Covid-19 forced the cancelation of the Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle during the 2020-21 high school basketball season.
The annual event is back, however, for the upcoming campaign and features some of the top teams and individual players from both states.
Here is a quick breakdown of each contest:
15th annual Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle
January 22, 2022
Minneapolis North High School
12:15 p.m. -- Rice Lake (WI) vs. Maranatha Christian (MN)
Rice Lake won 10 games a year ago and brings back two of its top players from that squad in talented 5-foot-10 junior guard Tyler Orr and 6-foot-0 senior guard Alex Belongia. Orr ranks among the top players in the state in the 2023 class and is the son of Rice Lake coach Kevin Orr. Tyler Orr averaged 16.5 points and 2.5 rebounds as a sophomore while Belongia contributed 11.6 ppg and 5.4 rpg. Maranatha Christian went 12-6 last season and returns some of its top scorers, including senior Jeremiah LaVelle (20.2 ppg) along with juniors Matthew Bluford (10.3 ppg) and Bailey McDonald (12.0 ppg).
12:15 p.m. -- Eau Claire Memorial (WI) vs. Richfield (MN)
Eau Claire Memorial is one of the most talented teams in Wisconsin and a legitimate WIAA Division 1 state-title contender. Coach Chad Brieske's line-up is brimming with size, athleticism, experience and flat-out talent. Leading the way are seniors Will Boser (6-5), LJ Wells (6-7), Mekhi Shaw (5-11) and Tyler McBride (6-0). All four have extensive experience even with Shaw missing all of last season due to an injury. Shaw is back healthy for the 2021-22 campaign and is a terrific leader and point guard for the Old Abes. Boser is a stellar shooter from the perimeter and has committed to NCAA Division II Concordia-St. Paul. Wells is an athletic and versatile forward who also owns scholarship offers from NCAA Division II programs. McBride teams with Shaw in the backcourt and provides toughness, some scoring punch and the ability to rebound. Juniors Connor Welsh (6-5), Mason Stoik (6-3) and Avery Schroeder (6-4) figure to play prominent roles as well for Eau Claire Memorial, which went 13-9 last season. Richfield went 16-3 and won the Tri-Metro Conference crown last winter. Richfield welcomes back two of its top four scorers in senior forward Jaden Wollmuth (14.0 ppg) and senior guard Mitchell January (11.2 ppg).
2:00 p.m. -- Pewaukee (WI) vs. Robbinsdale Armstrong (MN)
What can you say about Pewaukee? The Pirates might be the best team in Wisconsin in 2021-22, regardless of division. The defending WIAA Division 2 state champions welcome back four starters from a club that went 27-3 and looked dominant at last year's state tournament. Junior Milan Momcilovic (6-8) is the state's top-ranked class of 2023 prospect and owns scholarship offers from Iowa State, Marquette and Minnesota, among others. Senior guards Ashton Janowski (6-2) and Josh Terrian (6-4) are experienced, tough-minded and talented returning starters who have committed to NCAA Division II Hillsdale and Michigan Tech, respectively. Senior Logan Dobberstein (6-6) also returns to the starting rotation while sophomore Nick Janowski (6-3) is a rising star who recently picked up an offer from Iowa State. Coach David Burkemper also welcomes back senior Emmett Loew (6-0), junior Logan Schill (6-0) and senior Kollen Osterman (6-0). Robbinsdale has a new coach in Rob Ware, who is taking over from former University of Wisconsin player Jon Bryant. Seniors Peyton Newborn (6-5) and Payton Moguire (6-9) along with junior Owen Skram (6-5) and sophomore Seth Newborn (5-10) are the top players for Robbinsdale.
3:45 p.m. -- Menomonee Falls (WI) vs. Totino Grace (MN)
Two absolutely loaded teams will square off in this much anticipated contest. Menomonee Falls is led by senior Seth Trimble (6-2), a North Carolina recruit who can score at an elite level thanks to his athleticism, quickness and explosiveness. Trimble averaged 23.3 points and 6.0 rebounds as a junior while helping Menomonee Falls to a 17-8 record under coach Jason Hallenbeck. Senior Steven Clay (6-5) is another exceptional athlete for Menomonee Falls. He owns scholarship offers from a number of NCAA Division I programs and averaged 18.8 ppg and 8.2 rpg as a junior. Seniors Greg Kemp Jr. (6-6), Even Redding (6-1) and Grant Martin (6-0) also return to the starting rotation. Totino Grace might be the best team in Minnesota, regardless of division. Senior Demarion Waton (6-6) is an Iowa State recruit. Senior Ahjany Lee (6-10) is a University of St. Thomas recruit. Junior Taison Chatman (6-4) is the top-ranked class of 2023 prospect in the state while juniors Patrick Barth (6-9) and Tommy Hopkins (6-5) also are ranked among the top 10 players in the 2023 class.
5:30 p.m. -- Wisconsin Lutheran (WI) vs. Minnehaha Academy (MN)
Another contest featuring some of the premier talent in both states with traditional powers Wisconsin Lutheran and Minnehaha Academy going at each other. Coach Ryan Walz's squad at Wisconsin Lutheran again will challenge Pewaukee for the title in the Western Division of the Woodland Conference. Like Pewaukee, Wisconsin Lutheran has a very deep, experienced and talented squad that can compete with any team in the state. Returning starters include senior Jordan Glenn (5-11), juniors Prentice Young (6-3) and Landon Key (6-3), and sophomore Kon Knueppel (6-4). Glenn and Young are coming off injuries, but hope to return to full strength for the Vikings, who went 21-3 a year ago. Knueppel is the top-ranked class of 2024 prospect in Wisconsin and owns scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Marquette, Texas A&M and Wisconsin, among others. Juniors Jamiir Allen (5-11) and Joshua Knueppel (6-0) along wiht seniors Brendan Lane (6-0), Landon Ashford (6-2), Alex Hernandez (6-4) and Stefan Kolarevic (6-6) also could play key roles for Wisconsin Lutheran. Boston College recruit Prince Aligbe (6-6) is the top returning player for Minnehaha Academy. Sophomore guard Mercy Miller (6-4) is considered the top class of 2024 prospect in Minnesota while senior Chase Carter (6-7) has committed to Michigan State for football.
7:15 p.m. -- Brookfield East (WI) vs. Minneapolis North (MN)
The final match-up of the day pits Brookfield East against the host school, Minneapolis North. Both teams are led by stellar coaches in Joe Rux of Brookfield East and Larry McKenzie. Brookfield East went 19-5 last winter and figures to rely on balance this winter, although senior Dan Gherezgher (6-3) is one of the fastest-rising class of 2022 prospects in the state. Gherezgher averaged 14.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg as a junior and turned in an outstanding summer for the Spartans. He owns a NCAA Division II offer from Michigan Tech and interest from several NCAA Division I programs. Juniors Matt Schmainda (6-1) and Nollenn Tabaska (6-5) also return to the starting line-up for East. Senior guard Willie Wilson (6-2) is the top returning player for Minneapolis North.