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Tyrell Stuttley

Onalaska High School's Tyrell Stuttley hopes to put the Hilltoppers ahead of Central on Friday night in a battle of the top two teams in the MVC.

Sole possession of first place in the MVC is on the line Friday night when the Sparta High School boys basketball team travels to Onalaska.

Central (8-1, 2-0) forced a three-way tie at the top of the standings by beating Logan 74-35 on Thursday, but either the Hilltoppers (8-1, 2-0) or Spartans (9-2, 2-0) will be standing alone at the top after Friday night's game.

The Tribune will be there, so follow @SommerfeldtLAX for updates on Twitter if you can't go and check out lacrossetribune.com for photos, video and a story about the game Friday night.

Onalaska is a mainstay in terms of an MVC contender. The Hilltoppers have pushed Central hard the last two years and beat the Red Raiders n a home game a year ago.

Junior Carson Arenz is averaging a team-best 17.4 points per game, and classmate Tyrell Stuttley isn't far behind at 15.6 ppg. Arenz can score from all over the court, and Stuttley has been a force in the paint both offensively and defensively since last season.

Stuttley's defense will be needed against Sparta, which has both size and the ability to score inside.

The Spartans have never won an MVC championship in boys basketball, but they have been consistent this season and enter their biggest matchup so far with a five-game winning streak.

Sparta is also battle-tested in close games with five of their victories coming with winning margins of six points or less.

The Spartans have won with balance and have five players who have reached doubles figures at least once in the last three games. Senior Nick Church is averaging 20 ppg during Sparta's current winning streak, and Juan Aguilar just scored 24 in a 74-70 nonconference win over West Salem last week.

MVC BOYS

Team Ovr. W-L Conf. W-L
Onalaska 9-1 3-0
Central 8-1 2-0
Sparta 9-3 2-1
Holmen 5-5 2-1
Aquinas 3-7 0-1
Tomah 2-6 0-2
Logan 3-7 0-4

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Assistant Sports Editor

Todd Sommerfeldt has covered sports for the La Crosse Tribune since 2003 after doing the same previously in the Fox Cities and Rock County.