For years, The Gazette always tried to provide readers with an update on area scoring leaders in boys and girls basketball.
Former Gazette Sports Editor Dave Wedeward was meticulous about keeping stats and records for all area schools, and individual scoring was no different.
We got away from the weekly updates when Wedeward set his pencil and pad down for the last time and retired in 2012, but I’ve decided to bring the feature back as part of my Basketball Weekend weekly report.
I encourage all area coaches to keep their stats updated and to forward me any changes that need to be made.
In surveying the area boys scoring leaders, what probably jumped out most is that there are no gaudy numbers. Janesville Craig sharpshooter Blake McCann leads the way at 19.9 points per game, but in years past I vividly remember several of the top 10 in both the boys and girls averaging well over 20 points per game.
That doesn’t mean that skill-wise, basketball is down. I think it’s more a reflection that team-oriented basketball has proven to be more successful than the days of one-on-one isolation that resulted in one player averaging 25 points a game while no one else reached double figures.
Here’s a look at three area games on tap tonight:
Madison West (1-10, 0-8 Big Eight) at Janesville Parker 2-10, 1-7), boys, 7:30 p.m., today—The Regents are in search of their first conference win, while the Vikings will try to notch a second Big Eight win in the same season for the first time since 2014-15.
West won its first game of the season last Saturday with an 83-79 nonconference victory over Milwaukee King.
Despite just one win on the season, the Regents have four players averaging in double figures in scoring. Keishawn Shanklin leads the way at 16.9 points per game.
Parker snapped a 44-game losing streak earlier this season with a 58-55 win over Beloit Memoiral and made it two in a row with a nonconference victory over Milwaukee Carmen.
Chris Galvan leads the Vikings and is eighth in the conference in scoring at 16.6 points per game.
Best guess: West 67, Parker 62
Janesville Craig (5-5, 4-4) at Verona (5-5, 3-5), boys, 7:30 p.m., today—The winner moves above .500 for the season and stays in the upper half of the Big Eight standings.
Verona won four of its first five games to start the season but has now lost four of its last five under first-year coach Javin Budde.
Four players are scoring in double figures for the Wildcats, led by Ryan Van Handel’s 12.7 points per game.
Craig counters with the conference’s second-leading scorer in McCann. He trails only Sun Prairie super sophomore Jalen Johnson’s 20.8 average.
The Cougars have yet to win back-to-back games this season and are coming off an 11-point win over Madison West.
Best guess: Craig 71, Verona 60
Whitewater (9-3, 7-2) at Jefferson (11-0, 9-0), girls, 7:15 p.m., today—This becomes a must-win for the four-time defending Rock Valley North champion Whippets. A loss puts them three games behind the unbeaten Eagles.
Jefferson has raced out to an 11-0 start thanks to stellar defense. The Eagles are allowing only 44.3 points per game and have held four opponents under 40 points.
Parker Fetherson leads the Jefferson offense. The senior is averaging 16.6 points per game and has combined with Callie Morrison to make 34 3-pointers.
Whitewater has won nine of its last 10 games after starting the season 0-2.
Freshman Kacie Carollo leads the Whippets in scoring with a 13.7 average, while Allison Heckert and Abby Grosinske are also averaging in double figures.
Best guess: Jefferson, 55, Whitewater 51
Area boys scoring leaders
Blake McCann;sr.; Craig;19.9;32
Logan Eischeid;jr.;Big Foot;17.3;26