GAME OF THE WEEK (Jan. 5–11)
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Platteville (7–3, 2–0 SWC) at Richland Center (8–0, 3–0 SWC, #8 in D3), Friday, Jan. 6, 6:30 p.m.
This week’s McDonald’s SWnews4U.com Game of the Week is a battle for first-place in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference. The undefeated Richland Center Hornets, ranked eighth in Division 3, welcome SWC co-league-leading Platteville Friday night in a girls–boys doubleheader at Richland Center High School.
Junior guard Madison Rizner scored a game-high 22 points in the Hornets’ 63–58 victory over Barneveld last Wednesday at Richland Center’s Candy Cane Holiday Classic. Senior guard Brooklyn Liegel scored 14 points and is now just 10 points from 1,000 for her career. Rizner scored a game-high 24 points a day earlier in a 70–55 win over Mineral Point.
Coach Steve Board’s Hornets are off to their best start since the 2010–11 season when Richland Center ran off 13 consecutive to start the season.
Coach Brandon Temperly’s Hillmen defeated Richland Center on the final night of the regular season a year ago to win the outright SWC crown. Temperly’s team has undergone a major transformation after the graduation of six key seniors, but the return of junior Skye Digman (15.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg) and the addition of four talented freshmen — who are among the team’s top six scorers — have allowed the Hillmen to skip over any would-be rebuilding phase. Freshman center Sami Martin is averaging 14.4 points and a team-high 8.9 rebounds per game, while freshman point guard Josie Nies runs the offense and added 7.3 points and 3.2 assists per game. Fellow rookie Izzy Carroll has made a team-high 11 three-pointers and averages 6.1 points per contest.
The winner of Friday’s game will have a leg up in the race for this year’s conference title, but the race will be far from over.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Other area games of note
Mineral Point (6–3, 3–0 SWAL, #8 in D4) at Riverdale (7–1, 2–1 SWAL, #8 in D5), Friday, Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m.
In a battle of ranked teams, the defending SWAL and Division 4 state champion Pointers will look to keep pace will fellow league leader Cuba City (7–1, 4–0 SWAL), but it won’t be easy against Scott Mau’s talented Riverdale team. Senior point guard Sydney Staver paces the Pointers at 17.9 points per game. The Chieftains are currently ranked eighth in Division 5 according to wissports.net after a 52–34 victory over Hillsboro.
Benton (4–3, 2–1 SRW) at Shullsburg (6–2, 2–0 SRW, #4 in D5), Tuesday, Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m.
The Zephyrs and Six Rivers West leading scorer and Player of the Year candidate Emma Lawrence (23 ppg, 11.3 rpg) will get their first crack at defending conference champion Shullsburg. The Miners, ranked fourth in Division 5, are led by the dynamic duo of senior guard Hattie Rennet (17.4 ppg, 2.8 spg, 26-55 3P) and junior center Briana Leahy (18.4 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 6.6 bpg).
BOYS BASKETBALL: Top area games of the week
Highland (7–2, 3–0 SRW) at Potosi (6–2, 3–1 SRW), Friday, Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m.
First-year Highland head coach Paul Wedig has the Cardinals in Six Rivers West title contention early on. Wedig and first-team all-conference guard JR Lincschied (15.8 ppg) travel to Potosi Friday night for a key conference showdown. Highland needs a win to keep pace with first-place Shullsburg (7–0, 3–0). Mike Uppena’s Chieftains need a win to remain within striking distance of the Miners.
Fennimore (5–3, 2–1 SWC) at Iowa–Grant (4–3, 2–1 SWAL), Friday, Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m.
The young Golden Eagles will travel to Livingston to face the Caleb Hill-led Panthers. Hill is averaging 19.1 points, 8 rebounds and 3.3 assists for I–G. Fennimore is led by sophomore Reid Larson (17 ppg) and junior Liam Kenney (15.6 ppg). The winner of Friday’s game will remain a game back of SWAL-leading Darlington (8–0, 4–0).
Platteville (6–2, 2–0 SWC) at Richland Center (4–5, 1–2 SWC), Friday, Jan. 6, 8:15 p.m.
The co-league leading Hillmen travel to Richland Center Friday night to face the league’s leading scorer Devon Schmitz (25.2 ppg) and the Hornets. Platteville senior guard Braden Nies is coming of a career-high 30 points and 11 steals in a 73–67 victory over River Ridge (Ill.) in the consolation game of the Mineral Point Holiday Tournament last Wednesday.
Dodgeville (3–6, 2–1 SWC) at Prairie du Chien (4–2, 2–0 SWC), Friday, Jan. 6, 8:15 p.m.
The Dodgers stumbled at Lancaster Monday night, 66–56, but look to rebound against SWC co-leader Prairie du Chien Friday night. Junior center Bryce Prochaska is averaging 19.9 points and a league-high 14.1 rebounds per game.
PREP WRESTLING: This week’s area events
Richland Center at Belmont/Platteville (at Platteville), Thursday, 7 p.m.
Prairie du Chien at Dodgeville, Thursday, 7 p.m.
River Valley at Lancaster, Friday, 7 p.m.
Iowa–Grant/Highland at Fennimore, Friday, 7 p.m.
Boscobel at Riverdale, Friday, 7 p.m.
Darlington/Black Hawk at Cuba City/Southwestern/Benton, Friday, 7 p.m.
Lancaster Invitational, Saturday, Jan. 6, 9 a.m.
Lancaster will host an 15-team tournament Saturday. Participating teams include: Dubuque Senior, Dubuque Wahlert, Sparta, Cashton, Madison West, Boscobel, Brodhead, Cuba City, Darlington, Fennimore, Iowa-Grant/Highland, Parkview, River Ridge/Cassville, Belmont/Platteville and the host Flying Arrows.