Two teams who each qualified for the WIAA State Tournament last March but graduated several top performers showed the strong depth and solid coaching within their programs by finishing with unbeaten records at the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Summer Tournament Saturday and Sunday at Viterbo University in La Crosse.
Defending WIAA Division 2 state champion La Crosse Central and Division 5 state-semifinalist Columbus Catholic finished with 4-0 records in their respective pools.
Following are some observations from the sixth annual event:
Pool A Standings
La Crosse Central 4-0, Onalaska 3-1, Tomah 3-1, La Crosse Logan 2-2, Madison La Follette 2-2, Menomonie 0-4, River Falls 0-4.
Pool B Standings
Columbus Catholic 4-0, Almond-Bancroft 3-1, Westfield 3-1, Peshtigo 2-2, Aquinas 1-3, Wauzeka-Steuben 1-3, Augusta 0-4.
Pool A Most Valuable Player
Johnny Davis, 6-3, Class of 2020, La Crosse Central
After averaging 8.5 points per game as a freshman reserve for a La Crosse Central squad that went 26-2 and won the Division 2 state title, Davis averaged 17.8 ppg in four victories for the Red Raiders at Viterbo. His aggressiveness off the dribble made it nearly impossible for defenders to keep him out of the lane. Davis made shots at a very high rate, both from the mid range and at the rim. He can finish off moves to the hoop by dunking with either hand dunks and also got to the foul line. Davis proved he is, without question, one of the state's top class of 2020 prospects with his strong play for another very good La Crosse Central squad.
Pool A All-Tournament Team (In alphabetical order)
Carson Arenz, 6-4, Class of 2020, Onalaska
The younger brother of former Onalaska standout Nick Arenz, Carson Arenz made some huge shots for the Hilltoppers in their 53-49 victory over Madison La Follette. A strong, skilled and smart player, Arenz has deep shooting range and also is aggressive taking the ball to the basket. He has missed almost the past two months with an injury, but his play was very strong at Viterbo.
Peter Brey, 6-3, Class of 2018, Tomah
A tough, versatile wing prospect who can score from the perimeter and off the bounce while also defending and rebounding at a high level, Brey is coming off a junior season in which he averaged 12.4 ppg. His presence in the Timberwolves' lineup was a huge asset in victories over Menomonie, La Crosse Logan and River Falls.
Josh Dahlke, 6-8, Class of 2018, Tomah
One of the top frontline prospects in Wisconsin in the 2018 class, Dahlke showed off his three-point shooting range in addition to scoring in the lane while helping Tomah to a 3-1 record. A left-handed stretch four prospect, Dahlke has excellent mobility, good timing while blocking and altering shots, and the ability to put the ball on the floor. He averaged 16.7 points and 8.7 rebounds as a junior and earned second-team all-league honors in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
Jordan Davis, 6-2, Class of 2020, La Crosse Central
The twin brother of Johnny Davis, Jordan Davis is an outstanding prospect in his own right. A smooth, skilled and poised wing guard, Davis owns a sweet perimeter jump shot and also does an excellent job of finding open teammates. He averaged 9.5 ppg at Viterbo and also played very well on the other end of the court, using his length and anticipation to come up with several steals.
Jaxon Knotek, 6-5, Class of 2018, River Falls
Though he missed the Wildcats' two games on Sunday, Knotek was so good on Saturday that he earned a spot on the All-Tournament team. The returning Player of the Year in the Big Rivers Conference, Knotek had 28 points and six three-point baskets in a loss to La Crosse Central. He also scored 16 points in a setback to La Crosse Logan. Knotek has deep shooting range, excellent size, a very good feel for the game and the ability to get on a roll from deep in a hurry.
Jace Kressin, 6-4, Class of 2019, Menomonie
A left-handed wing forward with deep shooting range, Kressin averaged 11.0 ppg as a sophomore for coach Matt Riley at Menomonie and continued his strong play at Viterbo. He made multiple three-point shots in each contest for the Mustangs and scored in double figures in three of four contests.
Noah Parcher, 6-1, Class of 2019, La Crosse Central
Already a two-year varsity performer for coach Todd Fergot at La Crosse Central, Parcher turned in one outstanding performance after another while helping the Red Raiders to a 4-0 record. He finished with 22 points and two three-point baskets in a victory over rival Onalaska, added 21 against Menomonie, and had 16 in a 67-47 victory over River Falls. Smart, under control and unselfish, Parcher teams with the Davis twins to give the Red Raiders one of the best backcourt trios in Wisconsin.
