EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Jessi Marti, sr., Cuba City girls basketball
Marti became the Lady Cubans’ all-time leading scorer at home with the 17th of her game-high 22 points in Cuba City’s 84-21 SWAL victory over Iowa-Grant at the Jerry Petitgoue Gymnasium on Thursday, Feb. 4.
“It’s so crazy to think about because so many good athletes have come through this school,” said Marti, who passed former Cuban standout Aimee (Tranel) Richard with her 1,467th career point on a second-half free throw. Richard starred for the Cubans from 1989-1993 and finished her stellar career with 1,466 points. “It was a great feeling getting it at home. It’s my favorite court to play on and it always will be. We have the greatest fans around. They’re here every game cheering is on. We can’t thank them enough.”
The Cubans opened the second half with a 16-0 scoring run to go up 56-7. Marti tied Richards’ Cuba City scoring record when she buried a 3-pointer at the 16:57 mark, and then she set the record a few minutes later when she sank the first of two free throws at the 14:13 mark for her 1,467th career point. The game was stopped at that point and Richard came out on the court to present Marti with the game ball.
“I could not have (set the record) without the help of my teammates. They know what we like to do, and they know how to get me the ball in the open court,” Marti commented.
Cuba City head coach Jeff Pustina said he could tell from a young age that Marti would be a special player for the Cubans, and she did everything she could do to make sure her coaches’ prophecy would come true.
“When kids are young, you can tell if they have that kind of passion, work ethic and athleticism, all the things that go into being a great player. You could see that in Jessi when she was young,” noted Pustina. “She has continued to work on her skills and get better every year. I think she’d be someone who will tell you she’s played with some great players, too. That has made things easier as well. It’s been a remarkable four-year run for her. We’ve obviously had some great players here over the years. It was nice that Aimee could be here tonight to acknowledge (Jessi’s) honor. Aimee’s a class act. She’s in that elite category, too.”
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order:
Sami Brookens, jr., Plattevile girls basketball
The junior back-up point guard made four three-pointers, including three in 20-5 Hillmen run midway through the second half and finished with a career-high 14 points to lead Platteville to a 57-37 SWC victory over Lancaster last Friday night. The Hillmen (13-5, 7-1 SWC) can clinch a share of this year’s SWC title with a win over Prairie du Chien tonight (Thursday, Feb. 11).
Hunter Dischler, sr., Weston/Ithaca wrestling
Dischler notched his fourth straight Scenic Ridge and Rivers Conference championship Saturday, winning the 132-pound title at the combined conference tournament for schools from the Scenic Bluffs, Ridge & Valley and the Six Rivers.
Ben Ertz, jr., River Ridge boys basketball
The junior forward was Mr. Clutch once again for the Timberwolves last Friday night. Ertz banked home the game-winning three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left on the clock to lift River Ridge to a 46-45 non-conference victory over visiting Black Hawk in a Six Rivers Challenge contest at River Ridge High School. It was the second straight game that Ertz has hit a game-winning buzzer beater. His 20-footer two-pointer lifted the T’wolves to a 47-45 win over Benton a week earlier. Ertz finished Friday’s victory over Black Hawk with 15 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.
Brianna Gilbertson, so., Belmont girls basketball
Gilbertson made 6 of 10 shots from the field and 8 of 12 from the free throw line to score a new career-high 20 points – more than visiting Pecatonia scored as a team – in a 65-18 non-conference victory over the Vikings last Saturday. Gilbertson also finished the game with eight rebounds, four steals and a team-high three blocks as the Braves improved to 10-8 on the season.
Brayden Johnson, sr., Iowa-Grant boys basketball
Johnson scored a game-high 19 points and had two assists and two steals to lead the Panthers to their 16th consecutive win, a 43-39 come-from-behind victory over Cuba City last Friday night. Johnson’s steal and coast-to-coast layup while being fouled gave I-G a 41-39 lead with just under two minutes remaining in the game. Tuesday night Johnson and the Panthers defeated Richland Center 76-57 to improve to17-1 on the season.
Alston Nutter, so., and Justin Tollefson, sr., Fennimore wrestling
Nutter (27-4) and Tollefson (24-4) repeated as individual conference champions Saturday to lead Fennimore to a second consecutive team title at the SWC/SWAL Clash conference tournament. Nutter cruised to the 126-pound title with a bye, back-to-back pins and a 7-2 decision over River Valley’s Dustin Hatfield. Tollefson won his second Clash title using a bye, a pair of pins and a 22-8 major decision over Dodgeville’s John Phalen to win the 138-pound weight class. Senior teammates Riley Lull and Louis Heberlein also won titles at 113 and 182 pounds as the Eagles outscored runner-up River Valley 282-250 to claim the team crown.
Jack Schaffer, sr., Platteville/Lancaster boys swimming
The Lancaster senior won four silver medals to lead the Hillmen co-op to a fourth-place finish at the Southern Lakes Conference Championship. Schaffer won individual silver medals in the 100 butterfly (55.55) and the 100 breaststroke (1:05.39) and he was part of Platteville/Lancaster’s second-place 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.
Devon Schmitz, so., Richland Center boys basketball
The sophomore guard scored a career-high 37 points to lead Richland Center to a 79-67 victory over visiting Lancaster last Thursday night. He also passed out five assists and made five steals in the win as the Hornets improved to 4-13 on the season with the win.