Lake Mills’ Charlie Bender was an all-state selection by the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association for Division 3 in recently held voting.
Bender, a senior forward, helped the L-Cats post a 23-6 record, winning eight straight games en route to the program’s second state championship appearance (this one in D2).
Bender, who played in a program-record 101 career games, hit the game-winning shot in the waning seconds on a contested reverse layup in the sectional final at Monroe. In the team’s 14-point loss to eventual state champion Pewaukee, Bender scored a game-high 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting.
“It’s great for Charlie’s hard work to get recognized,” Lake Mills boys basketball coach Charlie Bender said. “For his whole career, he’s been a huge part of our success. Never played on a bad team here in four years. When you’re on a successful team, people are going to watch and people liked what they saw in Charlie. There’s a lot to appreciate with the way he plays basketball.”
Bender, a versatile 6-foot-3 wing, averaged 18.8 points per game, surpassing the 20-point mark 13 times, on 58 percent from the floor, adding 7.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks.
“His versatility really stands out,” Hicklin explained. “Whatever you need on a given night, he can provide. He’ll hit 3s to get a team out of zone. He can go to the basket on a mismatch and facilitate the offense. Can also guard the best player on the other end.
“Easy to game plan with a kid like him that provides an answer to any problem that may pop up.”
He scored 10 or more in all but one of the team’s games and finishes fifth all-time in program history for career scoring average (13.32 PPG).
Bender’s 1,345 career points are third most all-time behind Joe Klocek (1,397) and Turner Moen (1,372). His 106 total blocks are a program high while his career assists total (296) and career steals mark (121) are each the third-highest totals. He had 544 points this season, hitting 210 field goals along the way to set new program marks for both categories.
Lakeside Lutheran sophomore Levi Birkholz garnered honorable-mention honors, helping the Warriors go 19-5. The team won the Capitol North with an 8-0 record.
“Playing this year with the experience of having played on varsity as a freshman helped him,” Lakeside Lutheran boys basketball coach Todd Jahns said. “He flourished in taking on the scoring role and more of a leadership role. He did so humbly. That’s a big thing to understand.
“Lots of kids get lots of recognition and that changes them. That didn’t change Levi. He’s hungry and humble and wants to do it with his teammates. That’s what makes him special.”
Birkholz averaged 19.4 PPG, 6.2 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2 assists, all team-highs. The 6-3 guard doubled his scoring from a season ago, posting 10 20-point games and scoring in double-figures in all of the team’s outings.
Players were selected based upon the division their team started the season in before postseason realignment.
Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 3 All-State List
Charlie Bender, senior, Lake Mills
Quentin Bolton, senior, Shoreland Lutheran
Luke Haertle, junior, Lake Country Lutheran
Sam Haese, senior, Wrightstown
Tyrese Hunter, senior, Racine Saint Catherine’s
Clayton Jenny, senior, Edgerton
Kamari McGee, senior, Racine Saint Catherine’s
Brandin Podziemski, senior, Delafield St. John’s NW Academies
Donavan Short, junior, Denmark
Gabe Siler, senior, Saint Croix Central
Mason Anderson, senior, Ellsworth
Levi Birkholz, sophomore, Lakeside Lutheran
Riley Brooks, sophomore, Ripon
Gus Foster, junior, Big Foot
Dillon Garthwaite, junior, Dodgeville
Matthew Hansen, senior, Wrightstown
Hunter Ingles, senior, Winneconne
Wes Keller, senior, Richland Center
Ronald Kirk, senior, Dominican
Jared Lessman, senior, Saint Croix Falls
Jeremy Lorenz, sophomore, Brillion
Jordan Malmlov, sophomore, Prescott
Melvin Medina Ortiz, senior, Somerset
Ryan Nixon, senior, East Troy
Jackson Pettit, senior, Saint Croix Central
Cade Stachura, senior, Omro
Brennan Timm, senior, Delafield St. John’s NW Academies
Trey Traeder, senior, Lodi
Landon VanCalster, junior, Freedom
Barrett Witt, senior, Wisconsin Dells