Scores high at Border Bash high school all-star basketball games in Ironwood on June 6

Jaana Aukee of Hurley, Wis., left, brings the ball up court for the Northern Wisconsin girls against Brooke Stanislawski of Bessemer and the Northern Michigan team during the Border Bash held June 6 in Ironwood. (Photo courtesy Cortney Ofstad)

IRONWOOD — The caliber of scoring from recent high school seniors made defense look like a dirty word as more than 400 points was scored over a pair of games during the 10th annual Kiwanis Classic All Star Border Bash held the evening of June 6 at the Lindquist Center at Gogebic Community College in Ironwood.

Spectators really got an offensive show during the opening contest when the Northern Michigan girls defeated Northern Wisconsin, 118-98.

Northern Michigan set a record for scoring by a single team in the event, with the old record 116, according to event organizer and Kiwanis Club of Ironwood member Russ Maki.

Really relatively speaking, the nightcap was a real defensive struggle as Northern Wisconsin edged out their Michigan counterparts 98-95.

“It’s wonderful. Absolutely terrific,” Maki said of the showing in both games.

Border Bash teams host the best nine players from across the Upper Peninsula and from the northern portion of Wisconsin in games that are charitable fundraiser for children’s activities in the far western U.P.

“Kiwanis is all about kids, and our No. 1 goal is to give kids something to do,” Maki said. “These are all high school seniors, we consider them to be kids, and this is a way to honor them.”

Maki said the Northern Michigan girls now lead the series 6-4, while Wisconsin is ahead on the boys side 7-3.

Many of the Michigan players suited up again for this past weekend’s U.P. Sports Hall of Fame-sponsored U.P. All-Star Classic games.

Here are highlights from each game:


Michigan girls 118, Wisconsin 98

Not that she had to prove it, but Negaunee’s Ella Mason showed why she won the Miss U.P. Basketball award from the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association earlier this spring.

Mason scored the most of any player during the evening’s two games with 36 points for the Northern Michigan girls, which also happened to be exactly twice as many points as any other player in the girls game.

She scored 20 points in the first half and had to be an easy choice for game most valuable player. She nailed six 3-pointers and was 2 of 2 on free throws.

Teammate Lauren Zawada of Bark River-Harris and Hailey Zernickle of Bonduel, Wisconsin, each put in 18 points.

With Ishpeming head coach Ryan Reichel guiding the Michigan crew, the game was tight during the first quarter with Michigan leading Wisconsin 25-19 at the end of the period. But it was all Michigan in the second quarter as the Yoopers stretched their lead to 59-38 heading at halftime.

During the intermission, a series of events of exhibitions were held, including a 3-point and a free throw shooting contests.

Megan Marta of Westwood nailed 10 of 10 free throws to secure her victory in that contest, while Jaana Aukee of nearby Hurley, Wisconsin, made seven.

In the 3-point contest, it was Lily Treder, of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, sinking 5 of 10 to claim that win.

Once the game restarted, Wisconsin actually held a narrow 35-31 advantage in the third period, but it only chipped into the Michiganders 21-point halftime edge a little bit and not nearly enough to catch up.

Marta finished with 14 points, all coming on seven 2-pointers, while Ishpeming’s Jenna Maki put in 13 points, including three triples, and Marquette graduate Kyley Elmblad scored nine points.


Wisconsin boys 98, Michigan 95

The two big scorers in the boys game have plenty of experience pumping in points. Northern Michigan’s Jonny Ingalls of St. Ignace was the Michigan Associated Press Division 4 Player of the Year, while Northern Wisconsin’s Isaiah Kastern became the all-time leading scorer at his school, Solon Springs.

In the end, Kastern, who is headed to play basketball at Bemidji State University in Minnesota, had the edge, 32 to 25 points, while Kastern’s team finished ahead by three.

Ingalls was among four Michigan players who are either from the area or will be coming to play on athletic teams at Northern Michigan University this fall.

Ingalls, the all-time scorer at St. Ignace and a 2,000-point scorer, will bring his talents to the NMU men’s basketball team.

Big leads, big dunks, and bigger comebacks were key pieces during the game’s action. Wisconsin built a big first-half lead, going up 30-16 after one quarter and 59-34 at halftime.

Then in the third quarter, a series of missed shots and turnovers by Wisconsin allowed Michigan to claw back into the game as the Yooper outscored Wisconsin 40-18 in the third to pull within 77-74 entering the final period. The comeback was punctuated by Ingalls’ teammate, the Saints’ Ethan McLean, hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Then in the fourth, neither team could pull away as they traded baskets, turnovers and fouls.

The boys held their own 3-point and slam dunk contests during their halftime. Frahm hit 7 of 10 on 3-pointers to claim that competition, while Kastern pulled no punches in the dunk contest. On his third and final dunk, he employed his friend, Giizhik Gauthier of Bayfield, and jumped clean over her to bring home the trophy.

It wouldn’t be the only trophy Kastern took home, as he also was named boys MVP.

Maki presented a check for $2,402 to GCC representatives during halftime of the boys game. He said it was all of the proceeds for the game, as well as half of the 50-50 raffle.

“(GCC) lets us use this gym for free. Lights blazing all day long with the electric bill, janitors cleaning up popcorn, and they don’t charge us a thing,” Maki said.


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