MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM CO-GAME OF THE WEEK (Jan. 24–31)
SWC BOYS BASKETBALL: Dodgeville 61, Platteville 54 (2 OT)
By Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal / Fennimore Times / Boscobel Dial
Dodgers win second battle of SWC giants
PLATTEVILLE — When Southwest Wisconsin Conference front runners Platteville and Dodgeville met for the first time this year on Dec. 30, the visiting Hillmen ran the Dodgers off their own floor, 63–40.
Thursday’s rematch at Platteville High School was a much different game.
The Dodgers slowed the tempo, took care of the ball and allowed 7-foot-2 senior center Chandler Batchelor to play a much bigger role, both figuratively and literally.
Batchelor finished with a game-high 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks to lead the Dodgers to a 61–54 overtime victory.
“They were able to play Batchelor more minutes and he dictated for the most part what was happening around the rim on defense so that was a factor,” said Platteville head coach Mike Huser. “They played us 2–3 zone for the majority of the game, which we expected because of the matchup problems we gave them in the first game.”
After Platteville senior Derek Digman misfired on a 3-pointer with 1:33 seconds left, Batchelor grabbed the defensive rebound, then tied the game on the other end with a layup over Platteville’s own 6-foot-9 giant Zach McClain with 1:08 left.
Then, after Platteville ran the clock down and set up a final player, Batchelor then blocked sophomore Lucas Ludlum’s potential game-winning layup with four seconds left, and the Hillmen survived a half-court heave from Noah Pittz that nearly went in.
“We knew they were going to come in and give us a great effort because of how the game played out up at Dodgeville,” said Huser. “They had a little more urgency late in the game than we did, and they had some players make opportunistic plays when they needed them. I give them credit, because we generally break teams at some point during the game and their seniors kept their composure when they got down double digits in the second half and made some key baskets to hang around and eventually tie the game.”
After a scoreless first overtime — which featured four turnovers, three time outs and two missed shots — four more minutes were required to decide a winner.
McClain again won the jump ball with the towering Batchelor — for the third time in the game — but Platteville turned it over.
Dodgeville senior guard Charlie Keith finally broke the 51–51 deadlock with a driving basket from the left wing a minute into the second OT.
Platteville junior Davyn Edge missed three free throws moments later, but McClain grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. He split a pair to make it a one-point game with 1:39 left.
On the ensuing possession, when everyone in the gym figured Dodgeville would attempt to run clock and force the Hillmen to foul, Reilly Berg connected on a surprising 3-pointer from the left corner to make it 56–52.
Platteville junior Garrison Tashner answered with a pair of free throws with 1:11 left. He then snatched a steal to give Platteville a chance to tie or take the lead, but junior Davyn Edge’s potential go-ahead 3-pointer missed the mark.
The Hillmen were forced to foul and senior Matthew Pittz (4-for-4) and Batcherlor (1-of 2) went 5 of 6 at the line in the final 45 seconds to close out the win.
Keith (13 points), Pittz (12) and Berg (10) also scored in double figures for the victors.
Heer, who shot 4 of 13 on 3-pointers, finished with a team-high 12 points and six rebounds to lead the Hillmen. Edge added 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists off the bench and Digman scored 10 and passed out four assists.
Dodgeville scored the game’s first seven points and raced out to a 9–3 lead, but the Hillmen responded with a 16–5 run and took a 19–14 lead on a 3-pointer by Wyatt Heer with 6:55 left in the first half.
The Dodgers scored 11 of the next 13 points and had the ball in the final minute with an opportunity to take the last shot of the half up 25–21, but inexplicably fired up an errant jumper with 30 seconds left on the clock.
Heer made them pay with another 3-pointer trim the Dodgers’ halftime lead to one going into halftime.
“Foul trouble gave us some problems in the first half, and we had a hard time finding a consistent rhythm on offense,” said Huser. “ In the first game we played in transition for much of the game and our defensive pressure really dictated the pace and tempo, this time it was not as much of impact as we had hoped for and that needs to be a focus for us to improve on moving forward.
Platteville kept the momentum ball rolling and began the second half on a 16–5 tear.
Tashner hit a 3-pointer, Digman scored seven-straight Hillmen points, and Heer drilled back-to-back triples to give the Hillmen a 40–30 lead with 11:22 left in the game.
But the Dodgers battled back and pulled with two at 49–47 on a three-point play by Pittz, before Ludum scored Platteville’s last points of regulation on a pull-up jumper with 2:10 remaining.
Dodgeville (9–6, 5–1 SWC) defeated Richland Center 64–49 Monday night in a makeup game to move into a first-place tie with the Hillmen (5–1 SWC), who fell to 12–5 overall.
“I think right now a lot can happen in the league as teams improve that may be struggled a little bit early on, so being tied with Dodgeville is not quite where we were hoping to be but we have to focus on each day and continue to improve as a group,” said Huser. “We did some things that were very uncharacteristic of this group as far as not dictating the tempo and Dodgeville’s strategy had something to do with that. However, we feel we can dictate the tempo and pace of a game with our defense against any opponent, so we were disappointed that we allowed that to happen.
“I do think that a loss like this can set us up for success as the season progresses and that you have to bring it every night or this type of game can happen.”
Dodgeville 61, Platteville 54 (2 OT)
(from Thursday, Jan. 26 @ Platteville)
Dodgeville.....25 26 0 10 — 61
Platteville......24 27 0 3 — 54
Dodgeville (8–6, 5–1) — Matthew Pittz 12, Lecarder Walker 4, Charlie Keith 13, Riley Berg 10, Brady Jabs 2, Noah Pittz 4, Chandler Batchelor 16. Totals — 22 13-21 61.
Platteville (12–5, 5–1) — Garrison Tashner 7, Derek Digman 10, Davyn Edge 11, Lucas Ludlum 6, Wyatt Heer 12, Keegan Coffey 5, Zach McClain 3. Totals — 19-66 6-11 54.
3-point goals — D: 4 (M. Pittz 1, Keith 1, Berg 2), P: 9-37 (Tashner 1, Deigman 2, Edge 2, Heer 4). Team fouls — D: 10, P: 16. Fouled out — P: Tashner.