Heise, Borchert close out careers with all-star game

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Heimke gets final chance to coach 2 seniors

Two members of Lena’s senior class got the chance to play with some of the top talent in Division 5 as part of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association’s All-Star Game on Saturday.

Connor Heise and Hunter Borchert, along with coach Jeff Heimke, were selected to the North team, which fell to the South team, 102-96, Saturday at JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells.

“There’s essentially five teams in the state that end their career with a win. If you don’t end your career on a win, you might as well end it on a positive note,” Heimke said. “This is a good chance to do that.”

The team also included Alex Ohde (McDonell Central), Cameron Brussow (Loyal), Neal Cerveny (Gresham), Davin Stricker (Mellen), Drew Rohde (Prentice), Dylan Bunders (Almond-Bancroft), Grayson Knowlton (McDonell Central) and Tyler Fuerlinger (Columbus Catholic).

Gresham coach Jeff Zobeck was the head coach, and Port Edwards’ Dave Gibbs was the other assistant.

Over four practices last week, the team got a chance to get to know each other and learn how each of the players would fit into the system.

“It’s a puzzle,” Borchert said. “This is the most talented team I’ve ever played on, so in pick-up games, you’re trying to figure out what everyone is doing and everyone’s habits are, and just try to figure out where you fit in from there.”

Borchert, who will go to the University of Wisconsin-Stout to study mechanical engineering and business administration, was an alternate for the team. He was added after Columbus Catholic’s Hunter Schultz had to back out.

Heise, who will play collegiate basketball at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota, enjoyed getting to know his teammates and the opportunity to learn more about the game.

“Being back on the court playing against each other, it’s a totally different atmosphere,” Heise said. “So being here hanging out with each other, playing basketball, like we learn a lot from each other being in the gym this week.”

Some of the team members were familiar with each other from either high school competitions or AAU basketball, but the two days of living together in Gresham before heading to the tournament brought them closer.

“It’s a great group of kids, very, very fun. Everyone has been friendly, and everyone has been in the same boat,” Borchert said. “You’re kind of working together to figure it out.”

The weekend event, which includes games from all five divisions for both boys and girls over two days, along with a banquet, raised $436,646 for Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer.

“It’s nice to be able to come off a crushing loss in that sectional to be able to put a jersey back on one more time and do a positive thing, especially something that raises a bunch of money for charity,” Heimke said.

Heise and Borchert were able to put an overtime loss to Gresham behind them to get back on the court with Heimke manning the sidelines. Borchert said the game was bittersweet.

“Honestly, this is the best way to cap off a great four years of high school and kind of a send-off to college, so there’s no better way I could have thought of it,” Heise said. “And it was one of my goals coming to school, and I’m very thankful to be here.”