GAME OF THE WEEK (Dec. 15–21)
Black Hawk (5–0, #10 in Division 5) at Platteville (6–1), Monday, Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Coach Brandon Temperly’s Hillmen ended defending WIAA Division 4 state champion Mineral Point’s 30-game winning streak Monday night with a 66–65 overtime victory. Freshman center Sami Martin had 24 points and 14 rebounds, while junior forward Skye Digman added 20 points, including four of Platteville’s five in OT, in the win over the fifth-ranked Pointers. Platteville also has a wins over Shullsburg (3–1, ranked 6th in D5), 2015 Six Rivers West runner-up Benton (3–2) and Darlington (5–2) and played Dubuque Hempstead to a four-point 64–60 loss in the season opener on Nov. 18.
The Hillmen will look to improve to 3–0 in the SWC Friday night at Prairie du Chien (1–5) before hosting the undefeated Warriors in a non-conference game Monday night, this week’s Mast Water Technology SWnews4U.com Game of the Week. Digman leads the Hillmen in 16 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Martin averaged 15.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest, while freshman point guard added. 6.3 points, 3.3 assists and 2 steals per game.
Coach Mike Flanagan’s Black Hawk squad is also led by a pair of talented freshmen. Freshman Hannah Butler (this week’s McDonald’s Athlete of the Week) tallied a game-high 22 points along with five rebounds, four assists and five steals to lead the #10-ranked Warriors over the #9-ranked Barneveld Golden Eagles 50–42 on Tuesday. The victory ended Black Hawk's 11-game losing streak to the Golden Eagles dating back to the 2011-2012 season. Butler leads the Warriors in scoring at 18.6 points per game. Freshman Natalie Leuzinger is averaging a 18.2 points per contest.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Other area games of note
Lancaster (5–2, 1–1 SWC) at Dodgeville (2–5, 1–1 SWC), Friday, Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m.
Lancaster will travel to Dodgeville to face the SWC’s leading scorer, junior guard Hannah Jones. Jones is averaging 26 points per game for the 2–5 Dodgers. She scored a team-high 17 points in Dodgeville’s 61–42 win over Iowa–Grant on Tuesday night. Sophomore Devin Wagner leads the Arrows in scoring at 10.4 points per game.
Belmont (5–3, 1–1 SRW) at River Ridge (4–1, 1–1 SRW), Friday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Braves knocked off 10th-ranked Benton (3–2, 2–1 SRW) in overtime last Thursday night. Senior Caitlyn Gilbertson scored game-high 26 points before fouling out to lead the Braves. Junior Kassandra Palzkill scored 10 of her 15 points after Gilbertson fouled out. Belmont will travel to Patch Grove to face River Ridge in another key Six Rivers West game Friday night. Nicole Sturmer scored a team-high 10 points to lead a balanced attack as the Timberwolves hammered Cassville 51–26 last Thursday night.
Mineral Point (5–1, 2–0, ranked #5 in D4) at Iowa–Grant (4–1, 2–0 SWAL), Saturday, Dec. 17, 3 p.m.
Are the Panthers for real? Iowa–Grant suffered its first loss of the season Tuesday against Dodgeville after a 4–0 start, but will have a chance at redemption when the fifth-ranked Pointers come to town on Saturday. Point’s 30-game winning streak was snapped by Platteville on Monday night with a 66–65 overtime loss. Both teams are 2–0 in the conference and currently tied for first-place with Cuba City. The Panthers are led by sisters senior Emma Liddicoat, a four-year starter at point guard, and freshman sensation Olivia Liddicoat. Olivia averaged a team-high 21.8 points per game, while Emma averages 17.6 points and five assists per game. Mineral Point graduated a pair of college-bound players from last year’s WIAA Division 4 state championship team, but senior point guard Sydney Staver is still running the show, leading the Pointers in scoring at 17.7 points per game.
Potosi (3–3, 1–0 SRW) at Shullsburg (3–1, 1–0 SRW, ranked #4 in D5), Monday, Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.
The Miners will be out for revenge Monday night. A year ago, Coach Brad Bierman’s Chieftains ended Shullsburg’s conference championship season in the WIAA Division 5 regional finals. Junior center Brianna Leahy (20 ppg, 12.8 rpg) and senior guard Hattie Rennet (18 ppg) have returned to lead Shullsburg to a 3–1 start. Junior guard Abby Kaiser averages 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals per game for the 3–3 Chieftains.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Top area games of the week
Platteville (5–0, 3–0 SWC) at Prairie du Chien (3–0, 2–0 SWC, ranked #10 in D3), Friday, Dec. 16, 8:15 p.m.
Platteville is off to the best start in the Mike Huser era. The Hillmen ran their unbeaten record to 5–0 with a 72–47 win at River Valley last Friday and a 66–34 non-conference win at Bellevue (Iowa) Marquette Monday night. But, Friday’s game at defending SWC champion Prairie du Chien will be Platteville’s biggest test of the season. The Blackhawks, who reached the WIAA Division 3 state tournament a year ago, blasted Lancaster 60–34 on Friday to improve to 3–0 on the season. Senior Nathan Banasik scored a team-high 10 points to lead Prairie du Chien. Senior Wesley Schwager leads the Blackhawks in scoring at 12.7 points per game. Junior Donovan Blevins is averaging 17.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game to led the Hillmen. Senior point guard Braden Nies averaged 14.6 points and 4.2 assists per game for Platteville.
Fennimore (5–2, 2–1 SWAL) at Cuba City (2–2, 1–2 SWAL), Friday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Eagles will look to keep momentum going when they travel to struggling Cuba City on Friday. Fennimore improved to 5–2 overall and 2–1 in the SWAL with a 56–29 win over Riverdale on Tuesday. Sophomore Reid Larson (18.0 ppg) and junior Liam Kenney (17.6 ppg) lead the high-scoring Eagles in scoring. Cuba City opened the season with a two-point win over Pecatonica on Nov. 28 to give head coach Jerry Petitgoue his 900th career victory, but since then the Cubans have lost two of their last three. Iowa–Grant handed Cuba City a 62–56 loss on Tuesday night.
Prairie du Chien at Belmont/Platteville (at Platteville), Thursday, 7 p.m.
Dodgeville at Lancaster, Friday, 7 p.m.
River Valley at Richland Center, Friday, 7 p.m.
Darlington/Black Hawk at Fennimore, Friday, 7 p.m.
Riverdale at Mineral Point, Friday, 7 p.m.
Cuba City/Southwestern/Benton at Iowa–Grant/Highland, Friday, 7 p.m.
Richland Center Invitational, Saturday, Dec. 17, 9 a.m.
Richland Center will host an 18-team tournament Saturday. Participating teams include: Baraboo, Belmont/Platteville, Boscobel, Cashton, Cochrane–Fountain City, Hillsboro, Ithaca, Marshfield, Marston, Monroe, Reedsburg, River Ridge/Cassville, Riverdale, St. John’s Academy, Sugar River, Tomah and Wisconsin Dells.
Stoughton Badger State Invitational, (at Alliant Energy Center, Madison), Saturday, Dec. 17, 9 a.m.
Iowa–Grant/Highland, Mineral Point, Darlington/Black Hawk and River Valley will all take part in Saturday’s 22-team Badger State Invitational at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center.