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SUPPZ.COM ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Belmont's Waylon Palzkill
Belmont senior scores career-high 36 to join 1,000-point club, lead Braves to SRW Challenge win over Albany
Waylon Palzkill 1000th point
Senior Waylon Palzkill became the newest member of the 1,000-point club at Belmont after going off for a career-high 36 points to lead the Braves to a 66–54 victory over the Albany Comets.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.

by Tom Gunnell, Republican Journal/Tri-County Press

Waylon Palzkill, Sr., G, Belmont boys basketball

BELMONT – Senior Waylon Palzkill became the newest member of the 1,000-point club at Belmont after going off for a career-high 36 points to lead the Braves to a 66-54 victory over the Albany Comets.

The Braves improved to 2-0 against the Comets and 4-2 overall against the Six Rivers East this season. The win also moved Belmont’s record in the Challenge to 7-10 all-time.

“I’m pretty proud of that young man. He’s battled through a lot to get there. He’s had some nagging injuries that he’s been playing through, so for him to come out and play like that tonight says a lot about him,” said Belmont head coach Mitch Austin.

Waylon Palzkill (13 points) and senior cousin Ty Palzkill (nine) teamed up to lead the Braves out to a 29-25 halftime lead.

The teams swapped the lead five times early on until a 14-2 scoring burst put Belmont ahead by double-digits.

Waylon Palzkill, who was 24 points away from the 1,000-point career plateau heading into the night, reached his milestone midway through the second half on a breakaway layup that put the Braves ahead 48-37. He went on to 12 more points down the stretch to help hold off any chance of a Comets’ comeback.

“Every moment leading up to that basket was just awesome,” said Palzkill. “Things weren’t going too well early in the first half, but I settled down and let the game come to me. I was happy to do it at home, and I loved doing it as part of a win with all my team members.”

Ty Palzkill, who finished with 19 points, scored the go-ahead basket off a steal and added two of his three 3-pointers during the Braves’ key 21-7 run in the second half.  

The Six Rivers West schools earning bragging right over their counterparts from the East after going 6-1 on the court to take honors at the 17th annual Six Rivers Conference Boys’ Basketball Crossover Challenge held on Friday, Feb. 4. The West defended their home courts for the most part, winning six of the seven head-to-head match-ups to extend their all-time series lead over the East at 9-7-1. The West also improved its all-time overall record to 66-54 over the East during history of the event.

The Challenge games were also a part of the annual Six Rivers Conference Suicide Prevention Game Night fund raising project. Money contributed at each game through t-shirt and concession sales will be donated to local organizations to help deal with mental health awareness and suicide prevention ventures.

HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)
Eli Adams, So., G, Cassville boys basketball
Adams scored a game-high 32 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and two steals in Cassville’s 87–62 win over Black Hawk in last Friday night’s Six Rivers Conference Challenge game. Adams was 13-of-18 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Also in that win, Adams had 32 points, Robby Roe 25 and Raz Okey 17, as the three combined to score 74 of their team’s 87 points. The Comets' win helped the West dominate the Challenge, 7–1. 

Kyleigh Dresen, Sr., G, Fennimore girls basketball
Kyleigh Drensen made four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 16 points Monday night to lead the Golden Eagles to a 51–28 non-conference victory at Benton (6–15). Fennimore improved to 10–10 on the season with its third straight win and have now won six of its last eight after a 4–8 start to the season. Dresen made three 3-pointers and went 4-for-4 at the free throw line to finish with 13 points and eight rebounds in a 53–37 SWAL win over Southwestern last Friday night. Dresen also finished with four 3-pointers and 14 points in a 67–31 blowout win at River Valley last Tuesday ngiht. The sharp-shooting senior has made 11 of 22 3-point attempts in her last three games.

Maddox Goebel, Fr., 152 pounds, Darlington/Black Hawk wrestling
Darlington/Black Hawk freshman Maddox Goebel moved to 31-4 with a first-place performance in the 152-pound class at the SWC/SWAL Clash last Saturday. Goebel [honorable mention at 152] won major decisions over CC/B/SW’s Fox Austin, 11-2, and Lancaster’s Colby Lull, 8-0, to make the finals in the 152 class. Then, the WarBirds’ frosh earned the title by posting a hard-fought 3-2 decision over Prairie du Chien’s Maddox Cejka, who was a 2021 Dvision 2 state medalist and is currently ranked #8 in D2.

Evan Gratz, So., 285 pounds Fennimore wrestling
Sophomore Evan Gratz (25–5) won the 285-pound title, while classmate Ian Crapp (15–5) finished second at 113 pounds and junior Brett Birchman (36–5) placed second at 126 to lead the Golden Eagles to the team title at Saturday's SWC/SWAL Clash. Gratz (#8 in D3) advanced to the finals with back-to-back byes, then pinned Dodgeville’s Brighton Judd in just 11 seconds in the semifinals. He then pinned Belmont/Platteville junior Porter Mandurano (27–9) 44 seconds into the championship match.

Mallory Lindsey, Sr., G, Mineral Point girls basketball
Lindsey has always been an deadly 3-pointer shooter, but the Mineral Point senior has upped her game in the past week, making 20 of 34 3-point attempts while averaging 25.7 points and 4 steals per game to lead the undefeated D4 #-ranked Pointers (21–0, 12–0 SWAL) to three more wins. The UW–Oshkosh recruit made 7 of 14 3-point attempts and finished with a game-high 27 points and five steals in a 91–55 win over Boscobel last Thursday night. She then buried 7 of 11 from downtown and scored a season-high 30 points in a 82–31 win at Southwestern Friday night. Monday night, Lindsay scored 20 points on an ultra-efficient 7 of 10 shooting (6 of 9 on 3-pointers) in a 87–35 win at Riverdale. Lindsay is averaging 16.2 points, 3.4 assists, 2.6 steals per game, while shooting 44 percent on 3-pointers (86 of 196) and 83.7 percent from the free throw line (36 of 43).

Bryce Wunderlin, Sr., Platteville/Lancaster boys swimming
SSenior Byce Wunderlin fourth in the 100 butterfly (59.38) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.50), as well as swimming a leg on P/L’s fourth-place 200 freestyle relay and sixth-place 200 medley relay to lead the Hillmen to a sixth place at last Saturday's Southern Lakes Conference Championships. Wunderlin was nominated by the coaches to be the SLC Swimmer of the Year. He finished second in the voting behind Badger’s Benton Greenberg who won four individual races at Saturday’s meet.