GAME OF THE WEEK (Dec. 1–7)
BOYS BASKETBALL: Lancaster (1–0, 0–0 SWC) at Platteville (2–0, 0–0 SWC), Friday, Dec. 2, 8:15 p.m.
Coach Mike Huser’s Hillmen will host Roger Bussan’s Arrows Friday night in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference opener for both teams and this week’s McDonald’s Game of the Week. The game is part of a new conference schedule of girls-boys doubleheaders to be played throughout the season. This year, all six SWC teams will play all 10 of their conference games on Friday nights as part of girls–boys doubleheaders. The girls’ games begin at 6:30 with the boys’ games tentatively set for 8:15 p.m. Next year the schedule will flip with boys’ games playing first, followed by the girls.
Huser’s Hillmen return five letterman, including two starters and all-conference sixth man Donovan Blevins, from last year’s team that went 8–16 overall and finished third in the SWC at 5–5 behind conference champion and Division 3 state qualifier Prairie du Chien (24–3, 10–0 SWC). Platteville is off to a 2–0 start this year with dominating wins at Argyle, 74–36, on Tuesday, Nov. 22 and over visiting Juda, 70–48, on Tuesday.
Senior point guard Braden Nies, a second-team All-SWC selection a year ago, had 17 points, four assists and four steals in the win over Argyle. Blevins, an honorable mention All-SWC pick as a sophomore had a pair of breakaway dunks and scored 12 points. Senior forward Dillion Shinee added seven points, six boards and a team-high six assists. Blevins led the way with 21 points and seven boards in Tuesday’s win over Juda. Shinee posted a double–double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Lancaster opened the season with a convincing 67–38 victory over visiting River Ridge on Monday. Ten different players scored for the Arrows, lead by junior Austin Mumm’s 12. Senior guard Tanner Reuter and junior Evan Straka added 10 each.
The Arrows return six players from last year’s team that went 5–18 overall and 2–8 in the SWC, but also get an influx of talent from a JV squad that posted a 20–2 record a year ago.
In a year where many predict the race to be wide open in the SWC, Friday’s game could be a good indicator of where Platteville and Lancaster stand.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lancaster (3–1, 0–0 SWC) at Platteville (2–1, 0–0 SWC), Friday, Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m.
The defending SWC champion Hillmen welcome the improved Arrows to town Friday night for conference opener for both teams.
Platteville coach Brandon Temperly lost four starters and his sixth-man from last year’s team than went 17–8 overall and 8–2 in the SWC, winning the conference title with a win over Richland Center on the final night of the regular season. But the cupboard is not bare in Platteville, as the Hillmen will build around junior standout Skye Digman, senior guards Brelynn Updike and Sami Brookens and crop of talented freshman.
Digaman (6’0”, F), a second-team All-SWC choice a year ago, is off to a strong start this year, averaging 16.7 points and 10.3 rebounds through three games for the 2–1 Hillmen. She scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed 12 boards in a 58–55 overtime win over Shullsburg last Tuesday. She also had 14 points and eight rebounds in a 56–55 win at Benton last Friday. Digman has been joined in this year’s starting lineup by Updike, junior guard Rachel Bailie, freshman point guard Josie Nies and fellow 6-foot forward Sami Martin. Martin is averaging 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. She scored all 14 of her points in the second half and OT over the win over Shullsburg, then led the team with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Benton. Nies is averaging nine points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Fellow freshman Izzy Caroll (5.3 points), and Becca Hoyer (2.7) have also seen extended playing time off the bench this year.
Lancaster improved to 3–1 on the season with a narrow 44–43 victory over Potosi on Tuesday, when sophomore guard Lydia Murphy connected on a free throw in the final 15 seconds and the Arrows defense held the Chieftains without a final shot. Lancaster limited high-scoring Potosi standout Abby Kaiser to just 15 points in the game. She entered the contest averaging 26.7 points through Potosi’s first three games. The Flying Arrows went 15–9 a year ago and tied Prairie du Chien (15–10, 5–5) for third-place in the conference in Coach Rob Wagner’s first year on the bench. After Friday night’s game, we will see where Lancaster stands this year.
OTHER AREA GIRLS BASKETBALL GAMES THIS WEEK:
Richland Center (2–0, 0–0 SWC) at Prairie du Chien (1–2, 0–0 SWC), Friday, Dec. 6, 6:30 p.m.
The Hornets, who finished second in the SWC a year ago, travel to Prairie du Chien to face the upstart Blackhawks, who reached the WIAA Division 3 sectional finals a year ago.
Cuba City (0–1, 0–0 SWAL) at Darlington (4–0), Friday, Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m.
Darlington is off to a fast start behind senior forward Taryn Rankin. Cuba City, which only lost three games last year — all to eventual WIAA Division 4 state champion Mineral Point — opened the season with a 76–64 loss at Richalnd Center on Nov. 22.
Benton (1–1, 0–0 SRW) at River Ridge (2–0), at Patch Grove, Friday, Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m.
Two of the Six Rivers West heavyweights square off in Friday’s conference opener at Patch Grove. Benton junior standout Emma Lawrence leads the conference leads the conference in scoring at 27.0 points per game through two contests. Caron Townsend’s Timberwolves have early wins over Seneca, 40–31, and Fennimore, 55–38.
WRESTLING: Black Hawk Invitational, at South Wayne, Saturday, Dec. 3, 9 a.m.
Black Hawk High School will host the first area wrestling invitational of the season Saturday when 14 teams will travel to South Wayne. Participating teams include: Beloit Turner, Belleville, Belmont/Platteville, Brodhead, Cuba City/Southwestern, Dodgeville, Durand, Madison Memorial, Mount Horeb, Orfordville Parkview, Pec/Argyle, Richland Center, River Ridge, Waterloo and host Darlington/Black Hawk.