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In-depth previews for teams participating in the 2018 WI vs. MN Border Battle

01/11/2018, 1:45pm CST
By Mark Miller

Brock Venner

Saturday, January 27, 2018
At Stevens Point Area Senior High 

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10:00 A.M. Game (Updated 1/24/2018)

De Soto Pirates
Brandon Ihrcke, 4th year
Enrollment: 151
Top Players: Riggin Beck (6-1, Jr., 12.7 ppg), Dylan Chapes (6-2, Sr., 11.1 ppg), Brock Venner (6-0, Jr., 7.2 ppg), Isaiah Zink (6-1, Jr., 6.4 ppg), Evan Overby (6-0, Sr., 5.4 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 10-3 (Through Jan. 24)
Notes: The Pirates find themselves in a heated battle for the Ridge & Valley Conference championship along with Seneca, Wauzeka-Steuben and Kickapoo ... De Soto finished 14-9 last season and lost four starters to graduation, but coach Brandon Ihrcke has rebuilt the program behind some strong play from senior Dylan Chapes and junior Riggin Beck ... Thought the Pirates lack a lot of size, they do boast a balanced roster that includes five players who are major contributors between 6-foot-0 and 6-foot-2. 
Coach's Comments: "Experience, depth and athleticism are strengths. Consistent scoring and defending bigger guys are concerns."

Heritage Christian Academy, Minn., Eagles
Coach: Tim Herman
Enrollment: 150
Top Players: Isaac Halvorson (Sr., 18.7 ppg), Ben Allen (Sr., 12.9 ppg), Sam Frederickson (Sr., 8.3 ppg), T.J. Guggenberger (Soph., 9.0 ppg), Phil Berge (Sr., 4.8 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 4-9 (Through games of Jan. 24)
Notes: The Eagles compete in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association ... For the Minnesota State High School League playoffs, Heritage Christian Academy competes in the Class 1A bracket, the smallest of four divisions in Minnesota. 


Cam Cloud

11:30 A.M. Game

Stevens Point Pacelli Cardinals
Matt Resch, 3rd year
Enrollment: 218
Top Players: Cam Cloud (6-0, Sr., 12.9 ppg), Garret Parks (6-5, Sr., 10.9 ppg,  5.1 rpg), A.J. Firminhac (6-4, Sr., 8.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Andrew Blanker (5-11, Sr., 10.6 ppg), Mitch Miller (6-4, Jr., 7.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg), Jonah Peplinski (6-4, Jr., 7.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg).
2017-18 Record: 10-4 (Through Jan. 24)
Notes: Pacelli figures to contend with Almond-Bancroft, Port Edwards, Rosholt and Wild Rose for the title in the newly formed Southern Division of the Central Wisconsin Conference ... The Cardinals finished 12-12 a year ago and return five starters in Blanker, Firminhac, Parks, Cloud and Miller ... Blanker is a returning first-team all-league pick while Firminhac picked up second-team all-conference laurels a year ago.   
Coach's Comments: "Depth, experience and chemistry are strengths. Athleticism, shooting and balanced scoring will make us a tough team to defend."

Spring Grove, Minn., Lions
Coach: Wayne Grinde
Enrollment: 101
Top Players: Alex Folz (5-10, Jr., 18.6 ppg), Ethan Matzke (6-4, Jr., 11.5 ppg), Noah Elton (6-0, Jr., 12.7 ppg), Sam Sanness (6-5, Sr., 10.6 ppg), Adin Solum (6-2, Sr., 6.1 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 8-4 (Through games of Jan. 24)
Notes: The Lions compete in the East Division of the Southeast Conference ... Junior point guard Alex Folz (5-10) is the Lions' top scorer and competes with the Wisconsin Playmakers club program. 


Peter Brookshaw

1:15 P.M. Game

Prescott Cardinals
Nick Johnson, 7th year
Enrollment: 376
Top Players: Peter Brookshaw (6-0, Sr., 28.9 ppg), Parker Nielsen (6-2, Soph., 16.2 ppg), Brian Tayson (5-11, Jr., 8.6 ppg), Joe Roosen (5-11, Sr., 8.7 ppg), Westy Bartsch (6-2, Sr., 5.1 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 13-1 (Through Jan. 24)
Notes: Prescott finished 24-2 and lost to Appleton Xavier in the WIAA Division 3 state-championship game a year ago ... The Cardinals were led last winter by 7-foot-1 center Owen Hamilton, who averaged 25.1 points and 12.3 rebounds and now is playing at NCAA Division I Northern Illinois ... Senior point guard Peter Brookshaw is a four-year varsity performer for Prescott, which has won the past four Middle Border Conference titles and owns a 52-game winning streak within the league ... Brookshaw will play collegiate baseball at North Dakota State.  
Coach's Comments: "We've got a lot of team speed and athleticism. Perimeter play will be our strength. Inside scoring and lack of size are concerns."

