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SUPPZ.COM SWNEWS4U CO-ATHLETES OF THE WEEK: Iowa–Grant's Cyle Steffl and Boscobel's Erin Knowles
Locals shine in WBCA All-Star Games
Cyle Steffl WBCA
Iowa–Grant’s Cyle Steffl scored 14 points in the White team’s 123–108 win in Thursday’s WBCA Division 4 Boys All-Star Game. - photo by Casey Lindecrantz
Erin Knowles WBCA
Boscobel's Erin Knowles slashes past a pair of defenders on her way to two of her co-game-high 13 points in last Wednesday's Girls WBCA Division 4 All-Star Game. - photo by Natalie Dillon

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

By Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal, Fennimore Times, Boscobel Dial

Cyle Steffl, Sr., Guard, Iowa–Grant boys basketball
WISCONSIN DELLS — Eight area basketball standouts finished their prep basketball careers at the annual Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Boys’ All-Star Games last Thursday at JustAGame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells. In the boys Division 4 All-Star Game, Iowa–Grant shooting guard Cyle Steffl scored 14 points to help the White team post a 123–108 victory. Steffl scored nine points in White’s 42-point second quarter to turn a 12-point first-quarter deficit into a 66–60 halftime advantage. Steffl was one of eight White All-Stars to score in double-figures in the win and all 12 scored at least four points.

Steffl earned first-team All-SWAL honors for a second-straight year this winter and was named WBCA Division 4 honorable mention All-State after averaging a SWAL-best 21 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game, while shooting 42.1 percent from the field (182 of 432), 74.3 percent from the free throw line (136 of 183) and 32.7 percent on 3-pointers (64 of 196). He led the Panthers to a 9–17 overall record and 4–10 sixth-place finish in the SWAL under first-year head coach Shawn Dailey. 

Erin Knowles, Sr., Forward, Boscobel girls basketball
WISCONSIN DELLS — Boscobel’s Erin Knowles scored a co-team-high 13 points in Wednesday’s Division 4 Girls All-Star Game for the South stars in a 80–68 loss. The North used a dominating 31–9 first quarter to grab control of the game and never relinquished the lead. Knowles made a basket in every quarter, including a 3-pointer in the second period, and finished 4 of 6 at the free throw line for her 13 points.

Three players hit double figures for the South. New Glarus’ Lindsey Schadewalt scored nine of her 13 points in the second quarter as the South won the quarter 26–16 to trim the North’s lead to 47–35 at the half.

Knowles was named Division 4 honorable mention All-State by the WBCA and first-team All-SWAL for the third-straight year this winter after averaging conference-highs in scoring (25.3 ppg), rebounding (13.7 rpg). She also averaged 3.5 assists, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 steals per game, while shooting 41.7 percent (219 of 525) from the field, 74.9 percent from the free throw line (137 of 183) and 19.3 percent on 3-pointers (32 of 166).

Knowles averaged 26.1 points, 14.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.9 blocks and 2.6 steals during 14 conference games while leading the Bulldogs (7–17 overall) to a 3–11 finish in the SWAL. Knowles, who will play NCAA Division III basketball at Cornell College next year, finished her career as Boscobel’s all-time leading scorer with 1,783 points in 94 career games (19.0 ppg).

She also set single-season (607 points) and single-game (40 points at Iowa–Grant Feb. 2) for the Bulldogs this year. Knowles, who also received WBCA All-State honorable mention as a junior, scored 20 or more points in 19 games this year and more than 30 on seven occasions.

HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)
Josiah Ruiz, So., Pitcher, Belmont baseball
The Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association recently announced its 2024 postseason honors and six local players earned All-District honors. Belmont’s Josiah Ruiz earned the highest recognition, garnering honorable mention All-State honors. The Belmont sophomore was one of 50 athletes who received All-State honorable mention, including one of 13 pitchers.

Ruiz went 10–1 on the mound with one save, a 0.80 ERA, 107 strikeouts and 20 walks in 70 innings pitched as the Braves’ ace. He also hit .227 (15-for-66) with three doubles, six RBI, 19 runs and 17 stolen bases while helping D4 #11-ranked Belmont finish 17–4 overall, win the Six Rivers West title with a perfect 12–0 mark in SWC games.

Fourteen players earned first-team All-State honors, 16 were named second team, while 14 athletes were named third-team All-State, including Pecatonica senior pitcher/infielder Jameson Johnson (.457 batting average, 4–1 pitching, 1.81 ERA), who was named the WBCA Division 4 Player of the Year. Ruiz was also one of just four pitchers, who received South West first-team All-District honors, and the only sophomore named to the All-District first team.

The WBCA South West District, which includes the following conferences: Coulee, Dairyland, Mississippi Valley, Ridge and Valley, Scenic Bluffs, South Central, Six Rivers, Southwest Wisconsin and the SWAL. 

Five other local athletes joined Ruiz on the South West All-District team. Platteville’s seniors Riley Donahoe (3B) and Davyn Edge (OF) were named to the 12-player All-District second team. Belmont’s Tanner Simmons (OF/P), Potosi/Cassville senior Eli Adams (SS) and Iowa–Grant senior Brach Holman (P/C/IF) were among 39 players who received SW All-District honorable mention.