GAME OF THE WEEK (Dec. 8–14)
SWAL WRESTLING: Mineral Point (1–1, 1–0 SWAL) at Fennimore (5–2, 1–0 SWAL), Friday, 7 p.m.
The Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League dual meet wrestling title will be on the line Friday night when fifth-ranked Mineral Point travels to second-ranked Fennimore Friday night for an early-season mat battle that is this week’s McDonald’s SWnews4U.com Game of the Week.
A year ago, the Golden Eagles won their first outright SWAL dual meet league title in program history by defeating the Pointers 32–26 in the final conference dual meet of the season on Jan. 29, then went on to win the WIAA Division 3 team state title. A year earlier, Fennimore and Mineral Point shared the SWAL duals title after both went 5–1 in dual meets, with the Eagles beating Point, but falling to Iowa–Grant/Highland.
Fennimore returns a number of talented wrestlers from last year’s state championship team including junior Riley Blair (ranked #1 at 138), senior Justin Tollefsen (#3 at 160), senior Cody McCullough (#2 at 220) and senior Devin O’Brien (#3 at 285). Freshmen Mason Lull (#5 at 106) and Aiden Nutter (#8 at 120) are also among the top-10 in the current Division 3 rankings. Blair, who didn’t wrestle last weekend, may miss Friday’s dual meet with a concussion.
But the Pointers are still formidable as always. Mineral Point currently has ? wrestlers ranked in the top 10, including freshman Wyatt Evans (#8 at 106), sophomore Danny Pittz (#4 at 113), sophomore Cayden Cary (#10 at 120), Logan Schmitz (#4 at 138), senior Boone Schmitz (#3 at 145), junior Riley Workman (#8 at 170) and senior Kyle Juedes (#9 at 220).
The Pointers opened the season with a 35–30 loss to defending SWC champion and WIAA Division 2 team state qualifier River Valley, but rebounded with a 41–19 SWAL victory over Iowa–Grant/Highland last Thursday night.
Fennimore is 5–2 this season. The Eagles dropped a 46–21 decision to Sparta on Nov. 29, then defeated Cuba City/Benton/Southwestern 54–9 last Friday before going 4–1 to finish second out of six teams at the Stoughton Pieper Duals Invitational last Saturday.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Top area games of the week
Riverdale (5–0, 1–0 SWAL) at Cuba City (2–1, 1–0 SWAL), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Riverdale is off to a hot start, riding a five-game winning streak entering tonight’s showdown with Cuba City after a 76–42 domination of Fennimore last Friday night. Coach Jeff Pustina’s team suffered a 76–64 non-conference loss at Richland Center in its Nov. 22 season-opener, but rebounded with a 57–47 victory at Darlington last Friday and a 57–30 non-conference home win over Prairie du Chien on Tuesday. Sophomore guard Courtney Busch scored a team-team 15 points in Tuesday’s victory.
Iowa–Grant (3–0, 1–0 SWAL) at Fennimore (0–5, 0–1 SWAL), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Coach Criag Jenkins will look to open the year 4–0 and conference play with two straight wins when they travel to Fennimore tonight. Freshman forward Olivia Liddicoat, who scored a game-high 28 points in her varsity debut on Nov. 21 (a 60–31 win over Highland) and a career-high 33 points in a 70–60 victory over Boscobel last Friday night has given I–G a dynamic 1-2 scoring punch with older sister Emma Liddicoat, a two-time first-team All-SWAL point guard.
Belmont (4–2, 0–0 SRW) at Benton (2–1, 1–0 SRW), Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Coach Alan Seabrooke’s Braves will travel to Benton tonight to open Six River West Conference play. The Zephyrs opened league play with a 52–40 victory at River Ridge last Friday night. Junior Emma Lawrence is leading the conference in both scoring (26.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.3 rpg) through three games.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Top area games of the week
Fennimore (3–1, 1–0 SWAL) at Darlington (2–0, 1–0 SWAL), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
The up-start Golden Eagles will take on preseason SWAL favorite Darlington in a Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League contest Friday night. Senior guard Will Schwartz scored a game-high 25 points as the Redbirds hammered Cuba City 69–20 last Thursday night to begin the season. Darlington then defeated Dodgeville 68–50 in a non-conference game Tuesday to improve to 2–0. Fennimore defeated Highland 70–59 and Boscobel 68–50 last week to improve to 3–1. Sophomore Reid Larson leads the young Eagles in scoring at 20 points per game. Junior Liam Kenney is averaging 18 points and 5 rebounds per game.
Potosi (2–0, 1–0 SRW) at Shullsburg (2–0, 1–0 SRW), Friday 7:30 p.m.
The defending conference champion Miners will face an early-season test Friday when Potosi comes to town. Coach Mike Uppena’s Chieftains handed Shullsburg one of its two conference losses a year ago. Junior guard Alex Udelhofen score a game-high 19 points as Potosi blasted struggling Belmont 75–35 Tuesday night. The Miners return senior standouts Hunter Matye, Joey Meyer, Noah Wand and Lance Lierman from last year’s team that went 20–5 overall, and added high-flying Jeremiah Bailey, a senior transfer from Benton. The Miners opened conference play with a 49–32 victory over River Ridge last Thursday, giving coach Mark Lierman his 300th career coaching victory.