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Observations from the 7th annual Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle

02/14/2013, 9:30am CST
By Mark Miller

Taking it on the chin wasn’t a whole lot of fun for the seven Wisconsin high school basketball teams that took part in Saturday’s seventh annual Border Battle featuring teams from the Badger state against their neighbors from Minnesota.

The fact Minnesota had five ranked teams take part, including four in its largest enrollment division of 4A, made things difficult for the Wisconsin schools.

Minnesota posted a clean 7-0 sweep of their counterparts from Wisconsin in action at Prior Lake High School and now leads the all-time series 23-16.

Following are some observations on the Wisconsin teams from watching a full day of basketball …

Wisconsin’s Top 10 Performers

Henry Ellenson, 6-9, Soph., PF, Rice Lake
Definitely one of the most impressive of all players to take part in the Border Battle, Ellenson finished with 27 points and 17 rebounds in a 66-53 loss to Prior Lake. Ranked No. 2 behind Diamond Stone of Dominican in Wisconsin’s class of 2015 by, Ellenson is making a strong case for taking over the No. 1 spot in the sophomore rankings based on his stellar all-around play this season. An absolute physical specimen for such a young player, Ellenson uses his incredible size and strength to dominate in the post. But he can also handle the ball, pass and shoot from the perimeter. It’s easy to see why schools such as Georgetown, Iowa State, Marquette and Minnesota, among others, have already extended scholarship offers to Ellenson, who figures to only get better as he continues to hone his skills and develop his massive frame.

Brevin Pritzl, 6-3, Soph., WG, De Pere
Like Ellenson, Pritzl finished with 27 points in a losing effort as the Redbirds fell to a very good squad from Hopkins, 85-70. Pritzl buried four three-point baskets in the game, but also showed the ability to get past defenders with a quick first step. He went to the foul line six times and made five. An athletic wing player with excellent shooting range, Pritzl is currently ranked No. 6 among 2015 prospects by and has scholarship offers from Green Bay, Milwaukee and Toledo. If he continues to play as well as he did Saturday against Hopkins, Pritzl figures to garner many more Division I offers and potentially move up in the Player Rankings.

Nate Lassila, 6-2, Sr., WG, Roncalli
The latest in a long line of outstanding three-point shooters to play for coach Joe Rux at Roncalli, Lassila hit four triples and finished with 23 points in a 59-44 loss to Eden Prairie, the largest school in Minnesota with an enrollment of 3,007 students. Lassila kept the Jets within striking distance of Eden Prairie for much of the contest with his ability to make shots from the perimeter. Roncalli finished the game with nine triples, but had a difficult time containing junior Andre Wallace (6-0), a junior guard with scholarship offers from Green Bay and Oregon State, among others. Wallace had 18 points for Eden Prairie.   

Alex Herink, 6-6, Jr., F, Hudson
It’s been a difficult season for the Raiders, who fell to 5-12 with a 76-45 loss to Osseo. But coach Jason Swavely has one of the state’s top juniors in Herink, a versatile 6-6 forward who can play away from the basket or use his quickness and size to score in the post. Herink finished with 16 points to lead the Raiders. Ranked No. 12 among juniors in Wisconsin by, Herink currently has scholarship offers from both North Dakota State and South Dakota State.

Darrlyn Willis, 6-7, Jr., F, Madison Memorial
The talent and potential have always been there for Willis, who appears to be coming into his own now under the guidance of coach Steve Collins. Willis competed with heart and energy throughout Memorial’s 81-60 loss to Apple Valley. He finished with 11 points and was tough to stop at times around the basket because of his length, quickness and jumping ability. If Willis is able to add some strength, become much more consistent and round out his game a bit, there is little doubt he’ll end up a scholarship player for the Spartans.

Matt Reader, 6-5, Jr., G/F, Appleton West
Reader finished with just seven points for the Terrors, who lost to a loaded DeLaSalle squad, 65-43. But Reader did a lot of things on both ends of the court for coach Brennan Hussey. The big lefty handled the ball, got to the basket and looked for his teammates on offense while hitting the glass and defending well on the other end of the floor. Reader’s versatility and skill level are major reasons why he currently holds a NCAA Division II scholarship offer from the University of Mary.

