Observations from the 3rd annual Wisconsin vs. Illinois Border Battle, held February 8, 2020 at the Prairie School in Racine:
The 10-Player All-Wisconsin Squad
Johnny Davis, 6-5, Sr., G, La Crosse Central
There simply aren't enough adjectives to describe how well Davis played in the Red Raiders' convincing 74-41 victory over a DeKalb squad that came into the contest with a 21-5 record. His stats pretty much speak for themselves -- 14 of 16 from the field and 2 of 2 from three-point range for 30 points. In addition, the University of Wisconsin recruit grabbed 16 rebounds, handed out 9 assists, blocked 2 shots and came up with 1 steal. Moreover, his activity, relentless nature on both ends of the court and overall basketball ability were nothing short of sensational. The top candidate for the coveted Mr. Basketball award in Wisconsin, Davis is playing at a level that would certainly warrant his status as the front runner for the award.
Carson Nell, 6-2, Sr., G, Winnebago Lutheran
The son of Winnebago Lutheran coach Marty Nell, Carson Nell had the best scoring game of his prep career in the Vikings' 74-53 victory over Chicago Steinmetz. The talented senior wing guard buried eight three-point shots and finished with 30 points as Winnebago Lutheran improved to 14-3. Nell and classmate Donovan Schwartz (5-10) form a dynamic backcourt as both players are stellar three-point shooters who also possess a very good feel for the game and defend at a high level. Nell is receiving recruiting interest from Ripon College and Wisconsin Lutheran College, among others, and is averaging 17.5 ppg after averaging 13.8 ppg as a junior.
Kody Krekling, 6-3, Jr., F, The Prairie School
Two weeks ago at the John Chekouras Classic, Krekling finished with a career-best 29 points in a victory over Living Word Lutheran. In the four games since, he scored a total of 24 points. And then, in Saturday's 79-55 triumph over Chicago Perspectives MSA, Krekling was on fire once again, as he had 27 points and six three-point baskets while helping coach Jason Atanasoff's club improve to 12-6. A wing player who cuts well to the basket and can spot up from the perimeter, Krekling made 9 of 14 shots from the field and also grabbed 9 rebounds. When he is scoring and rebounding at a high level, the Hawks are a very difficult team to defeat.
Ben Nau, 6-2, Jr., G, Brookfield Central
Brookfield Central jumped to a 16-0 lead over Deerfield before the Warriors mounted a huge rally to take a 37-36 lead early in the second half. When the game was hotly contested and the outcome in the balance, Nau stepped forward and played at his very best. He buried one big triple after another for coach Dan Wandrey and the Lancers, who responded to Deerfield's run with a potent run of their own en route to a 70-51 triumph. A very unselfish player who competes with an exceptionally high basketball IQ, Nau made 5 of 9 attempts from outside the arc and finished with 19 points to lead Brookfield Central, the defending WIAA Division 1 state champions. Nau also grabbed 5 rebounds and handed out 7 assists as the Lancers improved to 16-1. Nau owns NCAA Division I scholarship offers from Green Bay, Miami, Milwaukee and Southern Illinois, among others, and his play Saturday was the major reason the Lancers ran their winning streak to 10 in a row.
Max Kunnert, 6-3, Jr., G, Brookfield Academy
While it was apparent Kunnert was at less than 100 percent due to a recent hip injury, he nonetheless drove the ball to the basket and drew fouls on New Trier on the way to scoring 15 points and making 8 of 9 attempts from the foul line. One of the better guard prospects in the state in the 2021 class, Kunnert's health is vital to Brookfield Academy's success due to his calming influence on the team and his ability to pass, score and defend. The Blue Knights dropped a 62-55 decision to New Trier to fall to 12-6 on the season, but Brookfield Academy remains a threat in Division 4, particularly if Kunnert is healthy as his ability to score, along with that of senior Aidan Clarey and junior Logan Landers, is tough to stop.
Michael McIntosh, 6-0, Jr., G, Madison East
The left-handed guard finished with a team-high 10 points as Madison East dropped a 62-50 decision to a Marian Catholic squad that is 20-7 and features University of Iowa recruit Ahron Ulis (6-2) and Western Illinois recruit Elijah Jones (6-5). McIntosh was fearless as he attacked the basket against bigger and longer guards while also dropping two big three-point baskets for coach Matt Miota and the Purgolders, who fell to 11-4 and played once again without senior standout Anthony Washington, who has sat out several games due to a rules infraction but is expected to return this week to East's lineup. McIntosh and junior forward Jevan Boyton (6-5) form a solid returning nucleus for Madison East.
