DUBUQUE — Black Hawk had to cross the Mississippi River to face some top-level competition at the 15th annual Wendy’s/American Trust Girls’ Basketball Classic held at the Loras College Athletic and Wellness Center on Saturday, Dec. 16.
Black Hawk– the #1-ranked team in Wisconsin’s small school division– tipped off against Springville– the #1-ranked team in Iowa’s small school division– and turned in an impressive second-half performance to take down the two-time defending Iowa 4A state champion Orioles, 55-37, to remain unbeaten at 8-0 on the season.
The Lady Warriors buried 10 shots from behind the 3-point arc through three quarters, and then went 10-for-10 at the foul line over the final 1:06 of the game to seal the victory over the Orioles (6-2).
“We knew it was going to be difficult. We came out here and beat a team favored to win a third straight state championship,” said Black Hawk head coach Michael Flanagan. “For us to persevere and find ways to maintain our composure in spots where it felt like we might let it slip was huge. I can’t say enough about our kids. That’s all on them. Those kids got it done today, and they should be very proud of their efforts.”
Black Hawk, which has led by an average of 33 points at halftime through their first seven games and won each of those games by an average of nearly 49 points, went head-to-head with the battle-tested Orioles in the first half.
The Warriors held an 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter; and, after trading the lead with Springville several times early in the second quarter, grabbed the lead for good on sophomore guard Hannah Butler’s second 3-pointer of the period.
Treys by senior Brianna Hagen and freshman Kaylee Marty extended the lead to 25-18, but the Orioles closed the half with six unanswered points to trim the Warriors’ advantage to 25-24 at the intermission.
“I don’t want to be disparaging to any of our opponents because they have been coming after us, but we haven’t been in that situation this season,” Flanagan remarked. “We played a lot of that first half without (freshman point guard) Bailey Butler, so to be up by one at that point was encouraging.”
Black Hawk stormed out of the break and went right at the Orioles on each end of the floor. The Butlers teamed up to score the first 10 points of the third quarter- four by Hannah on a pair of drives down the lane and six by Bailey on a pair of 3s- to put the Warriors up 35-24. Marty and B. Butler connected from long distance late in the quarter to increase the lead to 41-29 going into the final frame.
“We made it happen in that third quarter. We started to slow down our shot delivery and we started getting more strategic about getting touches in the middle. It’s just a shooter’s dream to see the ball go in. Our threes in the second half were much high quality shots than we were taking in the first half,” said Flanagan. “Our press, right before the half, I could tell was starting to soak in. They’re not used to being attacked like that for the course of a whole game. To be able to wear them down is a testament to our kids, their conditioning and their discipline in running our press.”
When they weren’t playing defense in the fourth quarter, the Warriors were on the free throw line. After going 2-for-10 at the stripe to start the quarter, Flanagan’s charges connected on their final 10 free throw attempts to nail down an 18-point win.
“All we can do is get better. This is a great win, but we have Barneveld on Tuesday. We’re ready to move forward. It’s always about the next game with us,” Flanagan noted.
H. Butler finished with a game-high 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Warriors. Sophomore Natalie Leuzinger registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while B. Butler added 12 points– all in the second half– along with three steals.
Hagen and Marty each buried two 3s to score six points apiece. Senior Hannah Herbst tallied four assists and four steals, and sophomore Maddy Huschitt dished out four assists.
Senior center Mikayla Nachazel led Springville with 12 points. Senior point guard Rylee Menster added 10 points– all in the first half– for the Orioles.
At South Wayne, on Thursday, Dec. 14, the Lady Warriors charged out to a 42-4 first-half lead and rolled over the visiting Juda Panthers, 81-15, in a Six Rivers East affair.
Bailey Butler recorded 16 points, six assists and five steals, while Natalie Leuzinger contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, six assist and five steals. Hannah Butler chipped in with 16 points and five rebounds.
Kaylee Marty added eight points and freshman Macie Stauffacher scored seven for the Warriors, who allowed just five field goals on defense for the game.
Next up, Black Hawk hosts Darlington in a non-conference game on Thursday, Dec. 21.
Springville…….. 9 15 5 8 – 37
Black Hawk…… 11 14 16 14 – 55
Springville – Kane 6, Menster 10, Wagaman 5, Johnson 2, Jaeger 2, Nachazel 12. Totals – 13 11-18 37.
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 6, Natalie Leuzinger 11, Hannah Butler 17, Kaylee Marty 6, Maddy Huschitt 1, Bailey Butler 12, Sydney Delzer 2. Totals – 16 13-21 55.
3-point goals– S 0, BH 10 (Hagen 2, Leuzinger 1, H. Butler 2, Marty 2, B. Butler 3). Total fouls– S na, BH na. Fouled out– S: Wagaman, Jaeger.
Juda……………... 4 11 – 15
Black Hawk…….. 42 39 – 81
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 6, Natalie Leuzinger 15, Hannah Butler 16, Kaylee Marty 8, Maddy Huschitt 4, Bailey Butler 16, Sydney Delzer 4, Kristen Knapp 3, Macie Stauffacher 7, Cheyenne Stewart 2. Totals – 34 3-4 81.
Juda – Duecker 2, Powers 2, Golackson 4, Steinmann 3, Kammerer 4. 5 5-8 15.
3-point goals– BH 10 (Hagen 2, Leuzinger 1, H. Butler 2, Marty 2, B. Butler 1. Knapp 1, Stauffacher 1), J na (). Total fouls– BH 13, J na. Fouled out– None.