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Wisconsin and Minnesota split the fifth Border Battle

01/15/2011, 1:11pm CST
By Mark Miller

Wisconsin and Minnesota teams split their six games Saturday at St. Cloud Tech in the fifth annual Border Battle, co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook and The Breakdown.

The following writeups are from The Breakdown’s Tim Kolehmainen and and WBY editor Mark Miller was ill and unable to attend this year’s event.

Ellenson’s three-pointer at the buzzer lifts Rice Lake to victory

Rice Lake's Wally Ellenson knew he was going to get the ball with the game on the line. So did St. Cloud Apollo. It didn't matter.

With three defenders in his face, Ellenson hit an off-balance, buzzer-beating three-pointer to give Rice Lake (11-5, No. 14 DII) a thrilling 66-63 victory over Apollo (11-4, No. 6 AAA) in the 5th annual Border Battle at St. Cloud Tech High School Saturday night.

“I wasn’t open right away, but I heard the bench count down, so I just turned around and shot it,” said Ellenson, who claimed he practices that shot in his driveway during the summer.

After a time out, Rice Lake coach Kevin Orr set up a play to get the ball in Ellenson's hands. Apollo defended it well, forcing Ellenson to dribble outside the arc to try to find his shot. As the fans counted down 3...2...1...Ellenson muscled up a leaning three-pointer.

When it hit nothing but net, the Rice Lake bench erupted with cheers, surrounding Ellenson as he held up his index finger.

“He made a big time shot,” said Orr. “That’s the type of kid he is. He’s a gamer. He’s a winner. He wants the ball in his hands.”

Ellenson led the way for the Warriors with 25 points, while senior guard Taylor West was the only other player in double figures with 12.

Apollo was paced by the big front court duo of Simon Krych (23 points) and Blake Maslonkowski (13), each of whom is headed to the University of Mary.

Orr knew stopping the Eagles' front line would be key, but that was easier said than done.

“We knew that they had some size,” said Orr. “But we had to learn to make adjustments to what they were doing.”

Stelzer erupts for 41 points to lead Manitowoc Roncalli past Rocori

Senior Ben Stelzer scored 41 points, including 10 three-pointers, as Manitowoc Roncalli upended Rocori, 64-54 in the 5th annual Border Battle at St. Cloud Tech High School Saturday afternoon.

“I got it going, the guys screened well and I just had the hot hand,” said Stelzer, the Jets' leading scorer entering the game at 24.6 ppg.

Stelzer rained down seven three-pointers in the first half as the Jets (15-1, No. 6 DIII) opened up a 40-29 lead at intermission. Mike Gresl added a trio of first-half three pointers for Roncalli on his way to 11 points.

“We’re a pretty good shooting team, but we don't really look for the three as much as take what teams are giving us,” said Roncalli coach Joe Rux. “Early on I thought they were backed in pretty tight and protecting the lane. We were content to let (Stelzer and Gresl) get some shots.”

Stelzer, a Michigan Tech commit, cooled off in the second half, as he had to sit due to foul trouble, but still added 18 points after the break. Stelzer was also 7-of-8 from the free throw line to ice the game in the final minutes. Rux slowed the game down in the final minutes, trying to protect the lead.

“We pulled the reins back only because of the foul trouble,” said Rux. “We certainly wanted to push the ball and attack on the offensive side, but when we got two or three guys with three or four fouls, we had to pull back and try to run some clock. Just shorten the game.”

Rocori (12-6) was paced by Jonah Eisenschenk with 24 points and Nathan Meyer with 14. The Spartans were able to cut the lead to four points several times in the final minutes, but could not erase the haltime deficit.

Aquinas overcomes tired legs to register another victory

LaCrosse Aquinas, the top-ranked team in Wisconsin Division 3, wasn’t making any excuses. Just hours after playing a rugged game against rival LaCrosse Central back home in Wisconsin, the Blugolds (15-1) jumped on the bus and made the trek to St. Cloud Tech for the 5th annual Border Battle. Despite tired legs and a short night, Aquinas battled past St. Cloud Cathedral, 71-64.

“We just felt like we had to go out and play our game and do the things that we do well,” said Aquinas coach Rick Schneider. “The kids were tired, though, and we had an emotional conference game last night. It's a little bit tougher to get going in that situation.

“But you have to turn it into a business trip and get the win regardless, whether it’s pretty or not.”

Sophomore point guard Bronson Koenig certainly had a picturesque game. The silky smooth D1 recruit scored a game-high 26 points, showing off a big range of offensive skills. He was joined in double-figures by guard Michael Conway (18 points) and forward Jimmy Ancius (16 points).

Cathedral (10-7) was paced by guards Joe Burt (23 points) and Bjorn Bjorklund (20), who combined to hit six three-pointers. Burt, the point guard and catalyst of the offense, kept the Crusaders close much of the game before Aquinas pulled away late.

The game was tied at 32-all at intermission, as Koenig hit a runner at the buzzer to erase the Crusaders' lead.

“This was our third Friday-Saturday (game) in a row,” said Schneider. “You don’t always execute perfectly, but you find a way to get it done.”

St. Cloud Tech topples Baldwin-Woodville

After losing a huge senior class that helped lead the program to consecutive state tournaments, it's been a learning year for St. Cloud Tech. Saturday night at the 5th annual Border Battle, it looked like the kids are all right.
Junior Alex Matchinsky poured in 30 points and freshman Andy Foley chipped in with 19 as the Tigers (6-12) roared past Baldwin-Woodville (11-4) by a 71-57 margin.

“It was a good team effort all around,” said Matchinsky. “Everybody just did their thing. Defensively, it could have been better, but offensively we’ve really been clicking the last few games.”

Matchinsky knocked in 18 points before intermission as the Tigers built up a 34-21 halftime lead. Foley came alive after the break, scoring 14 of his 19 points in the final 18 minutes.

“All we worried about was ourself,” said Tech coach Mike Trewick. “We told our kids if they just play hard, good things will happen.”

Baldwin-Woodville also awakened at the break, but could not make up the first-half deficit. The Blackhawks’ Tyler Heitmann had 20 points to lead his team, while Ryan Benoy scored all 15 of his points in the second half. They were the only two players in double figures for Baldwin-Woodville.

Ultra-talented Hopkins roars past Madison East

Hopkins just had too much. Too much height. Too much depth. Too much athleticism.

The Royals (16-0, No. 1 AAAA) used an impressive combination of all three to roll past Madison East (9-7) in the 5th annual Border Battle at St. Cloud Tech High School, 93-53. Ten different Royals scored in the game, led by reserve Nick Jorgensen with 20.

“We've lost quite a few players,” said Hopkins coach Ken Novak Jr., who ticked off a pair of players who have missed plenty of time in 6-foot-8 center Jake Peterson and sixth-man Andre McDonald. “We need to get some of these guys (going), because they're guys we maybe didn't count on, but we're going to need them.”

Hopkins towered over the much shorter Purgolders -- and the Royals certainly used it to their advan

Tag(s): Border Battle