GAME OF THE WEEK (March 3–March 9)
WIAA D3 GIRLS BASKETBALL SECTIONAL SEMIFINAL: Platteville (17–7) vs. Prairie du Chien (14–9), at Baraboo, Thursday, March 3, 7 p.m., WPVL (1590 AM), www.am1590wpvl.com
The Platteville girls basketball team continued re-writing the Hillmen history books last week by winning the program’s first regional title in 24 years. A week after winning just the second conference title in school history (the first came in 2013), Platteville defeated Southwest Wisconsin Conference foe River Valley 46–37 in a WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal Friday night and SWC runner-up Richland Center 53–39 on Saturday night to win the team’s first regional title since 1992.
Senior Sierra Brecke scored 15 of her game-high 19 points in the second half, and fellow senior Claire Tashner scored seven of her 12 points in a late 14–3 run as Platteville held off the Hornets. Tashner also gra a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Hillmen (17–7) will now face another familiar foe in Prairie du Chien (14–9) in Thursday’s D3 sectional semifinal at Baraboo at 7 p.m., this week’s McDonalds’ Swnews4u.com Game of the Week. The Blackhawks upset top-seeded Wisconsin Dells 64–62 on a last-second shot to win their regional Saturday night. Platteville split with Prairie du Chien during the regular season, winning at Prairie on Jan. 8, 58–51, before losing at home on Feb. 11, 66–60.
“We will focus on a defensive game plan that will try to limit what they do well,” said Temperly of Thursday’s rematch with Prairie du Chien. "We need to be smart defensively and stay out of foul trouble. We were in early foul trouble a few weeks ago and we ended up down 29–17 at halftime the last time we played.”
With a win the Hillmen would face the winner of Marshall (24–0, ranked second in D2) and fourth-seeded Madison Edgewood (18–6).
Platteville’s regional title is the program’s first since 1992 and only the third in program history. Platteville also won a regional title in 1984 en route to winning the Class B state title. This year’s Platteville girls team also became the first in school history to win both a conference and regional title in the same season.
“This is an incredible accomplishment for this group of young ladies and like the conference championship, this is a badge of honor that each girl can take with her forever,” said Platteville head coach Brandon Temperly. “The community and parent support has been fantastic for these young ladies and we look forward to great times ahead- this season and beyond.”
OTHER AREA GAMES OF NOTE THIS WEEK
WIAA D5 GIRLS BASKETBALL SECTIONAL SEMIFINAL: Potosi (18–7) vs Barneveld (25–0, ranked #1 in D5), at Mineral Point, Thursday, March 3, 7 p.m., WGLR (97.7 FM), www.wglr.com
The Chieftains are this year’s Cinderella story after posting come-from-behind road wins on consecutive nights over higher-seeded conference foes to win a WIAA Division 5 regional title. Sixth-seeded Potosi (18–7), which finished fourth in the conference, slugged it out with Six Rivers West runner-up River Ridge Friday night, digging out of an early 13–2 hole to pull out a 49–42 regional semifinal victory over the defensive-minded Timberwolves (18–5). Saturday night, the Chieftains used the same box-and-one defense it used to rally past Ridge, to outfox a second SRW rival in even more dramatic fashion to reach the sectional ball. After falling behind by 15 points early in the second half, the Chieftains closed the game on a 34–6 to stun Six Rivers West champion Shullsburg 53–40.
“The girls just don’t want to be done playing right now and that’s a pretty fun feeling when they don’t want the season to end,” said Potosi head coach Brad Bierman. “The girls are really enjoying each other. What happened this past week is a byproduct of buying in and believing in each other. It really says a lot about how far the girls have come. I don’t think a month ago that we could have emotionally done this. But we felt all season we had a good basketball team with some talented players.”
The Chieftains advanced to sectionals for the first time since 2012 and will now face undefeated Barneveld (25–0), the two-time defending Division 5 state champs and the top-ranked team in the division. The Eagles breezed through regionals with a 67–27 win over Pectonica, a 62–34 victory over Cassville and a 65–45 regional final win over Riverdale on Saturday night. Barneveld is led by Nebraska recruit Hannah Whitish, who averages more than 22 points per game.
