PLATTEVILLE — Platteville's Sami Martin has Richland Center’s number. The 6-foot-1 freshman center posted a game-high 27 points and 10 rebounds in a key 87–81 victory at Richland Center on Jan. 6.
Friday night she was even better, pouring in a team-high 25 points and grabbing a career-high 21 rebounds in a monster double–double that led Platteville to a hard fought 73–68 win over the fifth-ranked Hornets that clinched a second straight Southwest Wisconsin Conference title. She also hit a pair of clutch free throws with eight seconds left to put the game out of reach.
“Sami brought her ‘A game’ both times we have faced the Hornets,” said Platteville head coach Brandon Temperly. “Twenty-five points is very impressive, but to grab 21 rebounds shows an incredible work ethic and toughness. Her teammates were able to get her the ball in good positions and she capitalized. She has a good head on her shoulders and understands she is the beneficiary of her own work and the work of others. She is very quick to give credit to her teammates.”
Several of those teammates played key roles in Friday’s victory. Junior Skye Digman had a double–double of her own with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and made 3 of 4 from the free throw line in the final 53 seconds as Platteville (16–4, 9–0 SWC) closed out the game.
Freshman Becca Hoyer added 11 points off the bench including a key second-half 3-pointer to give the Hillmen their biggest lead of the game at 44–29 with 13 minutes remaining.
Freshman point guard Josie Nies finished with eight points and nine assists and committed just two turnovers against Center’s relentless ball pressure. Senior guard Brelynn Updike hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with six points.
“It was another fun game to be a part of again,” said Temperly. “The first matchup in Richland Center was a great basketball game and this one did not disappoint as well. We have a team that thrives when a game becomes physical and we did not back down from the challenge. I am proud of how our team stuck together during some adverse moments that came our way. We are playing some of our best basketball and this team is starting to click on all cylinders at the right time.”
Senior guard Brooklyn Liegel hit a 3-pointer with 11 minutes left in the first half to give Richland Center (17–2, 7–2 SWC) an early 17–10 lead, but the Hillmen scored the next eight points and later put together a 15–3 run over the final six minutes of the half to build a 33–25 lead.
Platteville led by as many as 15 early in the second half, but the Hornets rallied behind an amazing performance by junior Madison Rizner. Rizner, who sat much of the first half with two fouls, scored 25 of her game-high 33 points in the second half and grabbed 10 rebounds. Three times in the final 2:25 Rizner scored to bring RC within two points, the last on a post move with 1:27 to make it 68–66.
Digman made 3 of 4 from the line sandwiched around a Jenna Thomas layup, then after RC’s Cassidy Whitney missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer, Martin grabbed her 21st rebound and was fouled with eight seconds left and converted both free throws.
Monday night, Platteville made it official, clinching the outright SWC title with a 54–18 victory in a makeup game at Prairie du Chien.
“This group had a vision of a conference championship from the beginning of the season,” said Temperly. “That is a credit to them and to last year’s team for raising the expectations of our program. Championships do not come easy and I am proud of this group to staying focused all season. We have more games to go so the focus will need to continue but February/March Madness is right around the corner. This is a great time of year.”
Platteville earned the #2 seed in its WIAA Division 3 half-sectional and will have a first-round bye when the playoffs begin next Tuesday. The Hillmen will then host either #7 River Valley (7–13) or #10 Prairie du Chien (1–20) on Friday, Feb. 24. A potential regional final rematch with #3 Richland Center looms on Saturday, Feb. 25.
Wisconsin Dells (16–4) earned the #1 seed in the half-sectional. Platteville will close out the regular season Friday at Dodgeville.
Platteville 73, Richland Center 68
(from Friday, Feb. 10 @ Platteville)
Richland Center 25 43 — 68
Platteville 33 40 — 73
Richland Center (17–2, 7–2) — Cassidy Whitney 6, Cairen Olson 1, Paige Perkins 2, Madison Rizner 33, Brooklyn Liegel 16, Jenna Thomas 8, Abby Ruetten 2. Totals – 21 23-32 73.
Platteville (15–4, 8–0) — Josie Nies 8, Brelynn Updike 6, Rachel Bailie 2, Becca Hoyer 11, Sami Martin 25, Sami Knockel 1, Skye Digman 20. Totals — 25 18-29 73.
3-point goals — RC: 3 (Whitney 2, Liegel 1); P: 5 (Nies 1, Updike 2, Hoyer 1, Digman 1). Total fouls — RC: 24: P: 24. Fouled out — RC: Liegel. Technical fouls — P: Nies.
Platteville 54, Prairie du Chien 18
(from Monday, Feb. 13 @ Prairie du Chien)
Platteville 34 22 — 54
Prairie du Chien 8 10 — 18
Platteville (16–4, 9–0) — Josie Nies 7, Brelynn Updike 2, Rachel Bailie 4, Sami Brookens 2, Becca Hoyer 5, Hanna Langmeier 3, Sami Martin 13, Katherine Kasper 5, Sami Knockel 7, Skye Digman 4, KD Hoyer 2. Totals — 21 10-19 54.
Prairie du Chien (1–20, 0–9) — Keya Welsch 2, McKenna Keeney 2, Faith Dillman 4, Gabby Ritchie 10. Totals – 21 23-32 73.
3-point goals — Pla: 2 (Nies 1, Kasper 1); PdC: 0. Total fouls — Pla: 12: PdC: 14. Fouled out — none.