EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Natalie Leuzinger, Jr., G, Black Hawk girls basketball
Junior forward Natalie Leuzinger shot her way into Black Hawk’s 1,000-Point Club while helping the top-ranked Lady Warriors dismantle Barneveld 75–11 Six Rivers East girls’ basketball action on Thursday, Dec. 20.
Leuzinger became the fifth player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark of her career just six minutes into the game when she buried a 3-pointer from the corner for her 10th point of the night. She netted 16 of her game-high 23 points in the first half to shoot the top-ranked Warriors (8–0 overall, 5–0 SRE) out to a 51–6 halftime lead.
“It’s just amazing. Coming into high school, I had a goal to reach 1,000 points after seeing other players do it. To do it as a junior and to think I’m just the fifth player to accomplish it in Black Hawk history is just crazy. I was not expecting that at all,” said Leuzinger.
Black Hawk head coach Michael Flanagan noted Leuzinger is the second Lady Warrior to reach the milestone as a junior– joining current UW-Green Bay standout Jen Wellnitz, who also owns the all-time school record with 1,580 career points. He added that to do it only eight games into her junior season says a lot about the work she has put in to become the player she has become.
“The really neat thing is that she has earned every one of those points without question. She practices and prepares so hard. The amount of time she puts into basketball when nobody’s watching is something few people understand,” stated Flanagan. “When we say she works hard, I think people get an image in their heads, and it’s probably about half of what she’s exactly done to get where she is. She’s got a lot of basketball left to play. We’re really proud of her.”
Leuzinger capped her special night with four free throws to finish with 23 points, and she added five rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Jacob Berendes, Sr., G, Shullsburg boys basketball
Berendes poured in a career-high 29 points to lead the first-place Miners (5–2, 4–0 SRW) to a 66–41 victory at River Ridge. Berendes sank three 3-pointers and tallied 14 of his points in the first half to lead Shullsburg to a 27–12 halftime advantage.
Brady Curtis, Sr., G, Potosi boys basketball
Curtis finished with 15 points, five steals and four assists to lead Potosi to a 79–37 victory over visiting Belmont last Friday night. A day earlier he scored a team-high 17 points and had four steals in a lopsided 78–50 non-conference victory over visiting Iowa–Grant.
Cole Crubel, Jr., G, River Ridge boys basketball
Crubel joined the 1,000-point club with a team-high 18 points in River Ridge’s 66–41 Six Rivers West loss to Shullsburg last Friday night. Crubel, became just the second player in program history to surpass the 1,000-point mark on a pair of free throws in the second half. Crubel, who is averaging 21.8 points per game through six games this year is currently second in school history with 1,006 points, behind Weston Nimitz (1,140), and is currently on pass to surpass Nimitz later this year.
Maguire Fitzgerald, Sr., 170 pounds, Fennimore wrestling
Fitzgerald used back-to-back byes, a 14–7 semifinal victory and a pair of pins to win the 170-pound title at the Badger State Invitational last Saturday at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Fitzgerald (17–2) was one of 11 Golden Eagles to finish in the top five, helping Fennimore (218) finished second behind host Stoughton (262) at the 25-team event.
Stryker Fitzsimons, Sr., G/F, Darlington boys basketball
Fitzsimons scored all of his game-high 23 points in the second half to lead Darlington to a 70–64 non-conference victory over top-ranked New Glarus last Thursday night. Fitzsimons also scored 13 points and helped limit Fennimore leading-scorer Reid Larson to a season-low seven points in the Redbirds 61–50 SWAL victory over the host Golden Eagles last Tuesday night.
Kathleen Mathais, Sr., G, Darlington girls basketball
Mathias scored a game-high 22 points to guide the first-place Redbirds (8–1, 5–0 SWAL) to a 63–49 victory at Boscobel last Thursday night. It was Darlington’s six straight victory.
Logan O’Brien, Sr., OL, Fennimore football
O’Brien signed a National Letter of Intent last Tuesday to become a preferred walk-on for the Wisconsin Badgers next fall. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound offensive tackle was named the SWAL Offensive Lineman of the Year and first-team All-SWAL for a second straight year after helping the Golden Eagles to a 10–2 mark, a second-place finish in conference and berth in the third round of the WIAA Division 6 playoffs.