“The message is the same,” said Bierman. “Everybody knows how talented Barneveld is and Hannah Whitish is the best basketball player in the state, but this isn’t a series, best of five or best of seven. It’s high school basketball and it’s one game and the winner moves on. I think if we can play our best basketball we can compete with them. We’ve got nothing to lose. I know that’s really cliche, but right now we are just having fun and taking it a day at a time.”
The winner will advance to face either Bangor (24–1, ranked 5th) or Hillsboro (19–6) in a sectional championship game at Richland Center Saturday at 2 p.m.
WIAA D4 GIRLS BASKETBALL SECTIONAL SEMIFINAL: Mineral Point (22–2, ranked 3rd in D4) vs. Cuba City (22–2, ranked 5th in D4), at Monroe, Thursday, March 3, 7 p.m., Super Hits 106, www.superhits106.com
The Pointers and Cubans will meet for the third time this year with a berth in Saturday’s WIAA Division 4 sectional final on the line. The Pointers won the previous two meetings to claim the undisputed SWAL title. Point ended Cuba City’s 61-game winning streak and 57-game SWAL winning streak with a 55–43 victory at Mineral Point on Jan. 15. The Pointers wrapped up the outright conference title with a 57–53 win at Cuba City in the regular season finale on Feb. 18. Cuba City all-time leading scorer and Division 2 Northern State recruit Jessi Marti suffered a concussion midway through the first half of the last meeting and missed the rest of the game. Marti returned to action last week, leading the Cubans to a fifth straight regional title with victories over Deerfield, 52–26, last Friday and New Glares, 68–38, on Saturday. Mineral Point and its own Division 2 recruit Jessica Schultz won its regional title with a first-round bye, a 69–26 win over Waterloo on Friday and a 56–26 regional final victory over fourth-seeded Lancaster on Saturday.
“We are thrilled that we get a chance to play Mineral Point for a third time,” said Cuba City head coach Jeff Pustina. “That means we’re right where we want to be, in the sectional semifinal.”
The winner advances to face either Cochrane–Fountain City (24–0) or Wisconsin Heights (19–5) in a sectional championship game at Baraboo High School on Saturday at 1 p.m.
BOYS BASKETBALL: WIAA Regional Semifinals, Friday, March 4, 7 p.m.
The second round of the WIAA boys basketball playoffs tip off Friday night at 7 p.m. with at 7 p.m. A number of area teams are still alive in their pursuit of a regional title. Friday night’s winners will meet in the regional finals Saturday at 7 p.m. at the home of the highest seed.
#6 Platteville (8–15) at #3 Lodi (15–7), WPVL (1590 AM), www.am1590wpvl.com
Lodi ended Platteville’s football season each of the past two seasons, but this is the school’s first meeting on the hardwood during that time. Junior guard Braden Nies scored a team-high 18 points, and sophomore Donovan Blevins added 16 off the bench as the Hillmen trounced Nekoosa (3–20) in Tuesday’s opening round. The Blue Devils, who finished third in the Capitol North, had a first-round bye.
#7 Wautoma (10–13) at #2 Dodgeville (17–5)
Wautoma scored a season-high 103 points in a 103–76 regional quarterfinal victory over Richland Center on Wednesday night. The Hornets finished in a three-way tie for second-place in the South Central Conference behind Mauston. Dodgeville earned a first-round bye after posting 17 wins in the regular season. The Dodgers went 7–3 and placed second in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference behind Prairie du Chien. Senior guard Trent Jones leads the SWC in scoring at 24 points per game.
#8 River Valley (11–12) at #1 Prairie du Chien (20–2)
The SWC champion Prairie du Chien Blackhawks will host the River Valley Blackhawks after a first-round bye Tuesday night. PdC swept Valley during the regular season, winning most recently 69–51 on Feb. 4, en rout to a perfect 10–0 conference record. Valley, which finished fourth in the SWC, is coming off a 48–47 first-round win over Westfield Wednesday night.
#8 Belleville (8–15) at #1 Iowa–Grant (21–1, ranked 8th in D4), WGLR (97.7 FM), www.wglr.com
The Panthers won the final 21 games of the regular season after a season-opening loss to Dodgeville and won the program’s first conference title since 1994. Iowa–Grant earned the top seed in its half sectional and a first-round bye. Seniors Isaac Anderson (20.8 ppg) and Brayden Johnson (17.4 ppg) both averaged more than 17 points per game. The Wildcats are coming off a 47–40 regional quarterfinal victory over Lancaster.
