey, one of the better long-distance shooters in the state, made five three-point baskets in succession in the first half and finished with six triples on the afternoon. The NCAA Division II recruit for Rockhurst University in Kansas City had to handle the ball more than usual as junior guard Max Kunnert (6-3) sat out the contest with a hip injury. Clarey is averaging 24.5 ppg for the Blue Knights, who hope to have Kunnert back in the lineup when they face New Trier, Ill., in the Wisconsin vs. Illinois Border Battle Saturday at The Prairie School in Racine.
Sam Kick, 6-2, Jr., PG, Onalaska
Onalaska doesn't beat opponents like La Crosse Central or Lakeville North with ultra-athletic players headed to high-major NCAA Division I basketball programs. Instead, the Hilltoppers rely on smarts, skills and precision to beat teams like Central and North. And at the head Onalaska's fundamentally sound squad is Kick, who runs the offense like a surgeon, dribbling around defenders into the lane to set up teammates for scoring opportunities while also scoring a bit himself. Kick finished the contest with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal as Onalaska improved to 15-1. He also played strong man-to-man defense for coach Craig Kowal. On the campaign, Kick is averaging 10.9 points, 2.6 assists and 2.0 rebounds, numbers that are not eye-popping. But take in an Onalaska game or two and you come to appreciate just how valuable the unselfish Kick is to the Hilltoppers' success.
Jordan Davis, 6-5, Sr., G, La Crosse Central
While twin brother, Johnny, rightfully gets most of the headlines for La Crosse Central, there is no doubt Jordan Davis' presence on the court is exceptionally important to the fortunes of the Red Raiders basketball team. Like Kick, Jordan Davis is an understated player in terms of highlight reel dunks or huge scoring outputs. But also like Kick, La Crosse Central absolutely needs Jordan Davis on the court in order to win. Jordan's defense, size, strength and ability to score are big assets for coach Todd Fergot. He also provides a calming influence to the team when things get a little out of control. The future University of Wisconsin backcourt performer finished with 11 points before fouling out late in the loss to Minnehaha Academy. He is averaging 13.0 ppg for the Red Raiders.
Vaughn Breit, 6-5, Sr., G/F, Stratford
The versatility and activity of Breit are the first things you notice when you watch the four-year varsity player and 1,000-point career scorer perform. Both were evident during the Tigers' 60-39 triumph over Spring Grove in the opening game of the Border Battle. Breit finished the contest with 17 points and teamed with classmate Ben Barten (6-6), a University of Wisconsin football recruit, to give Stratford a huge size advantage. Breit scored in the paint, but he can also handle the ball and play away from the hoop. His versatility and experience is a big reason coach Curt Schmidt's squad is 15-0 and ranked No. 2 among WIAA Division 4 schools in the WisSports.net Coaches Poll.
Jacob Newhouse, 6-6, Sr., F, Kaukauna
Newhouse canned five three-point shots, most didn't bother to touch the rim, and finished with 25 points, helping Kaukauna rally from a 10-point deficit to take a 68-66 lead with under a minute left in their heart-breaking 69-68 loss to Mahtomedi. A late three-point basket by Mahtomedi senior Cole Chapman (6-10) provided the margin of victory as Newhouse's contested baseline shot in the closing seconds was off the mark. For a 6-foot-6 player, Newhouse is equally comfortable scoring in the lane or popping in three-point shots. He runs the floor well, looks for scoring opportunities and is a willing passer as well for the Ghosts, who fell to 8-8. Like Jedwabny, Newhouse remains uncommitted for next year and is receiving recruiting interest from schools at the NCAA Division II and III levels.
Logan Landers, 6-10, Jr., F, Brookfield Academy
One of the state's more intriguing class of 2021 prospects, Landers continues to grow in size and in his ability to impact a basketball game. He finished with 23 points and had five three-point baskets for Brookfield Academy in the Blue Knights' 99-68 loss to Lake City. He also did an excellent job of ripping down rebounds and providing size and physical strength in the paint on defense. Landers will be one of the more watched players in the 2021 class this spring and summer on the club circuit due to his combination of size, skill and athleticism. Also an outstanding pitcher in baseball, Landers figures to have his choice of which sport he'd like to pursue at the next level.
Other Wisconsin Players Who Played Well ...
Ben Barten, 6-6, Sr., Stratford
Dawson Danen, 6-3, Sr., Stratford
Chandler Schmidt, 6-3, Sr., Stratford
Henry Wilkinson, 6-3, Soph., Eau Claire North
Tyson Stelow Waldrop, 6-5, Soph., Kaukauna
Tre Valieriano, 5-11, Jr., Milwaukee Washington
Koriayon McKay, 5-9, Jr., Milwaukee Washington
Aron Whiteside, 6-4, Sr., Milwaukee Washington
Terrance Thompson, 6-7, Sr., La Crosse Central
Carson Arenz, 6-5, Sr., Onalaska
Gavin McGrath, 6-10, Jr., Onalaska
The 11-Player All-Minnesota Squad
Caden Grinde, 6-3, Jr., Spring Grove
Nate Heise, 6-5, Sr., Lake City
Justin Wohlers, 6-5, Soph., Lake City
Gabe Madsen, 6-5, Sr., Rochester Mayo
Riek Riek, 6-8, Sr., Rochester Mayo
Michael Sharp, 6-2, Jr., Rochester Mayo
Brody Fox, 6-3, Sr., Mahtomedi
Cal Greene, 6-6, Jr., Mahtomedi
Okey Okey, 6-2, Jr., Austin
Jalen Suggs, 6-5, Sr., Minnehaha Academy
Chet Holmgren, 7-0, Jr., Minnehaha Academy
Final Scores ...
Stratford (WI) 60, Spring Grove (MN) 39
Lake City (MN) 99, Brookfield Academy (WI) 68
Rochester Mayo (MN) 93, Eau Claire North (WI) 80
Mahtomedi (MN) 69, Kaukauna (WI) 68
Austin (MN) 82, Milwaukee Washington (WI) 53
Minnehaha Academy (MN) 73, La Crosse Central (WI) 64
Onalaska (WI) 60, Lakeville North (MN) 44
Minnesota leads the all-time series 52-33
Looking Ahead ...
The date for next year's Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle is January 23, 2021 at Minneapolis North High School. Wisconsin teams committed to date include River Falls, Pewaukee, Brookfield Central and Hudson. Minnesota squads committed to date include Minneapolis North, Minneapolis Henry, Cretin-Derham Hall, DeLaSalle and Robbinsdale Armstrong.
To La Crosse Central and its incredible staff led by athletic director Joe Beran for hosting the 14th annual Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle. Thanks also to the staff of The Breakdown for once again working with the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook to put on this event. See you next January at Minneapolis North High School.