SOUTH WAYNE – After taking an unwanted 12-day break from competition, the Black Hawk Warriors girls’ basketball team returned to the court and remained unbeaten on the season by using a pair of strong second-half performances to pull away from Juda and Platteville for two hard-earned victories.
The #5-ranked Lady Warriors (12-0 overall, 5-0 SRE) outscored the visiting Panthers (9-6, 3-2) by a 27-14 margin in the second half to put the finishing touches on a 53-31 Six Rivers East victory in South Wayne, on Thursday, Jan. 19, and they went to Platteville on Saturday, Jan. 21, and knocked off the SWC-leading Lady Hillmen (10-4) by a score of 76-55 in a non-conference make-up game from Dec. 19.
“We are very fortunate that Juda is a good basketball team and played us like a good basketball team that night because that was no easy victory. We needed to walk out of that game with some quality reps, and we benefited from their intensity and their motor. I think that if we didn’t have that game and went into Platteville cold, it’s probably a different outcome,” said Black Hawk head coach Mike Flanagan.
“We never dreamt that we’d be able to win by that kind of margin against a team like Platteville. They are really good. Our kids are gritty and they handle adjustments really well.”
At home against Juda on Thursday, the Warriors built up a 26-17 halftime lead, but some slight changes in the locker room during the intermission allowed them to pull away in the second half.
Natalie Leuzinger dropped in a game-high 19 points, pulled down eight rebounds and had four steals to lead the Warriors’ phenomenal freshmen trio. Maddy Huschitt added 10 points and five assists, while Hannah Butler chipped in with nine points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Junior point guard Hannah Herbst tallied seven points for Black Hawk.
Chelsea Burkhalter scored 11 to pace the Panthers.
At PHS on Saturday afternoon, the Warriors used a 26-7 scoring run in the first half to turn a 10-5 deficit into a 31-17 advantage with 6:22 to play in the half, however the Hillmen held them scoreless the rest of the stanza, closing the half with 10 unanswered points to trim the gap back to 31-27 at the break.
The Hillmen got as close as two points on four occasions early in the second half, but Black Hawk never gave up the lead. A 17-5 scoring spurt put the Warriors back up by 14, and the hosts never got closer than 10 the rest of the game.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a game of runs. I thought coming out of halftime that if we could get something going we’d be okay. I can’t say enough about how these kids listen,” commented Flanagan.
Leuzinger had a monster game for Black Hawk, pouring in a season-high and game-high 30 points with four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Butler was equally impressive with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Herbst led the team with seven assists and three steals, while the Warriors also got big efforts off the bench from Huschitt with 11 points, four rebounds and two steals and sophomore Sydney Delzer with seven points, two rebounds and two steals.
“For Hannah to be the leader that she is and take these young kids her under wing, setting her ego aside to defer (scoring) to these talented young kids, I can’t say enough about her. She is our heart and soul,” said Flanagan.
“(Sydney) hasn’t been in these situations much, so for her to come into the game and get some of those deflections and steals she had and then to hit some shots like she did. That puts her up there for player of the game. Maddy is really starting to come into her own. The other two freshmen hit the floor running at the varsity level, while she needed to see it a bit. Now, the game is slowing down for her and she’’s going to continue to make plays for us.”
Platteville freshman Sami Martin registered a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the hosts. Junior Skye Digman added 15 points for the Hillmen.
Black Hawk heads to Benton for a non-conference make-up game on Friday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m., and the Warriors return to SRE action with a make-up game on Saturday, Jan. 28, also at 7 p.m.
Black Hawk’s originally schedule game against Randolph on Saturday at Randolph at the JustAgame Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Dells was cancelled. The two teams will not make up the game this season.
Juda………………. 17 14 – 31
Black Hawk……… 26 27 – 53
Juda – Jordan 6, Goecks 8, Byrne 2, Duecker 4, Burkhalter 11. Totals – 0 0-0 0.
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 2, Hannah Herbst 7, Natalie Leuzinger 19, Hannah Butler 9, Mia Jackson 2, Maddy Huschitt 10, Sammy Lovelace 2, Abby Argall 2. Totals – 21 6-10 53.
3-point goals– J na, BH 5 (Leuzinger 2, Huschitt 3). Total fouls– J na, BH 15. Fouled out– none.
Black Hawk………. 31 45 – 76
Platteville………… 27 28 – 55
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 2, Hannah Herbst 2, Natalie Leuzinger 30, Hannah Butler 20, Maddy Huschitt 11, Sammy Lovelace 2, Abby Argall 2, Sydney Delzer 7. Totals – 26 15-17 76.
Platteville – Josie Neis 6, Brelynn Updike 4, Rachel Bailie 5, Sami Brookens 2, Becca Hoyer 5, Sami Martin 18, Skye Digman 15. Totals – 20 14-28 55.
3-point goals– BH 7 (Leuzinger 4, Butler 2, Delzer 1), P 1 (Bailie 1). Total fouls– BH 22, P 24. Fouled out– BH: Hagen; P: Updike, Digman.