Lake City, Minn., Tigers
Coach: Greg Berge
Enrollment: 362
Top Players: Marc Kjos (5-10, Sr., 19.5 ppg), Nathan Heise (6-3, Soph., 19.0 ppg), Zach Bremer (Sr., 15.0 ppg), Reid Gastner (6-4, Soph., 8.2 ppg), Charlie White (Sr., 4.1 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 13-3 (Through games of Jan. 24)
Notes: The Tigers compete in the Gold Division of the Hiawatha Valley Conference ... Lake City is ranked among the Top 10 teams at the Class 2A level in Minnesota and features one of the state's top sophomores in 6-foot-3 wing guard Nathan Heise.  


2:45 P.M. Game

Kaukauna Ghosts
Mike Schalow, 23rd year
Enrollment: 1,181
Top Players: Jordan McCabe (6-0, Sr., 27.4 ppg), Dylan Kurey (6-8, Sr., 13.9 ppg), Eric Carl (6-5, Sr., 12.0 ppg), Keaton Ferris (5-10, Soph., 9.8 ppg), Luke Eiting (6-3, Jr., 5.5 ppg), Donovan Ivory (6-3, Jr., 6.0 ppg), Jacob Newhouse (6-4, Soph., 6.4 ppg), Logan Jedwabny (6-1, Soph., 5.5 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 12-2 (Through Jan. 24)
Notes: The Ghosts feature on the top candidates for the Mr. Basketball award in Wisconsin in 6-foot-0 senior point guard Jordan McCabe ... A four-year starter for Kaukauna, McCabe signed a letter of intent to play college basketball last November with West Virginia ... Eric Carl signed to play at NCAA Division II Michigan Tech while Dylan Kurey plans to play at NAIA Division I Clarke University ... Kaukauna figures to contend with Oshkosh North, Kimberly and Oshkosh West for the title in the 10-team Fox Valley Association.  
Coach's Comments: "Experience, team speed, depth and the ability to play in space are strengths. Defense and free-throw shooting are concerns."

Minneapolis North, Minn., Polars
Coach: Larry McKenzie
Enrollment: 258
Top Players: Tayler Johnson (6-2, Jr., 17.8 ppg), Odell Wilson IV (6-6, Sr., 19.9 ppg), Eli Campbell (5-11, Jr., 12.8 ppg), Tre Holloman (6-2, 8th, 9.4 ppg), Nasir El-Amin (6-0, Jr., 6.4 ppg), Omar Brown (6-2, Jr., 5.3 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 9-3 (Through games of Jan. 24)
Notes: The Polars won the seventh state championship in school history last March by defeating North Woods in the Class 1A title game ... Minneapolis North has moved up to Class 2A this winter and features a roster loaded with collegiate prospects ... Seniors Taylor Johnson and Odell Wilson IV lead the way for veteran coach Larry McKenzie along with juniors Eli Campbell, Nasir El-Amin and Omar Brown ... Eighth-grader Tre Holloman also gets plenty of playing time for Minneapolis North ... Eighth graders are eligible to play for varsity teams under Minnesota State High School League rules.  


Hunter Plamann

4:15 P.M. Game

Appleton Xavier Hawks
Matt Klarner, 7th year
Enrollment: 540
Top Players: Hunter Plamann (6-1, Sr., 22.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Nick Otto (6-4, Jr., 14.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg), Nate DeYoung (6-5, Sr., 15.2 ppg, 10.9 rpg), Sam Ferris (6-0, Sr., 14.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg), Henry Egan (6-0, Jr., 11.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
2017-18 Record: 14-0 (Through Jan. 24)
Notes: After finishing 28-0 and winning the WIAA Division 3 state title a year ago, Xavier has won its first 12 games of 2017-18 to increase its state-best winning streak to 40 games ... Senior point guard Hunter Plamann is a four-year starter who is on track to break Xavier's all-time scoring mark held by Kip Whitlinger, who graduated in 1963 and later played at Ohio State ... Plamann has verbally committed to NCAA Division II Minnesota-Duluth ... Nick Otto sank nine three-point baskets in Xavier's win over Catholic Memorial at the Rick Majerus WBY Shootout in December ... Senior Sam Ferris joins Plamann in the Hawks' skilled backcourt and is averaging 9.3 assists ... Senior forward Nate DeYoung earned a baseball scholarship from UW-Milwaukee.   
Coach's Comments: "We have an experienced group and they love to play the game on both ends of the floor. We are on the small side, so we will continue to focus on interior defense."

