NOTE: Each week, the sports editors of swews4u.com; A.J. Gates (Grant County Herald Independent), Jason Nihles (Platteville Journal), Tom "Gunner" Gunnell (Republican Journal) and Erik Olson (The Richland Observer) combine to nominate our "Prep Performers of the Week".
PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK (Dec. 28-Jan. 4)
BOYS BASKETBALL - PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Corey Vaassen, sr., F (Cuba City) – continued his magnificent senior season by scoring 68 points in three Cuba City victories over the past week. Last Wednesday Vaassen scored a game-high 19 points in Cuba City’s 80-18 win over Benton/Scales Mound in the opening game of the Cuba City Classic. The victory also gave legendary Cuba City coach Jerry Petitgoue his 800th career victory. Last Thursday Vaassen poured in a season-high 31 points in a 79-53 victory over the Milwaukee Academy of Science to lead the Cubans to the championship of their own tournament. On Tuesday Vaassen, and the undefeated Cubans (9-0), kept on rolling scoring a game-high 18 points in a 70-39 victory over visiting Platteville.
T.J. Anderson, so., G and Cashton Laufenberg, sr., G, (Iowa-Grant) – Anderson scored 16 points and passed out five assists, while Laufenberg added 14 points and three assists in a 66-45 win over River Ridge in the consolation game of the Westby Tournament last Thursday. Then the backcourt duo combined for 44 points (Anderson 23, Laufenberg 21) in a 63-55 win over Wisconsin Heights on Tuesday as the Panthers (3-5) have now won two in a row. The Panthers improved to 3-5 on the season just one year after going 2-21.
Wes Schnepper, sr., F (Lancaster) – had an impressive double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds in a 61-51 victory over previously undefeated Potosi (5-1) last Thursday. With the win the Arrows improved to 4-3 on the season, just one year after going 1-21.
Travis Steffes, sr., F (Mineral Point) – scored a game-high 16 points in Mineral Point’s 55-45 victory over Belmont last Thursday. Steffes then scored a game-high 20 points in a 60-47 victory over Highland this past Tuesday. Mineral Point (7-3) has now won four straight and six of seven after a 1-2 start. Steffes is averaging 16.8 points per game during Point’s last six games.
GIRLS BASKETBALL - PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Cassie McCarthy, jr., G (Belmont) – scored a season-high 18 points, grabbed nine big rebounds and made three steals to lead Belmont (7-1) to a 58-52 victory over Darlington last Thursday night. It was the Braves’ first victory over the Redbirds since 1995. On Tuesday McCarthy scored 13 in win over previously once-beaten Juda (8-2). McCarthy has helped lead the conference-leading Braves to a 7-1 start.
Kate Noble, sr., G (Lancaster) – went 6-of-15 (40%) on 3-pointers, scoring 20 points to go along with six rebounds, and seven assists in a 59-53 loss to Potosi, a solid individual effort even in defeat.
Kailee Kamps, sr., G (Belmont) – compiled 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals in 58-52 win over Darlington last Thursday, then scored 17 in a 54-37 win over previously once-beaten Juda (8-1) this past Tuesday. In eight games Kamps is averaging 18.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.9 assists per game.
Alyssa Larsen, sr., G (Iowa-Grant) – scorer a career-high 19 points and had four steals in a championship game loss to North Crawford at last Thursday's NC Quad County Classic. Earlier in the day she had 10 points and three steals in a 48-42 win over Benton/Shullsburg. Tuesday night Larsen scored a team-high 13 points in a loss to Dodgeville.
Julia Lawinger, jr., F (Platteville) – scored a season-high 19 points in Platteville's 55-43 win over Southwestern on Tuesday. Before that Lawinger had 11 points in Platteville 70-44 consolation victory over Parkview in the Barneveld Tournament last Wednesday.
WRESTLERS OF THE WEEK
Cole Martin, fr., 106 (Lancaster) – pinned Prairie du Chien’s Taylor Elliott (20-2), who was previously undefeated, in the quarterfinals at last week’s 30th Annual Bi-State Classic in La Crosse, and later went the distance with undefeated Ben Thornton (19-1) of La Crosse Central dropping an 8-5 decision in the 106-pound championship match at the two-day, 54-team tournament. Elliott was the state's top ranked 106 pounder in Division 2, and Thornton is the state top ranked 106 pounder in Division 1. Martin’s second-place finish helped the Arrows capture the Division 3 team title at Bi-State.
Dusty Jentz, sr., 170 (Belmont/Platteville) – After missing two weeks of action with a sprained knee Jentz returned to the mat in grand style last week winning the 170-pound championship last Friday at the 54-team, 30th Annual Bi-State Classic. Jentz went 6-0 in the two-day tournament with three pins,and three decisions, including a narrow 4-3 victory over Wausau West’s Dylan Detert (18-4) in the title bout.
GYMNAST OF THE WEEK
Kirstie Fritz, sr., (Southwestern) – perhaps the Wildcats’ most improved gymnast from a year ago, won the beam (8.15) and floor exercise (8.75) and tied for first on the vault (8.4) to lead Southwestern/Cuba City to a 128.075-95.9 season-opening victory over Prairie du Chien on Tuesday night. Fritz also finished fourth on the uneven bars (7.325) and fourth in the final all-around standings (32.25).
SWIMMER OF THE WEEK
None – no swimming last week
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
Lancaster Wrestling – Led by second-place finishes from freshman Cole Martin (106 pounds), and sophomores Kyle Mezera (120) and Ethan Soderstrom (152), the Arrows scored 181.5 team points to win the Division 3 team title last Friday at the two-day 30th Annual Bi-State Classic in La Crosse. This was the fifth time in the history of the event that Lancaster has brought home a team title. The Arrows won Division 2 team titles at Bi-State four times (1990, 1991, 2000, 2005) and finished second three times (1989, 1993, 1998).
Belmont Girls’ Basketball – beat Dralington for the first time since 1995 with a 58-52 non-conference victory last Thursday night. This past Tuesday the Braves used a 21-5 third-quarter run to defeat previously once-beaten Juda (8-2) 44-37. Coach Kaleen McGettigan’s Six Rivers West-leading Braves are now 7-1 overall and 2-0 in league games, their best start in well over a decade.
Benton Boys Basketball - The Zephyrs rallied from a 54-40 deficit with an 18-2 closing run to defeat Southwestern, 58-56, in the championship game of the Mike Alexander Benton Invitational last Wednesday to give Coach Jim Blaine his 195 career victory. He passed Hall of Famer and his own prep coach Jim Nedelcoff, who had 193 wins at the school from 1955 to 1972, with Benton's (8-1) win in the opening round of the tournament last Tuesday.