The Midwest Player's Classic held this year at the La Crosse Center on Saturday, January 16th has grown into one of the top in-season basketball events in the state, and once again features an incredible mix of team and individual talent. The La Crosse Center went through some significant renovations and updates in the last year.
WisSports.net is happy to once again join the event as a statewide media sponsor, and we will have coverage leading up to and throughout the event.
Featuring eight games and 16 teams in a single-day format, it is a great opportunity to see outstanding teams and players in a single setting. While the event often includes teams from Minnesota and Iowa, this year it will be an all-Wisconsin affair.
Due to the current environment, there are some changes for this year's event. No general admission tickets will be available. Each participating team will receive 60 tickets that they can distribute to attendees. Spectators that do attend are asked to arrive for their team's game no more than 15 minutes before tip-off, and to leave the arena after completion of their team's game.
No food or concessions will be available, though spectators can carry-in food and drink. Masks will be required per the governor's order, and the teams will also follow WIAA mitigation protocols. Other guidelines and procedures will be communicated to the participating teams and in signage at the event.
WSN will provide updates throughout the day as well.
January 16, 2021
La Crosse Center, La Crosse, WI
(Records as of 1/13/2021)
10:30 am Aquinas (6-2; D4 #10) vs Luther (5-0)
12:00 pm. Bangor (5-1; D5 #8) vs Somerset (11-4)
1:30 pm. Darlington (9-2; D4 #5) vs Lourdes Academy (8-4; D5 #3)
3:00 pm Holmen (2-3) vs Northwestern (8-3)
4:30 pm Onalaska (6-0; D2 #4) vs Menomonee Falls (8-2; D1 #3)
6:00 pm River Falls (7-2; D2 #8) vs Monona Grove (0-0)
7:30 pm Hudson (6-3) vs Verona (0-0)
9:00 pm Tomah (9-3) vs Kaukauna (9-6)
Action begins with the host school Aquinas taking on Luther in a La Crosse-area private school showdown. The Blugolds are 4-1 in the young season and recently cracked the top ten of the Division 4 Coaches Poll. Luther tied for second in the Coulee a year ago and have a solid core group back this season that is off to a 2-0 start in the early going.
Bangor has won 59 straight Scenic Bluffs Conference games and four consecutive league titles, and are favored once again. Behind seniors Zane Langrehr and Hank Reader, the Cardinals are in the top ten of Division 5 once again. They'll take on a very good Somerset squad in the noon game, as the Spartans are 9-2 on the year and looking to make some noise in the Middle Border.
Darlington and Lourdes Academy have been a couple of the state's top programs for a few years now, and both check in in the top five of the latest WSN Coaches Poll rankings this week ahead of their 1:30 showdown. Darlington is led by Carter Lancaster and Cayden Rankin, while Lourdes counters with talented performers like high-scoring guard Preston Ruedinger, Josh Bauer, and Jack McKellips.
The 3:00 pm game finds Northwestern and head coach Nolan Graff making the lengthy trip to La Crosse to challenge themselves against a larger Holmen squad.
Unbeaten Onalaska takes on Menomonee Falls in the 4:30 contest. 6'11" senior Gavin McGrath leads the Hilltoppers in scoring and rebounds and continues to attract scholarship attention. The Phoenix of Menomonee Falls have a pair of D1 prospects of their own in juniors Steven Clay and Seth Trimble.
Monona Grove had to wait to start its season, but the Silver Eagles have stepped in to a 6 pm matchup with Division 2, fifth-ranked River Falls, who features prolific scorer Zac Johnson and emerging big man JT Dougherty.
Verona is another late starter from Dane County, as the Wildcats are still trying to fill out a schedule. They'll meet up with Hudson in the 7:30 pm contest.
The nightcap features an impressive Tomah squad, ranked ninth in Division 2, facing off against Kaukauna, who has won two straight after a five-game losing streak in mid-December. Kaukauna features junior guard Christopher Morgan, who holds a Division 1 offer from West Virginia.
Travis Wilson serves as the WisSports.net General Manager, Football Editor, and contributing writer for other parts of the site. Wilson was selected as part of the Sports 40 Under 40 list by Coach & AD Magazine and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for 2019. The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) named Travis the 2015 recipient of the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves on the WFCA Executive Board as the Website and Communications Director and is a member of the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A graduate of Richland Center High School and Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Travis was a three-sport athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball) and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.