Minnetonka, Minn., Skippers
Coach: Ryan Freeberg
Enrollment: 3,044
Top Players: Cameron Steele (6-7, Soph., 15.3 ppg), Jalen Dearring (5-9, Jr., 17.2 ppg), Jon Martens (6-3, Sr., 10.5 ppg), Andy Stafford (6-3, Jr., 8.6 ppg), Gavin Patton (6-5, Jr., 5.7 ppg), Thomas Leary (6-5, Jr.).
2017-18 Record: 9-6 (Through games of Jan. 24)
Notes: One of the largest schools in Minnesota with a grades 9-12 enrollment of more than 3,000 students, Minnetonka has a proud tradition in boys' basketball ... The Skippers are led by promising sophomore forard Craig Steele and quick junior guard Jalen Dearring.


Noah Parcher

6:00 P.M. Game

La Crosse Central Red Raiders
Todd Fergot, 14th year
Enrollment: 1,064
Top Players: Johnny Davis (6-4, Soph., 23.8 ppg), Terrance Thompson (6-7, Soph., 12.2 ppg), Noah Parcher (6-1, Jr., 12.2 ppg), Jordan Davis (6-4, Soph., 9.9 ppg), David Hayden (5-10, Jr., 6.8 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 12-2 (Through Jan. 24)
Notes: The Red Raiders won the WIAA Division 2 state title a year ago behind Mr. Basketball award winner and University of Wisconsin freshman Kobe King ... La Crosse Central lost four starters to graduation from a club that went 26-2, but coach Todd Fergot has reloaded behind sophomore twins Johnny and Jordan Davis and junior guard Noah Parcher ... La Crosse Logan transfer Terrance Thompson also has played a big role for the Red Raiders ... Johnny Davis owns a scholarship offer from the University of Wisconsin.    
Coach's Comments: "We return three key players in Noah Parcher, Johnny Davis and Jordan Davis so that is a definite strength. Lack of experience at several positions is a concern."

North St. Paul, Minn., Polars
Coach: Damian Johnson
Enrollment: 1,399
Top Players: Goodnews Kpegeol (6-5, Sr., 18.8 ppg), Bryce Phillips (6-0, Sr., 11.0 ppg), Cahlil Golden (6-2, Sr., 7.1 ppg), Dylan Bateman (6-0, Sr., 6.6 ppg), Marcus Sims (6-6, Sr., 6.7 ppg), LaQwane Cochrane (6-4, Sr., 7.8 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 10-2 (Through games of Jan. 23)
Notes: The Polars compete in the Metro East Conference ... Goodnews Kpegeol is ranked among the top prospects in Minnesota in the class of 2018, but has yet to decide where to play college basketball ... Kpegeol and senior Marcus Sims provide the Polars with an imposing frontline combination. 


Drew Blair

7:30 P.M. Game

Stevens Point Area Senior High Panthers
Scott Anderson, 9th year
Enrollment: 2,104
Top Players: Drew Blair (6-3, Sr., 30.8 ppg), Brennan Mueller (6-2, Sr., 8.5 ppg), Andrew Erdman (6-3, Sr., 7.6 ppg), Drew Cullen (6-1, Sr., 8.1 ppg), Evan Vollendorf (6-1, Soph., 5.4 ppg), Nolan Blair (6-0, Jr., 3.7 ppg), Joey Hauser (6-8, Sr., injured, out for the season). 
2017-18 Record: 10-4 (Through Jan. 24)
Notes: The Panthers won the WIAA Division 1 state title for the third year in a row last March behind the stellar play of Marquette University recruit Joey Hauser and Northwest Missouri State recruit Drew Blair ... Hauser is out for the season while recovering from surgery, but Blair is averaging a 30.9 ppg to lead all WIAA Division 1 scorers in the state ... Northwest Missouri State won the NCAA Division II national championship last season ... SPASH will attempt to become the first Division 1 school to win four straight state titles in boys' basketball in March ... The Panthers' 53-game winning streak within the Wisconsin Valley Conference was snapped earlier this season by Merrill despite a 47-point outing by Blair.
Coach's Comments: "Shooting, tradition and experience are strengths. Defense, defending the post, toughness and rebounding are question marks."

Minnehaha Academy, Minn., Redhawks
Coach: Lance Johnson
Enrollment: 341
Top Players: Jalen Suggs (6-4, Soph., 15.2 ppg), JaVonni Bickham (6-6, Sr., 14.6 ppg), Terry Lockett (6-0, Soph., 11.6 ppg), Lorenzo Smith (5-11, Sr., 7.1 ppg), Kaden Johnson (6-4, Soph., 7.8 ppg).
2017-18 Record: 13-2 (Through games of Jan. 24)
Notes: The Redhawks compete in the Independent Metro Athletic Conference ... Jalen Suggs is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the country in the class of 2020 by 247 Sports ... JaVonni Bickham has committed to NCAA Division I Denver ... Suggs, Terry Lockett and Kaden Johnson are all ranked among the top 10 players in Minnesota in the class of 2020.

Tag(s): Border Battle  Wisconsin vs Minnesota