#5 New Glarus (15–8) at #4 Cuba City (15–7)
The Cubans could face a stern test from the Glarner Knights. New Glarus finished second in the Capitol South behind Marshall (18–4). The fifth-seeded Knights smashed 12-seed Orfordville Parkview 73–39 in Tuesday’s opening round. Senior Ben Burkholder averages 20.9 points and 11.9 rebounds per game to lead the Cubans, who had a first-round bye Tuesday night. Cuba City finished third in the SWAL behind Iowa–Grant and Darlington.
#6 Cambridge (12–10) at #3 Darlington (17–5)
The sixth-seeded Blue Jays advanced with a wild 95–93 triple overtime victory over 11-seeded Waterloo. Senior J.T. Parish leads Cambridge in both scoring (19.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg). Darlington had a first-round bye after finishing second in the SWAL behind Iowa–Grant.
#7 Mineral Point (11–12) at #2 Deerfield (20–2)
Sophomore Chance Wendhausen scored a team-high 20 points as the Pointers held on for a 57–56 first-round victory over Palmyra–Eagle Tuesday night. Deerfield went a perfect 18–0 in the Trailways South to win an undisputed conference title. The Demons, who had a first-round bye, are led by senior wing Blake Ehrke, who averaged 21.4 points, 13.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
#5 Belmont (16–7) at #4 Shullsburg (19–4, ranked 9th in D5), WPVL (107.1 FM), www.x1071.com
The Braves came within a two-point late season loss at Cassville of sharing this year’s Six Rivers West conference title with Shullsburg. But the Miners swept the season season with Belmont to claim the outright crown. The Braves are looking for retribution Friday night after losing at Shullsburg 45–44 on Dec. 11 on a Lance Liedman’s jumper with 16 seconds left then again at Belmont 58–54 on Jan. 28. The fifth-seeded Braves held off River Ridge 52–39 in Tuesday’s regional quarterfinal behind 25 points and six rebounds from senior Raine Voigts. Shullsburg roasted Benton 67–29 Tuesday night as junior center Joey Meyer scored a career-high 30 points to power the Miners.
#6 Southwestern (13–10) at #3 Pecatonica (18–5)
The sixth-seeded Wildcats breezed through their regional quarterfinal against Cassville, 79–51. Ezra Vaessen (25), Kyle Tranel (16) and Kurt Tranel (15) all scored in double figures to lead Southwestern. The Six Rivers East runner-up Vikings hammered Highland, 83–45 in Tuesday’s opening round.
#7 Potosi (13–10) at #2 Barneveld (19–4, ranked 7th in D5)
The Six Rivers East champion Eagles smashed one-win Wauzeka–Steuben 86–25 in Tuesday’s opening round. Potosi dominated 10th-seeded Ithaca 73–51 Tuesday night. Coach Mike Uppena’s Chieftains went 9–3 and tied for second place in the Six Rivers West. Senior Nate Friederick leads Potosi in both scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.4 rpg).
WIAA DIVISION 3 TEAM STATE WRESTLING: Fennimore (18–4) vs. Random Lake (18–0), at UW Fieldhouse (Madison), Saturday, March 5, 10 a.m., WGLR (97.7 FM), www.wglr.com
The Golden Eagles defeated Cashton 37–22 in the final of the Royall Team Sectional on Feb. 16 to to earn a second straight trip to the D3 Team State Tournament. Senior Riley Lull won the 113-pound individual state title last Saturday in Madison, while teammates sophomore Riley Blair (120), sophomore Alston Nutter (126) and senior Justin Tollefsen (138) each finished second for Fennimore. Coach Chad Steldt’s Golden Eagles will square off with undefeated Random Lake in Saturday morning’s D3 semifinal. The Rams returns to the State Tournament for the fifth straight season and for the seventh time overall. They posted a 63–6 win over Markesan in the sectional final held at Random Lake. The other side of the bracket features defending state champion Spring Valley/Elmwood (13–2) and top-ranked Stratford (28–0). The winner of Saturday’s morning’s semifinals will face off for the D3 championship at 3 p.m.