SOUTH WAYNE – Facing heavy turnover after graduating four starters from last year’s team, Black Hawk girls’ basketball coach Mike Flanagan knew his team would have to endure some adversity and suffer through some growing pains early in the season.
But, he never imagined the team would have to undergo so much adversity in just their opening week.
Flanagan’s Lady Warriors opened the season with a hard-fought 46-41 non-conference victory over an up-and-coming New Glarus team last Tuesday night.
However, that victory came at a cost as all-conference guard Jen Wellnitz suffered an apparent head injury late in the game when she fell to the ground on a drive to the basket, and she was forced to sit out Monday’s game against Potosi.
Without their star player, the Warriors were routed by their Six Rivers West foes, 69-33, to slip to 1-1 on the season.
At South Wayne, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, junior point guard Jen Wellnitz poured in a game-high 16 points along with 10 rebounds, nine assists and eight steals in leading the Lady Warriors over the visiting Glarner Knights, 46-41, in their season opener.
“Well, as so many first games go, certain aspects of the game were somewhat difficult. We missed a lot of easy opportunities, shot free throws poorly, and were careless with the ball at times. However, we are very pleased to have found a way to come out on top against an experienced New Glarus squad,” said Coach Mike Flanagan.
In the end, it came down to being tough in what ended up a very physical game. We made just enough plays to hold on for the win. Also, we got after the offensive glass very aggressively, which helped to produce many more scoring opportunities than our opponents.”
The hosts took a 19-14 lead into the locker room at the halftime break, and then withstood a charge from the Knights (1-1 overall) in the second half to hang on to the lead until the final horn.
New Glarus tallied more points (15) in the third quarter than they did in the entire first half (14), but they still trailed the Warriors, 32-29, at the end of the period after junior center Mikayla Sigafus scored eight of her 12 points in the quarter to help the hosts keep pace.
The Knights remained within a striking distance the whole fourth quarter, but a key putback by junior Michelle Flanagan with under three minutes remaining gave Black Hawk a four-point cushion and the Warriors forced three turnovers in the final 90 seconds of play to secure the win.
Sigafus added nine rebounds on the night, while Flanagan finished with seven points and two steals. Senior Abby Schiferl also netted seven points for the Warriors.
“I thought some kids stepped up and filled some roles that we needed them to. In particular, Sigafus, Schiferl and Flanagan showed some potential for scoring. Tessa Cushman and Olivia Holland played some good defense, and Tatum Jackson as a freshman made some good hustle plays. All in all, many players contributed to the victory,” noted Flanagan.
At Potosi, on Monday, the host Chieftains took advantage of a Warriors’ team playing without their star player as they jumped out to a 15-4 first-quarter lead and never looked back in rolling to a 69-33 non-conference decision.
Potosi (1-0) build up a 37-14 advantage by the intermission, and then outscored the Warriors by a 32-19 margin in the second half to put the finishing touches on the rout.
Haley Flesch led three Chieftains in double figures with 16 points, while Tiffany Langmeier chipped in with 11 and Abby Ames added 10 for the hosts.
Mikayla Sigafus paced the Warriors with 15 points, while Abby Schiferl and Michelle Flanagan added five apiece.
Black Hawk has another tough non-conference game in store from them when they head to Benton High School to face Shullsburg/Benton on Friday, Nov. 30.
New Glarus… 7 7 15 12 - 41
Black Hawk… 10 9 13 14 - 46
Scoring Leaders: Jen Wellnitz 16, Mikayla Sigafus 12, Abby Schiferl 7, Michelle Flanagan 7, Tessa Cushman 2, Olivia Holland 2.
Black Hawk… 4 10 10 9 - 33
Potosi…....…. 15 22 16 16 - 69
Scoring Leaders: Mikayla Sigafus 15, Abby Schiferl 5, Michelle Flanagan 5, Tessa Cushman 4, Marissa Monson 2, Kortney Hull 1, Kassy Paulson 1.