EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Will Schwartz, Sr., G, Darlington boys basketball
Darlington’s Will Schwartz has been the motor of the Redbird basketball machine all season long. The senior guard led Darlington to a perfect 22–0 regular season, an undisputed conference championship and the program’s first trip to the WIAA state tournament since 1990, while leading the team in scoring at more than 15 points per game. Schwartz was named the Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League Player of the Year at the conclusion of the season and he is this week’s Mast Water Technology SWnews4U.com Athlete of the Week.
Last Saturday, Schwartz posted a double–double in second-ranked Darlington’s season-ending 76–55 loss to top-ranked Milwaukee Destiny in the WIAA Division 4 state championship game. Schwartz made 7 of 18 shots and finished with a team-high 18 points and a team-best 10 rebounds, including four on the offensive end, against the might Eagles (25–1). Two days earlier, Schwartz scored 14 points, on 6 of 9 shooting, made a pair of 3-pointers, and had five rebounds and two assists in Darlington’s 63–52 D4 state semifinal victory over Cameron.
“We haven't seen a team even close to that all year, and the you only have one day to prepare it’s really tough,” said Darlington head coach Tom Uppena of Destiny. “I’m proud of the kids for coming out and battling like they did. I just wish we could have brought home a different color ball.”
Schwartz was named to the wissports.net All-Tournament team following the state games and was selected to the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 4 first-team All-State team.
“They had some great shot blockers, but we had to keep taking it strong at them,” Schwartz said of the champion Eagles. “We were down big, but I knew the whole time that this group of seniors weren’t going to give up. We came back and showed we could play with them.”
Destiny jumped out a 25–11 lead midway through the first half, but the Redbirds closed the half on a 16–7 run to cut the deficit to just five points at 34–29. The Eagles pushed the lead to double figures early in the second half, but Darlington used a 14–6 run to pull within two at 55–53 with 5:37 remaining, before Destiny pulled away. Darlington finished 27–1 on the season.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):
Ryan Glendenning, Sr., G, Darlington boys basketball
Glendenning scored a team-high 20 points in Darlington’s state semifinal victory over Cameron, then two days later had 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the state championship loss to Destiny. He hit a pair of key 3-pointers, one with 5:37 left to pull the Redbirds within one possession at 55–53. Darlington finished 27–1 on the season.
Liam Kenney, Jr., Fennimore track and field
The Fennimore junior won both the high jump (6’1”) and triple jump (41’7.5”) at Tuesday’s Pioneer Indoor Invitational at UW–Platteville.
Hunter Matye, Sr., G, Shullsburg boys basketball
Matye scored a team-high 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds and passed out seven assists to lead the Miners (26–2) to a 63–48 victory over second-ranked Chippewa Falls McDonell Central in last Friday’s WIAA Division 5 state semifinal. A day later, Matye had seven points, five boards and four assists. Matye was named the Six Rivers West Player of the Year for a second straight season, and earned a spot on the WBCA Division 5 All-State team at the conclusion of the season.
Paige Murphy, Sr., Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg track and field
Murphy won the 55-meter-dash (7.82), ran the lead off league on the winning 4x100 relay and finished second in long jump (15’2”) at Tuesday’s Pioneer Indoor Invitational at UW–Platteville.
Grady Rielly, Jr., Darlington track and field
The Darlington junior won the 55-meter hurdles in 8.46 seconds and was on Darlington’s winning 4x100 and 4x400 relay at Tuesday’s season-opening Pioneer Indoor Invitational at UW–Platteville.
Brelynn Updike, Sr., Platteville track and field
Updike won the girls’ 800 meters (2:39.89) by more than three seconds and helped the Platteville 4x400 relay finish first at Tuesday night’s season-opening meet, the Pioneer Indoor Invitational at UW–Platteville.