GAME OF THE WEEK (Dec. 22–28)
BOYS BASKETBALL: Darlington (5–0, ranked #2 in D4) at Platteville (5–0), Thursday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.
As area team’s prepare to head into the holiday break, a number of area basketball teams will hit the hardwood tonight for one final game before Christmas. The biggest area game on the docket and this week’s McDonald’s SWnews4U.com Game of the week is tonight’s non-conference affair between undefeated Darlington and undefeated Platteville.
Coach Mike Huser’s undefeated Hillmen will face their stiffest test of the season Thursday night when coach Tom Uppena’s undefeated Redbirds come to town for non-conference game. The Hillmen are 2–0 in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference with wins over Lancaster and River Valley, and have non-conference victories over Argyle, Juda and most recently Bellevue Marquette, 66–34, on Monday, Dec. 12. Platteville is outscoring its opponents 70–42.6 in five games this year, but Darlington will present a much different challenge.
The Redbirds hammered Southwestern 74–42 Monday night to improved to 5–0 overall and 4–0 in the Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League. Darlington’s closest game this season was a 20-point win at Mineral Point on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 78–58. Senior guard Will Schwartz is averaging 19.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Fellow senior Trevor Johnson, who scored 17 in Monday’s win over the Wildcats, is averaging 13.2 points per game.
Junior guard Donovan Blevins leads the Hillmen in scoring at 17.6 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per contest. Senior point guard Braden Nies (14.6 ppg, 4.2 apg) and senior forward Dillon Shinee (10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 4.2 apg) also play key roles for Platteville.
The Hillmen will play another marquee non-conference game next Tuesday against Black Hawk (4–1) in the first round of the Mineral Point holiday tournament.
OTHER AREA GAMES OF NOTE
BOYS BASKETBALL: Potosi (4–2) at Cuba City (2–2), Thursday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Sophomore Ethan Groom has burst onto the scene with back-to-back double–double for the Chieftains. Groom had 25 points and 13 rebounds in Tuesday’s 72–44 win after posting 16 points and 10 rebounds in Potosi’s 61–53 win at Cassville last Thursday. Senior Alex Udelhofen is averaging 11.8 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds for Potosi. Cuba City is off to an uncharacteristic 2–2 start after blowing a 34–27 halftime lead in a 62–56 loss at Iowa–Grant the last time out on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Benton Mike Alexander Holiday Classic, Thursday, Dec. 22–Friday, Dec. 23.
Undefeated Shullsburg (4–0), ranked second in Division 5, is the heavy favorite to repeat as Mike Alexander Holiday Classic champion. The Miners will meet Scales Mound (Ill.) in a semifinal Thursday at 6 p.m. followed by Benton (2–4) against Southwestern (2–3) in the other semifinal. The consolation will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, followed by the championship game.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Shullsburg (4–1, #3 in Div. 5) at La Crosse Logan (2–5), Tuesday, Dec. 27, 6 p.m.
The third-ranked Miners will step out of conference play to face Division 1 La Crosse Logan Tuesday night. Senior guard Hattie Rennert lead Shullsburg in scoring at 19.2 points per game, while junior center Brianna Leahy averaged 18.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 7.0 blocks per game.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Black Hawk (5–0, #8 in Div. 5) at Darlington (6–3), Friday, Dec. 23, 7:30 p.m.
The eighth-ranked Warriors ended Barneveld’s 52-game Six Rivers East winning streak with a 50–42 win at South Wayne on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Freshman Hannah Butler scored a game-high 22 points and fellow freshman Natalie Leuzinger added 18 points for the winners. The Redbirds slipped to 6–3 overall and 2–2 in the SWAL with a 48–39 loss at Mineral Point at Tuesday.