RICHLAND CENTER — Platteville’s Sami Martin was in eighth grade when Platteville trounced Richland Center on its home court on the final night of the regular season a year ago to win the Southwest Wisconsin Conference title.
Friday night, the talented Martin played a leading role in Platteville’s key 87–81 victory over the much-improved Hornets, once again on their home court.
Platteville improved to 8–3 overall and took over sole possession of first place at 3–0 in the SWC. Richland Center fell to 8–1 overall and 3–1 in conference.
Martin scored poured in a career-high 27 points, 17 in the first half, and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds as the Hillmen knocked off eighth-ranked and previously unbeaten Hornets. The 6-foot-1 freshman center made 12 of her 15 shots and all three of her free throw attempts.
Martin’s big first half kept Platteville in striking distance, as Richland Center senior guard Brooklyn Liegel surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career in style, scoring 18 of her game-high 28 points in the first half to lead the home team to a 41–37 halftime lead.
Martin and junior forward Skye Digman led Platteville’s second half comeback, but the Hillmen also got key contributions from freshman Josie Nies and Becca Hoyer, junior Rachel Bailie and senior Brelynn Updike.
Digman scored 20 of her 24 points in the final 18 minutes, including four clutch free throws in the final 25 seconds to help put the game away. She also had seven rebounds.
Nies finished with eight points, seven boards and seven assists. Hoyer added 12 points, four rebounds and three steals. Bailie scored all five of her points in the second half and passed out a team-high nine assists and Updike scored four second-half points.
“A big key to the win Friday night was our team’s refuse to lose attitude,” said Platteville head coach Brandon Temperly. “Our girls continued to battle all night regardless of any situation. Richland Center is a very good team and is well coached. Our girls stayed focused and found a way to get stops when needed and played the best offensive game of the season.”
Platteville shot 57 percent (35 of 61) from the field and had 27 assists on 35 made field goals.
“That means we were passing to open teammates, moving to open areas, and hitting shots,” added Temperly. “It was great team offense for a majority of the night.”
Martin scored 10 second half points, including a pair of three-point plays, and Hoyer added six as Platteville built an 83–76 lead with two minute remaining.
Center’s Cassidy Whitney made a 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining to make it 83–79. After the teams traded missed, they then traded a pair of misses at the free throw line in the final minute.
Richland Center took a quick shot and Digman hauled in the rebound and was fouled with 25 seconds left. She made the first free, but missed the second to make the score 84–79. Center took a quick 3-pointer on the ensuing possession and Rizner scored on the putback to make it 84–81 and was fouled on the play. Rizner scored 15 of her 21 points in the second half to keep the Hornets close. However, she missed the free throw and Digman was fouled on the rebound with 9.8 seconds left. She calmly made both free throws to make it a five-point game, then after another RC miss made one of two from the line to account for the final score.
“While this was an important victory, it still only counts as one,” added Temperly. “This game will continue to help us grow as a group. All 13 varsity girls prepared well for this game and stuck together through a rough first half. We were able to get a conference win in a tough road environment. There will always be things to improve but this win will give us confidence to help us get better as the year progresses. I am very proud of the effort and heart of this group.”
Platteville will return to action Friday night at home against Dodgeville (3–7, 2–1 SWC).
Platteville 87, Richland Center 81
(from Friday, Jan. 6 @ Rich. Center)
Platteville 37 50 — 87
Richland Center 41 40 — 81
Platteville (8–3, 3–0) — Josie Nies 8, Brelynn Updike 4, Rachel Bailie 5, Becca Hoyer 12, Sami Martin 27, Izzy Carroll 5, Sami Knockel 2, Skye Digman 24. Totals — 35 15-28 87.
Richland Center (8–1, 3–1) — Cassidy Whitney 8, Grace Adsit 4, Olson 1, Paige Perkins 9, Madison Rizner 21, Monson 3, Brooklyn Liegel 28, Thomas 4, Abby Ruetten 3. Totals – 28 18-26 81.
3-point goals — RC: 7 (Whitney 2, Perkins 1, Monson 1, Liegel 3); P: 2 (Nies 1, Carroll 1). Total fouls — P: 20; RC: 22. Fouled out — RC: Liegel.