Noah Skifton, 6-2, Class of 2018, Onalaska
A three-year varsity performer for coach Craig Kowal, Skifton has played somewhat in the shawdow of guards Noah Fredrickson and Jalen Zubich, but he figures to blossom into an all-league caliber performer in the Mississippi Valley Conference as a senior. He scored in double figures in each game for the Hilltoppers at Onalaska, netting 20 points and four three-point baskets in a 65-52 loss to La Crosse Central and 19 points in wins over both Tomah and Madison La Follette. He also made a driving, twisting layup in traffic in the closing seconds of a one-point victory over Menomonie.
Maguire Werner, 6-6, Class of 2019, La Crosse Logan
Productive, active and relentless jump-and-run athlete who scored, rebounded and blocked shots for the Rangers. Played very well in a one-point loss to Madison La Follette and in a five-point victory over River Falls. Figures to be the Rangers' main scoring threat in the post with Terrance Thompson's recent transfer to city rival La Crosse Central. Werner showed at Viterbo he is up to the task.
Anthony West, 5-11, Class of 2018, Madison La Follette
The top returning scorer for coach Curtrel Robinson at La Follette, West averaged 12.1 ppg as a junior and made multiple three-point shots in three of four games for the Lancers at Viterbo. West is an excellent ball handler and passer who can also score and lead a team. His presence in the lineup will be crucial in 2017-18 as La Follette attempts to move up a few notches in the ultra-competitive Big Eight Conference standings.
Pool A Team Champion
La Crosse Central
The Red Raiders lost four starters to graduation from their state-title team, including Mr. Basketball-award winner and University of Wisconsin recruit Kobe King. But don't look for La Crosse Central to drop off all that much in 2017-18 as Fergot boasts another loaded squad brimming with collegiate prospects. The Davis twins rank among the elite class of 2020 players in the state and they both played that way at Viterbo. Parcher also is another skilled, experienced and tough-minded guard while class of 2019 guard David Hayden (5-11) also performed well in several games. The addition of La Crosse Logan transfer Terrance Thompson, a rugged 6-foot-7 forward who earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Mississippi Valley Conference as a freshman, gives the Red Raiders some size, strength and productivity in the post. La Crosse Central might have had the best team in the state last season, regardless of division, and the Red Raiders figure to rank near the top once again next winter.
Onalaska lost all five of its starters to graduation from a team that finished 20-5, but the Hilltoppers won't fall to far down in the Mississippi Valley Conference standings. In addition to Arenz and Skifton, Onalaska got strong performances from senior Landon Skemp (6-3) and some promising showings from incoming freshmen Sam Kick (5-10) and Gavin McGrath (6-7) ... River Falls boasts one of the top players in western Wisconsin in Knotek, but the trick for coach Zac Campbell is finding the right players to play alongside his star wing. Two players who figure to play prominent roles -- 2018 guard Aaron Baillargeon (6-1) and 2019 point guard Adam Feyereisen (6-1) -- did not play in La Crosse. One player who did play well in addition to Knotek was 2018 forward Ryan Spafford (6-2), who was the top scorer for River Falls when Knotek missed games on Sunday ... Madison La Follete boasts several young promising players who had strong showings at Viterbo. 2019 guard Troy Reeves (5-10) shot the ball very well and scored in double figures in two of four games for the Lancers. 2019 point guard Donnell Gray (5-8) is on the small side, but his court vision, feel for the game and passing ability were all impressive. 2019 wing Dre Smith (5-11) had the strength to attack the hoop while also stepping outside and making some mid-range jump shots. 2020 wing Ben Probst (6-0) saw a lot of varsity action as a freshman and after a slow start played well in La Crosse. The future looks promising for the Lancers ... Menomonie hopes to be one of the more improved teams in the Big Rivers next winter and got some solid showings from 2019 guard Jake Ebert (6-0), 2020 forward Dylan Boecker (6-3) and 2019 forward Sam Zbornik (6-4). The Mustangs will rely on many underclassmen in 2017-18, but one senior who did perform well in La Crosse was forward Brendan Johnson (6-4) ... La Crosse Logan played the weekend without 2018 guard C.J. Siegel (6-0), who averaged 17.2 ppg as a junior but missed the WBY Tourney due to his involvement in the WIAA State Track and Field Meet. 2019 guard Calvin Mavin (5-11) shot the ball well from the perimeter and scored 17 points in a 40-39 victory over Menomonie. Sophomores Jacksun Hamilton (6-5) and Jhakai Funches (6-2) also performed well for the Rangers.
