EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
Bailey Butler, Sr., G, Black Hawk girls basketball
BARNEVELD — Senior point guard Bailey Butler and the Black Hawk Warriors girls’ basketball team had a lot to celebrate at Barneveld on Friday night. Butler became the school’s all-time leading scorer with her 32-point performance, and her effort had plenty of purpose as the Division 5 #1-ranked Lady Warriors locked down outright possession of their fifth straight Six Rivers East title with a 77-49 victory over the Golden Eagles on Friday, Jan. 29.
Butler came into the game needing 25 points to pass former teammate and current Wisconsin Badger Natalie Leuzinger for the school’s all-time scoring record for girls’/boys’ basketball. After netting 12 points in the first half to lead the Warriors out to a 37-27 halftime lead on the host Eagles, the UW-Green Bay signee scored 11 quick points in the second half to extend Black Hawk’s lead to 20, then surpassed Leuzinger’s mark of 1,803 career points by sinking a pair of free throws at the 9:43 mark of the second half. Butler added seven more points down the stretch to finish the night with 1,811 career points.
“Bailey has worked very hard to become the player she is, and setting the scoring mark is a testament to her skill level. She scores at all three levels, whether at the rim, in the midrange, or behind the arc. That is what makes it difficult for opponents to slow down her production,” said Black Hawk head coach Michael Flanagan.
It is the third time in three seasons that the record has been broken. In 2019, Conner Meyer broke Jen Wellnitz’s mark of 1,580 points; and then, in 2020, Leuzinger topped Meyer’s record of 1,662 points. Meyer’s dad, Craig, held the school record at 1,413 points for 24 years before Wellnitz broke it in 2014.
“Coming into this season, we did not know if we would get enough games in for her to have a shot at Natalie’s mark, but her consistently high scoring has allowed her to get there,” admitted Flanagan.
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)
Logan Drone, Jr., G, River Ridge boys basketball
Drone made 8 of 14 field goal attempts and scored a career-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and three steals to lead the undefeated Timberwolves (16–0, 9–0 SRW) to a 65–42 victory over second-place Potosi (6–7, 5–4 SRW). Drone then had six points, seven steals, two rebounds and two assists to defeat Belmont 66–27 Tuesday night.
Kiley Kelly, Sr., G, Lancaster girls basketball
Kelly scored a game-high 17 points to top 1,000 for her career and lead the Flying Arrows (16–5, 5–4 SWC) to a 52–30 non-conference victory over Southwestern Monday night. The four-year varsity player had eight steals, grabbed seven rebounds and passed out three assists in Monday's win. She also had a game-high 21 points in a 54–36 loss to Prairie du Chien last Friday night, and scored nine points in a 50–41 SWC win at River Valley Tuesday night and now has 1,015 career points in 89 games (11.4 ppg).
Adam Larson, Sr., F, Fennimore boys basketball
Larson erupted for a career-high 41 points on 15 of 23 shooting from the field, including 9 of 16 on 3-pointers in a 72–59 SWAL win over Riverdale Tuesday night. The 41 points gave Larson an even 1,500 career points. Larson scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots in a 51–39 victory over Mineral Point Wednesday night. Larson is now just 117 behind older brother Reid Larson's all-time school record of 1,640 points. Fennimore (10–4, 7–3 SWAL), which has now won four straight after a three-game losing streak, has five regular season games remaining, including at Darlington (Friday), at Iowa–Grant (Saturday) and home against River Valley (Monday) in the next four days.
Brody Lee, Sr., 132 pounds, Fennimore wrestling
Lee (8–0) went 3–0 with a first-round bye, a 54-second second pin and a 15–4 major decision over Pec/Argyle's Noah Krahenbuhl to win the 132-pound title and scored a team-high 25 points to lead the #6-ranked Golden Eagles to a second-place finish at last Saturday's WIAA D3 Lancaster regional.
Will Murray, Fr., G, Darlington boys basketball
Murray knocked down the game-winning basket with three seconds left to lift Darlington over #1-ranked and previously unbeaten Cuba City 82–80 Monday night. Murray finished with a 16 points and six rebounds as the Redbirds (14–4, 10–1 SWAL) pulled into a first-place tie with the Cubans (14–1, 10–1) and ended Cuba City's state-best 38-game winning streak. Murray also had nine points and nine rebounds in a 69–35 win over Boscobel on Tuesday.
Brynlee Nelson, Sr., G, Fennimore girls basketball
Nelson made 8 of 12 field goal attempts and finished with 18 points, three rebounds and three assists to lead the second-place Golden Eagles (12–7, 9–3) to a 44–33 win at SWAL-champion Mineral Point (12–5, 11–1 SWAL) at Mineral Point last Friday night. Nelson then had 15 points and three steals in a 50–25 win over River Valley Tuesday night and scored a game-high 20 points in a 48–22 win over Iowa–Grant Tuesday night. Nelson and the Eagles have now won 10 straight games after a 2–7 start.
Madison Russell, Sr., G, Shullsburg boys basketball
Russell scored a game-high 19 points to lead the SRW-champion Miners to a 57–56 non-conference win at Dodgeville Monday night. Russell had eight points in a 54–23 win over River Ridge Saturday, and eight points in a 48–34 win over Belmont Friday night. Russell is averaging 8 points and a team-high 3.9 assists for Shullsburg (17–6, 9–0 SRW).
Nolan Springer, Sr., 182 pounds, Mineral Point wrestling
Springer (8–0) went 3–0 with a bye, a 57-second pin and a 15–0 tech fall over Iowa–Grant/Highland's Blake Dax in the 170-pound championship match, and scored a team-high 25.5 points to lead the #2-ranked Pointers to the team title at last Saturday's WIAA D3 Lancaster regional. Springer, a D1 Bucknell recruit, was one of six individual champions for Mineral Point.