Billy Wampler, 6-4, Soph., WG, Regis
Coming off a 21-point performance Friday in a victory over arch-rival McDonell Central, Wampler had 11 points in a 77-49 loss to Mahtomedi. The Ramblers stayed competitive with their talented opponent through the first 24 minutes of the contest before things went south, and Wampler was a big reason why. His ability to make shots from distance as well as be a force on the offensive glass are key for a young Regis squad that has improved throughout the season under veteran coach Bill Uelmen.

Reggie Roemer, 5-9, Jr., G, Madison Memorial
Roemer ignited a nice comeback for Memorial in its loss to Apple Valley. He scored 17 points in the game, including 11 in the second half. Using his aggressiveness and quickness off the dribble, Roemer was able to get to the basket and finish on several occasions for the Spartans, who at one point cut a 19-points halftime deficit to 10 points in the second half.

Troy Mielke, 6-4, Sr., G, Appleton West
Mielke is a versatile performer who can guard multiple positions while also creating matchup problems on offense. Mielke finished with a team-high 13 points for the Terrors in their loss to DeLaSalle. He was able to get to the basket against quicker defenders by using his superior size and strength.

Logan Rohrscheib, 5-10, Frosh., PG, Regis
A smooth, intelligent lead guard with a very impressive skill package, Rohrscheib knocked down three triples and had 12 points in the Ramblers’ loss to Mahtomedi. A knock-down perimeter shooter who handles the ball well in tight spaces, Rohrscheib figures to be a player to watch over the next four years, especially as he grows and adds strength and quickness to his game.

Five Others Who Played Well From Wisconsin

Jake Verhagen, 6-6, Sr., WG, Appleton West
The Eastern Illinois recruit got off to a slow start for the Terrors, but had a solid second half and finished with 11 points for the Terrors.

Nick Stanke, 6-3, Sr., PF, Regis
The Sioux Falls football recruit had 11 points and used his size and strength to score around the basket for the Ramblers.

Julian Walters, 5-11, Sr., PG, Madison Memorial
A steady performer on both ends of the court, Walters has done a very good job of replacing the injured Brendan Ortiz in the Spartans’ lineup. Walters finished with 11 points Saturday and took good shots throughout the game. 

Ben Widdes, 6-0, Soph., PG, Rice Lake
Widdes is an emerging class of 2015 prospect who handles the ball and runs the team for coach Kevin Orr at Rice Lake. He connected on a pair of three-point baskets in the first half against Prior Lake and finished with eight points for the Warriors.

Cooper Mocarski, 6-5, Jr., F, De Pere
With senior point guard Adam Beyer (6-6) a bit hobbled, Mocarski helped to pick up the scoring slack for the Redbirds. He was aggressive in the lane and finished with 11 points for coach Brian Winchester.

2013 Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle Results
Mahtomedi 77, Regis 49
Eden Prairie 59, Roncalli 44
Hopkins 85, De Pere 70
DeLaSalle 65, Appleton West 43
Osseo 76, Hudson 45
Prior Lake 66, Rice Lake 53
Apple Valley 81, Madison Memorial 60

Quick Hitters … Minnesota coach Tubby Smith attended the Border Battle and watched several games. Smith and the Golden Gophers are heavily recruiting DeLaSalle junior Reid Travis (6-7) and Apple Valley junior Tyus Jones (6-2), among others … Jones was every bit as impressive as his No. 1 national ranking in 2014 by The talented point guard finished with 26 points and several eye-opening assists against Madison Memorial …  Green Bay assistant coach Chrys Cornelius also attended the Border Battle as the Phoenix are involved with Eden Prairie junior Andre Wallace (6-0) along with Pritzl and Prior Lake junior guard Jon Sobaski (6-1) … Madison Memorial senior Jester Weah (6-4), a Pittsburgh football recruit, battled foul problems and did not score in the first half, but came back with four baskets and eight points in the second half for the Spartans … Next year’s Border Battle, which is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook and The Breakdown, will be held in Kaukauna on Jan. 25. Wisconsin teams participating include Stevens Point Pacelli, Waupun, Seymour, Stevens Point, Milwaukee Pius XI and the host school, Kaukauna ... Hopkins freshman Amir Coffey (6-5) is the son of former Minnesota Golden Gopher and NBA player Richard Coffey. Amir Coffey started for Hopkins and has the look of a high-major Division I recruit down the line for coach Kevin Novak Jr. … Travis scored 24 points for the Islanders, using his excellent size, strength and athleticism to repeatedly score around the basket. Marquette is among many DI schools in hot pursuit of Travis, who is also a standout quarterback on the DeLaSalle football team.       

Tag(s): Border Battle