Pool B Most Valuable Player
Nick Malovrh, 5-11, Class of 2018, Columbus Catholic
A returning first-team all-league pick in the Eastern Division of the Cloverbelt Conference, Malovrh is known for his deep shooting ability. But at Viterbo, the three-year varsity performer overcome a shooting slump of sorts with his solid leadership, passing ability and strong on-the-ball defense. Malovrh ran the show for the Dons and continually got the ball to his teammates in scoring position. He also scored off of pull-up jump shots while holding down opposing point guards with his strong defense. Malovrh averaged 13.2 ppg as a junior and made 78 of 178 attempts (44 percent) from three-point range, but it was other aspects of his game that were impressive over the weekend.
Pool B All-Tournament Team (In alphabetical order)
Nick Brakebush, 5-6, Class of 2018, Westfield
Brakebush is a small but quick and intelligent point guard who moves the ball, gets into the lane and finds open teammates. He also is a good perimeter shooter who can also score in transition. Brakebush averaged 19.1 points as a junior for a Westfield program that went 13-11.
Ryan Grunewald, 5-8, Class of 2019, Augusta
Grunewald was the top player for a very balanced Augusta squad that also got some strong showings from 2018 guard Carter Jacobs (6-0) and 2019 guard Tanner Alix (6-0). Grunewald is a small, but skilled backcourt player who had 12 points and two triples against Wauzeka-Steuben and 10 points and three triples against Westfield.
Noah Hansen, 6-3, Class of 2018, Columbus Catholic
A two-year varsity player for the Dons, Hansen scored 14 points in Columbus Catholic's 43-39 victory over Westfield in a battle of previously unbeaten teams. He used his quickness in the post to score around Parker Peschel (6-6) of Westfield. Hansen finished the game with 14 points, including nine in the second half when the Dons rallied from a halftime deficit.
Noah Kollock, 6-1, Class of 2019, Almond-Bancroft
A winner who takes big shots, make big plays and competes with a high energy level on both ends of the court, Kollock is a two-year starter for coach Curt Lamb and enters his junior season as one of the better class of 2019 prospects in the state. Kollock made several three-point shots at Viterbo, but he also used his explosiveness and physical strength to get into the lane and either score or earn a trip to the foul line. Kollock averaged 20.0 points as a sophomore and figures to be the Eagles' top scoring threat the next two seasons.
Cade Lamb, 6-3, Class of 2019, Almond-Bancroft
A streaky perimeter shooter who can get on a roll from beyond the three-point arc. The son of Almond-Bancroft coach Curt Lamb, Cade Lamb averaged 8.8 points as a sophomore and nailed four triples in a 51-48 loss to Westfield at Viterbo. He has very good length and a quick release, traits that allow him to get his shot off against most defenders.
Carter Lomas, 6-3, Class of 2020, Wauzeka-Steuben
An athletic and active player who jumps well and has a nose for the ball, Lomas was the best player for Wauzeka-Steuben over the weekend. He had 13 points and a triple in a loss to Aquinas, 13 and a triple in a loss to Peshtigo and 17 with three triples in a victory over Augusta. After averaging 17.4 points as a freshman, the future looks very promising for Lomas.
Conley Malone, 6-1, Class of 2018, Aquinas
With several starters missing due to the WIAA baseball playoffs, Malone made the trek from the WIAA State Track & Field Meet over to the WBY Tournament and performed well for the Blugolds. He finished with 25 points and six triples in a victory over Wauzeka-Steuben and had 19 points in a loss to Peshtigo. A three-year varsity player who averaged 14.4 points as a junior for coach Brad Reinhart at Aquinas, Malone is one of the better returning backcourt players in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
Ethan Meece, 6-1, Class of 2019, Columbus Catholic
Meece was a key reserve as a sophomore for a Columbus Catholic program that won the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference title and went 25-3 overall under coach Joe Konieczny. Meece performed well all weekend for the Dons, scoring 16 in a win over Aquinas, 14 in a triumph over Augusta and nine in a two-point win over Peshtigo. He made shots from outside the three-point line and off the dribble.
