GAME OF THE WEEK (Feb. 2–9)
BOYS BASKETBALL: Prairie du Chien (11–2, 6–0 SWC, #8 in Division 3) at Platteville (12–4, 6–0 SWC), Friday, Feb. 3, 8:15 p.m.
The McDonald’s SWnews4U.com Game of the Week is a battle for first place in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference. Defending SWC champion Prairie du Chien, ranked eighth in Division 3, and Platteville have been on a collision course since their first meeting was postponed due to poor weather on Dec. 16. Now the teams will meet twice in 11 days to decide this year’s conference champion, starting with Friday’s meeting at PHS. The teams will meet again at Prairie du Chien on Tuesday, Feb. 14.
Coach Mike Huser’s Hillmen have won three straight and five of their last six games. Tuesday night, Platteville hammered visiting Cuba City 70–44, behind a game-high 18 points from senior Dillon Shinee. The Hillmen improved to 6–0 the SWC with a 69–55 victory over River Valley. Shine scored a game-high 21 points on just nine shot attempts and grabbed a team-high eight boards. A day later, Platteville pounded Iowa–Grant 62–41. Junior guard Donovan Blevins finished with 17 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Despite the graduation loss of leading scorer Connor George, the Blackhawks have cruised along this year with the same balanced offensive attack that took them to the WIAA Division 3 state tournament a year ago. Coach Andy Banasik’s PdC club has won seven straight games in 2017 since a seven-point loss to Appleton Xavier at the La Crosse Aquinas Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29. The Blackhawks handled Lancaster 58–44 last Friday to remain unbeaten in the SWC, then beat survived a scare from Barneveld, formerly the second-ranked team in Division 5, on Saturday. Josh Lenzendorf scored a game-high 17 points and coach’s son Nate Banasik added 12 points as Prairie defeated Deborah (Iowa) 65–49 on Tuesday night.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Other area games of note this week
Mineral Point (16–0, 9–0 SWAL) at Darlington (11–4, 7–1 SWAL), Friday, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m.
The young Pointers will take one more crack at the SWAL-leading Redbirds Friday night with first-place in the Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League on the line. Undefeated Darlington defeated Mineral Point 78–58 behind 20 points and seven rebounds from Josh Soper. The Pointers have won five straight games, led by the strong play of freshman Isaac Lindsey (18.9 ppg) and junior Chance Wendhausen (18.5 ppg).
Six Rivers Conference Crossover Challenge, Friday, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Below is the schedule for the 13th annual Six Rivers Conference Boys Basketball Crossover Challenge. The West leads the all-time series with a 7–4–1 mark, although the East is the defending champion after winning it last season with a 4–3 record. The West also holds a 49-36 overall record in games against the East during the Challenge. All games will be played on Friday, February 3, 2017 East/West cross-over games at the East schools. All start with JV at 6 p.m. and varsity at 7:30 p.m. unless notified by host school.
Shullsburg (15–0, 8–0 SRW, #1 in D5) @ Barneveld (12–2, 7–0 SRE, #7 in D5)
Highland (12–4, 7–1) @ Pecatonica (12–4, 6–1)
Potosi (11–5, 6–3) @ Black Hawk (12–3, 6–2)
River Ridge (6–9, 3–5) @ Juda (10–5, 5–3)
Cassville (2–12, 2–5) @ Albany (6–10, 2–6)
Benton (8–9, 3–6) @ Monticello (3–14, 1–8)
Belmont (0–17, 0–9) @ Argyle (2–13, 0–7)
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Top area games of note
Mount Horeb (14–4) at Platteville (12–4), Monday, Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m.
Southwest Wisconsin Conference-leading Platteville will host Mount Horeb in an interesting non-conference game Monday night. Junior Skye Digman (16 ppg, 8.9 rpg) and freshman Sami Martin (15.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg) lead the Hillmen, while Nikki Arneson averages 12.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for the Vikings.
River Ridge (11–4, 5–3 SRW) at Benton (10–5, 6–2 SRW), Thursday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m.
The Timberwolves are looking to get back on track after consecutive losses to Belmont and Lancaster in the past week. Benton improved to 10–5 overall with a 76–47 non-conference victory over Wauzeka–Steuben on Monday. Junior Emma Lawrence, who recently joined the 1,000-point club, is leading the conference in scoring at 21.1 points per game.
Shullsburg (13–3, 8–0 SRW, #6 in D5) at Potosi (9–8, 4–4 SRW), Thursday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m.
The Six Rivers West-leading Miners can take another step toward a second-straight conference title with a win at Potosi on Thursday night. Potosi is looking to improve its playoff seeding with a win over the conference leaders. Junior guard Abby Kaiser (20.5 ppg) tied the Potosi single-game school record with 39 points in a non-conference win over Albany last Tuesday night.
PREP WRESTLING: SWC/SWAL Clash, at Richland Center, Saturday, Feb. 4, 10 a.m., WGLR (97.7 FM)
Richland Center will host this year’s SWC/SWAL Clash Conference tournament on Saturday. Two-time defending Clash champion and 2017 SWAL duals champion Fennimore (20–2, 6–0), ranked second in Division 3, is the early favorite to repeat as team champion. Mineral Point (5–1 SWAL) and SWC duals co-champion River Valley (4–1 S WC) should will be the top contenders for the team title.
Six defending champions will be gunning for another Clash title on Saturday. River Valley junior Zach Licht (27–3, 138) and Fennimore senior Justin Tollefsen (18–5, 152) will both be seeking a third conference title. Iowa–Grant/Highland junior Max Maylor (33–1, 152), River Valley senior Gavin Wipperfruth (20–2,160), Iowa–Grant/Highland's Brady Peat (32–5, 170) and Cuba City/Benton/Southwestern's Aaron McCarthy (25–1, 285) were all champions a year ago. River Valley senior Dustin Hatfield (23–0, 126) will also be seeking to return to the top of the podium after winning an individual title in 2015 and placing second a year ago.
Other runners-up from last year, who figure to be challengers for titles this year are Belmont/Platteville junior Isaac Wiegel (32–3, 113), Iowa–Grant/Highland senior Sawyer Sarbacker (33–1, 120), River Valley's Elijah Alt (28–1, 170) and Shane Liegel (27–3, 160), Lancaster's Tyler Hale (14–12, 285) and Riverdale's Caleb Johnson (26–7, 195).