Asanjai Hunter, 5-11, Soph., G, The Prairie School
The relative of Racine St. Catherine's standout junior guard Tyrese Hunter made some news of his own Saturday as he finished with a career-high 19 points in the Hawks' 79-55 victory over Chicago Perspectives MSA. Hunter single-handily led The Prairie School to a 7-0 lead by making four charity tosses and also knocking down a three-point shot. His quickness, hustle and all-out competitiveness were huge assets for the Hawks, who had three players score in double figures. Hunter is averaging 11.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 2.8 apg.
Andrew Rohde, 6-4, Soph., G, Brookfield Central
The future is extremely bright for Rohde, who has all the tools necessary to develop into one of the state's top players over the next couple of years. His length, basketball build, skill and overall feel for the game are exceptional. He hit four three-point shots and scored 14 points against Deerfield while at the same time playing strong defense and taking good shots while not forcing the action one bit. Rohde may not get the acclaim of teammates David Joplin and Ben Nau, but his steadiness, defense and ability to score are all impressive for the 16-1 Lancers.
Colin Schaefer, 6-0, Sr., G, Sun Prairie
A quick-on-quick lead guard who pushes the ball in transition and can shoot from the perimeter and off the dribble, Schaefer has turned in a strong senior season for Sun Prairie as he is averaging better than 17.0 ppg. The four-year varsity performer finished with 10 points in a 77-44 win over Antioch. His ability to probe the defense and set up his teammates kept Antioch defenders off balance for much of the contest. Schaefer is one of the state's top unsigned class of 2020 point guards and teams with Edgewood College recruit Dawson Hughes in coach Jeff Boos' talented and experienced backcourt.
Addison Ostrenga, 6-4, Soph., F, Sun Prairie
Knowing your role and fulfilling your role to the best of your ability is a skill not a lot of young players fully comprehend. But Ostengra isn't one of those players. He goes out and fulfills his role on a nightly basis for coach Jeff Boos and the Cardinals. The physical, strong and sturdy power forward scored a career-high 14 points for Sun Prairie in its win over Antioch. He also provided a strong presence on the glass and in the lane on defense. Ostrenga and sophomore classmate Ben Olson (6-3) give Sun Prairie a solid foundation for the future as both are starters for one of the state's elite WIAA Division 1 programs.
Other Wisconsin Players Who Played Well ...
Jevan Boyton, 6-5, Jr., Madison East
Connor Carpenter, 6-1, Jr., Sun Prairie
Aidan Clarey, 6-2, Sr., Brookfield Academy
Noah Compan, 6-4, Soph., La Crosse Central
Jordan Davis, 6-5, Sr., La Crosse Central
Trenton Herkstroeter, 6-4, Sr., Winnebago Lutheran
David Joplin, 6-7, Jr., Brookfield Central
Marcus Justice, 6-4, Sr., Madison East
Logan Landers, 6-10, Jr., Brookfield Academy
Deante Luster, 6-3, Sr., Sun Prairie
Antuan Nesbitt, 6-4, Jr., The Prairie School
Eric Radisevic, 6-9, Sr., Brookfield Central
Donovan Schwartz, 5-10, Sr., Winnebago Lutheran
Terrance Thompson, 6-7, Sr., La Crosse Central
Malik Abdul-Wahid, 6-6, Sr., Brookfield Central
The 10-Player All-Illinois Squad
John Carragher, 6-4, Sr., New Trier
Gavin Eldridge, 6-4, Sr., Antioch
Quame Gipson, 5-9, Sr., Chicago Steinmetz
Joe Green, 6-0, Sr., Marian Catholic
Walt Mattingly, 6-7, Jr., Deerfield
Elijah Jones, 6-5, Sr., Marian Catholic
Joseph Owens, 6-4, Sr., DeKalb
William Ryan, 5-10, Sr., New Trier
Ahron Ulis, 6-2, Sr., Marian Catholic
Raymond Walson, 6-4, Soph., Chicago Perspectives MSA
Final Scores ...
New Trier (IL) 62, Brookfield Academy (WI) 55
Winnebago Lutheran (WI) 74, Chicago Steinmetz (IL) 53
Marian Catholic (IL) 62, Madison East (WI) 50
The Prairie School (WI) 79, Chicago Perspectives MSA (IL) 55
Brookfield Central (WI) 70, Deerfield (IL) 51
Sun Prairie (WI) 77, Antioch (IL) 44
La Crosse Central (WI) 74, DeKalb (IL) 41
Wisconsin leads the all-time series 12-8
Looking Ahead ...
The date for next year's Wisconsin vs. Illinois Border Battle is February 13, 2021 at the Prairie School. Wisconsin teams committed to date include Ashwaubenon, Manitowoc Lincoln, Racine Case, Racine Lutheran, Sheboygan Lutheran, The Prairie School and Waukesha West.
To The Prairie School and its incredible staff led by athletic director/boys' basketball coach Jason Atanasoff for hosting the 3rd annual Wisconsin vs. Illinois Border Battle. Thanks also to Gregg Owens for coordinating the officials. See you next February at The Prairie School.