WISCONSIN DELLS — East Troy’s Nate Dodge has received an appointment to West Point, where he will play basketball and serve his country in the Army.
But before beginning to honor his commitment next month, Dodge participated in the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 3 All-Star Game at the JustAGame Fieldhouse on Saturday.
The only complication was he found himself on the opposite side of longtime summer basketball teammate, friend and University of Wisconsin recruit Bronson Koenig of La Crosse Aquinas.
“I always give him grief; we’re pretty good friends. He’s a heck of a player — he will have a great career at Wisconsin,” said Dodge, who finished with five points, three rebounds and two steals for the South team, while Koenig finished with 18 points, four rebounds and a game-high five assists for a North squad that cruised to a 100-71 victory.
“I’ve played with him as long as I can remember on an AAU team. It was fun playing against him once. But I’d rather play with him. I wish we’d have played better as a team. If we could do it all over again, I’m not saying we’d win, but we’d give them a better game.”
East Troy’s Brett Prahl, a UW-Milwaukee recruit, led the South with 17 points, Berlin’s Toby Hegner had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Dodgeville’s Nick Crowley had 11 points. But the North outscored the South in each quarter to put the game away early.
Tim Wagner of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau led six North players in double figures with 19 points.
“This was a really good experience. The rest of the week we didn’t play quite as hard as we did today,” said Koenig, who shot 7-for-17 from the floor, including 3-for-8 from 3-point range. “We played well as a team and a lot harder because of the atmosphere.”
Koenig said a scrimmage earlier in the week that drew 1,200 fans at Onalaska High School against the Division 2 North team, which included Iowa State recruit Matt Thomas of Onalaska, was exciting.
“It was a lot of fun. We were treating it like an all-star game but at the same time playing hard,” Koenig said. “We were getting after it.”
Koenig said he will move to Madison on Sunday and begin summer school classes at UW on Monday.
“I can’t wait to get started. I just need to keep rehabbing my injuries and get healthy and start weightlifting. I’m excited to see how my body and my game changes,” he said. “I pulled a hamstring in track and developed jumper’s knee. I don’t know how, but hopefully it’s because I’ve grown.”
South 87, North 75
Madison La Follette’s Nygel Drury scored 14 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and Ethan Guske (Sheboygan North) sank six 3s to finish with 26 points for the North, but Austin Malone-Mitchell (Milwaukee King) scored nine of his team-high 22 points in the fourth-quarter to ignite a 34-18 closing surge and help the South pull away.
North 107, South 86
Milwaukee Bay View’s Carlin Dupree scored a game-high 27 points and Waunakee’s Ryan Kruser had 17 points for the South but it wasn’t enough to overcome Onalaska’s Matt Thomas, an Iowa State recruit, who led four North players in double figures in scoring with 22 points. McFarland’s Cory Frank had six points and a team-high eight rebounds for the South.
South 89, North 65
Shoreland Lutheran’s Adam Freitag scored a game-high 18 points and the South used a 45-26 surge in the second half to pull away. Southwestern’s Josh Smith had 12 points and a team-high six rebounds for the South. Auburndale’s Austin Hawkins scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the first half for the North.
North 63, South 59
North Crawford’s Joe Childs scored a team-best 14 points and Randolph’s Aaron Retzlaff and Fall River’s Jake Grebe finished with seven points apiece, but it wasn’t enough to rally the South. Ben Best (Bloomer) led the North with a game-high 18 points and 14 rebounds.