GAME OF THE WEEK (March 17–March 23)
INDOOR TRACK & FIELD:
Tri-State Indoor Large Schools Meet, at UW–Platteville Williams Fieldhouse, March 18, 4:30 p.m.
Participating teams (13): Antioch (Ill.), Clinton, Davenport West (Iowa), Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Senior, Dubuque Wahlert, Freeport (Ill.), Milton, Mount Horeb, Oregon, Platteville, River Valley and Waunakee.
Tri-State Smalls Schools Meet, at UW–Platteville Williams Fieldhouse, March 19, 9:30 a.m.
Participating teams (30): Albany, Bangor, Belleville, Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg, Black River Falls, Brodhead, Cambridge, Camanche, Cashton, Darlington, Deerfield, Dodgeland, Durant (Ill.), Evansville, Fennimore, Lena–Winslow (Ill.), Lodi, Madison Country Day, Marshall, Monticello, North Crawford, Northeast, Orfordville Parkview, Potosi, Prairie du Chien, Richland Center, Southwestern, Viroqua, Wauzeka–Steuben and Westby.
Spring is coming here; well not officially until Sunday, but for all intents and purpose spring is here. Beginning with this weekend’s Tri-State Indoor Track and Field meets at UW–Platteville, the prep spring sports season will officially be upon us as well.
The season will kick off with Friday’s Tri-State Large Schools meet at 4:30 p.m. at UWP’s Williams Fieldhouse. Southwest Wisconsin Conference teams Platteville and River Valley will be among the 13-team large school field. The Platteville boys and girls both finished second in the six-team SWC in 2015. River Valley boys took third, while the Lady Blackhawks placed fourth at conference. The 30-team Tri-State Small Schools meet will be held Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. Both meets will be hosted by Lancaster.
Area teams in Saturday’s small schools event include the host Arrows, Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg, Darlington, Fennimore, Prairie du Chien, Richland Center, Southwestern and first-year track and field program Potosi. The Chieftains resurrected their program after discontinuing their co-op with Lancaster in 2003. The Lancaster/Potosi track and field co-op lasted for eight years from 1996–2003, with the program winning the WIAA Division 2 state title in 1998. Potosi’s 2016 track and field team is coached by UW–Platteville student, and 2013 Platteville High School graduate Jake Reuter. There are 17 athletes on this year’s Potosi track team.
The Darlington boys won the SWAL team title a year ago, while the Lady Redbirds finished second at conference behind Cuba City. The Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg co-op swept the team titles at last year’s Six Rivers Conference meet at UW–Platteville. Albany finished second in the boys outdoor conference meet, while River Ridge placed second in the girls’ team standings.
The area indoor track and field season will continue Tuesday, March 29 with the Pioneer Indoor Meet at UWP’s Williams Fieldhouse. UW–Platteville will host the UW–Platteville High School Indoor Invitational on Thursday, March 26.
OTHER AREA GAMES OF NOTE THIS WEEK
WIAA D3 BOYS BASKETBALL STATE SEMIFINAL: Prairie du Chien (24–2) vs Waupun (25–1), at Kohl Center (Madison), Thursday, March 10, 1:35 p.m., WPRE (980 AM)
The Blackhawks, champions of the Southwest Wisconsin Conference, advanced to State for the first time in three decades after their 59–49 win over East Troy in the Waunakee Sectional final on Saturday. Junior forward Nathan Banasik scored a game-high 21 points in the sectional final victory, while junior guard Chas Sagedahl added 13 points. Banasik scored a game-high 15 points in PdC’s 41–29 sectional semifinal win over Lodi last Thursday. Senior guard Conner George lead the team in scoring (11.8 ppg), assists (3.1 apg) and steals (2.2 spg). Banasik averages 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. Coach Andy Banasik, Nathan’s father, is also Prairie du Chien’s principal and athletic director. He played on the most recent two Blackhawks teams to make it to state, the Class B runner-up teams in 1985 and 1986. Prairie du Chien has won 18 straight games since a 46–44 non-conference loss to Division 5 state qualifier Chippewa Falls McDonell Central.
It was in 1927 when Waupun made its first and only other appearance in the State Tournament. The Warriors won their first-round game versus Ladysmith that year, 11–5, before falling to La Crosse 25–6 in the second round. Their return to State comes following their 68–65 win over Milwaukee Lutheran in the Whitefish Bay Sectional final. The Warriors are the champions of the East Central Conference this season. Freshman Marcus Damask, the coach’s son, leads Waupun in scoring at 16.7 points per game. The 6’5” guard also leads the team with 108 assist and 38 steals and has made 33 of 102 attempts from 3-point range. Six-foot-8 senior Colton Homan averaged 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
WIAA D5 BOYS BASKETBALL STATE SEMIFINAL: Barneveld (23–4) vs. Burlington Catholic Central, at Kohl Center (Madison), Thursday, March 11, 9:05 a.m., www.south78radio.com
Six Rivers East champion Barneveld will be making its first appearance in the State Tournament following its 57–55 win over Bangor in the La Crosse Logan Sectional final. Junior point guard Mathew Myers, son of coach Jim Myers, scored 21 points in Saturday’s sectional final victory. Myers and junior Mike Zouski each scored 14 points in Barneveld’s 55–50 sectional semifinal victory over Seneca last Thursday. Myers dislocated his shoulder two games before the end of the regular season, but returned in the second round and has averaged a team-best 18.8 points per game in four tournament wins. For the season he is averaging 18.6 points, 4.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game. Zouski is averaging 11.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 20 assists per game. Coach Jim Myers moved over from the Barneveld girls program this season after piling up a state record 699 wins in 38 seasons coaching the Lady Eagles. He also won six state championships and two runner-up finishes in his time with the girls’ program. Barneveld has won 19 of its past 20 games since opening the season 4–3.
Catholic Central defeated Hustisford 48–42 in the final of the Watertown Sectional final to earn its third trip to the State Tournament and its first since 2006. The Hilltoppers won Division 4 championships in each of their two previous State appearances in 2001 and 2006. They finished runner-up in the Metro Classic Conference this season behind Division 4 qualifier Whitefish Bay Dominican. Senior Ben Heiligenthal, a 6-foot-3 forward, averages 22.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.