Cameron Noffke, 6-3, Class of 2019, Peshtigo
A hard-working and exceptionally active forward with good physical strength and the ability to defend, Noffke was a key reserve last winter for a Peshtigo squad that went 21-3 under coach Nate Motkowski. Noffke finished with a team-high 12 points in a two-point loss to Columbus Catholic and his activity around the basket hurt opponents all weekend.
Parker Peschel, 6-6, Class of 2018, Westfield
A physically strong and athletic post-up player, Peschel showed flashes of being a terrific inside scorer for the Pioneers. He has very good elevation and a nice shooting touch in the paint. He finished with 16 points in a 51-48 victory over Almond-Bancroft while also doing a very good job on the glass for coach Lance Fritz. Becoming a more consistent offensive player is the next step in the development of Peschel, but he may have been the biggest surprise of the entire weekend with his combination of size, strength and skill.
Pool B Team Champion
For many decades, Columbus Catholic was known as a football school. The late Walt Kroll, one of the most respected coaches in state high school athletics history, annually had the Dons grid iron squads ranked among the elite in the state. Over the last 12 years, Joe Konieczny has turned the Dons into a basketball school. During that time, Columbus Catholic has put together a 225-75 record and won multiple conference titles, including three of the last four in the Eastern Cloverbelt. Though the Dons lost four starters to graduation from a squad that went 25-3 and lost to eventual champion Barneveld in the WIAA Division 5 state semifinals, they appear to once again have a very strong team as they went 4-0 at Viterbo, using their depth and skill level to turn back opponents. Malovrh and junior Jarred Mandel (6-1), who went down with an injury on Saturday and did not play Sunday, are the top returning players, but Hansen, Meece and senior Peyton Nystrom (5-9) also played well in La Crosse. Look for juniors Bryce Fuerlinger (6-1), Noah Taylor (6-0) and Evan Dieringer (5-11) to also play big roles in 2017-18.
Westfield could be the most improved team in the South Central Conference in 2017-18. In addition to the strong play from Brakebush and Peschel, the Pioneers boast two other returning starters who also performed well at Viterbo -- senior shooing guard Doug Thompson (6-0) and senior forward Levi Holly (6-2). Thompson had three three-point baskets in the narrow loss to Columbus Catholic while Holly showed the ability to impact the game on multiple levels ... Almond-Bancroft won 23 games against just three losses last winter, but the Eagles must replace three starters, including St. Norbert College recruit Dylan Bunders (6-7), who averaged 19.5 points and 8.1 rebounds. Kollock and Lamb can definitely score, but finding additional offensive options figures to be key as the Eagles enter the new and highly competitive Southern Division of the Central Wisconsin Conference. 2019 guard Zach Bunders (5-10) joins Kollock as a returning starter and did play well in La Crosse ... Peshtigo went 2-2 and could have easily been 4-0 as they Bulldogs dropped two very close games. In addition to Noffke, senior Max Neumann (6-2) and juniors Nate Goneau (6-3) and Trent Carriveau (5-10) performed well. Noffke and Goneau give the Bulldogs some size in the lane while Neumann can play multiple positions. Carriveau is a speedy point guard who will need to direct the offense as Peshtigo transitions from the Marinette & Oconto Conference to the Packerland Conference in 2017-18 ... Aquinas went 1-3 playing without three potential starters in 2018 forward Randy Jacobson (6-6), 2019 guard Jacob Savoldelli (6-0) and 2019 point guard Brandon Merfeld (5-10). All three sat out in order to prepare for the Blugolds' sectional appearance in the WIAA playoffs. In addition to Malone, 2020 forward Gavin Wetzel (6-1) played well for Aquinas ... Wauzeka-Steuben is hopeful it can make a move toward the top in the Ridge & Valley Conference in 2017-18 as veteran coach Gary Hines welcomes back some experienced and talented players. Lomas is the best of the lot and one of the top players in the 2020 class in southwestern Wisconsin. Senior Isaac Byrne (5-10) shot the ball well for the Hornets in their win over Augusta while senior Braden Folbrecht (6-1) also had some strong moments in La Crosse ... With top scorer Kayne Korger graduating, Augusta has some holes in its lineup to fill, but Grunewald, Jacobs and Alix figure to get some help from the likes of 2019 guard Logan Brown (5-7) and 2020 forward Andrew Perkovich (6-1). Brown had 19 points in a loss to Columbus Catholic while add 11 in the same contest.
Tag(s): Summer Tournaments