BELMONT – Coaches often say that basketball is a game of runs and on Saturday the two biggest runs went Black Hawk’s way.
The Lady Warriors (2-0 overall) broke off on a 13-0 scoring run during an eight-minute span in the first half to jump ahead of Belmont (2-1), and then charged off on a 17-1 run during a four-minute span in the second half to pull away for a 49-31 non-conference victory over the Braves at BHS on Saturday, Nov. 28.
“It is a momentum game and sometimes you get those stretches where things come together for you and fall apart for the other team. That’s when those runs happen,” said Black Hawk head coach Michael Flanagan. “For us to stretch it from a four-point lead to a 20-point differential shows the maturation of this team.”
A three-point play by Brianna Ernst put the Braves up 8-7 with 13:14 remaining in the first half, but Black Hawk’s sophomore guard Hannah Herbst and junior forward Sammy Lovelace combined to score the next 13 points to put the Warriors ahead 20-8.
“I thought our press was very effective there. We made some good reads, and we did a good job of getting into position to force turnovers,” noted Flanagan.
Belmont head coach Alan Seabrooke felt his team did a good job of handling Black Hawk’s press initially, but things started to snowball a bit during their near eight-minute scoreless drought.
“Early in the game, we did a good job of breaking their press. After we made a few mistakes, we panicked a little bit and turned it over a few times,” stated Seabrooke. “When we calmed down, we were able to handle it.”
The Braves answered back with eight unanswered points of their own late in the first to cut the deficit 20-16.
A basket by Herbst to close the half set the Warriors into the intermission leading 22-16.
Belmont got back within four at 27-23 on a 3-pointer by senior guard Brook Knebel with 11:27 remaining, but the Warriors fired back with back-to-back treys by Herbst and senior Brooke Moore which kicked off a 17-1 run that extended their lead to 44-24 with under seven minutes to play.
Herbst, who was held scoreless by Darlington in Black Hawk’s opener, sank two of the Warriors’ five 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 23 points and she also led the team with seven rebounds and seven steals.
Lovelace came off the bench for eight points and five assists, while Moore, Brianna Hagen and Aleigha Sigafus each chipped in with four points. Tatum Jackson pulled down five boards and had five assists for the Warriors.
“(Hannah’s) someone we’re looking for to compliment Aleigha on offense. Today, she showed up. Sam is really playing well. She’s got some skills that stretch defenses a little bit. I’m proud of her progress,” Flanagan commented.
Sigafus was the focus for the Belmont defense after she went off for a school-record 39 points in Black Hawk’s overtime victory over Darlington in their opener, and Seabrooke liked the way his squad made things tough for her.
“Our post players did a great job on Sigafus. We were trying to shut her down and make some of their other kids hit shots. They did that. They hit some tough shots,” said Seabrooke.
Ernst finished with eight points to lead Belmont. Seniors Alie Klein and CJ Vickerman each added six points for the Braves.
Belmont opened the week by defeating Southwestern, 53-35, in a non-conference game in Hazel Green.
The Lady Braves jumped out to a 29-17 first-half lead on the host Wildcats (0-2), and then outscored them 24-18 in the second half to put away the victory.
Alie Klien led all scorers with 13 points, and she added six rebounds and two steals to pace the Braves.
Brook Knebel tallied 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals on the night, while Briana Ernst contributed eight points, six rebounds and two steals and Nicole Knebel chipped in with eight points, two assists and two blocked shots.
Belmont opens Six Rivers West play at home against River Ridge on Friday, Dec. 4. The Braves also have a non-conference home game against Albany on Monday, Dec. 7.
Black Hawk begins Six Rivers East play at Albany on Friday, Dec. 4, and they return home to face Edgerton in a non-conference affair on Monday, Dec. 7.
Black Hawk… 22 27 – 49
Belmont…….. 16 15 – 31
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 4, Hannah Herbst 23, Aleigha Sigafus 4, Melissa Flanagan 3, Brooke Moore 4, Sammy Lovelace 8, Tatum Jackson 3. Totals – 21 2-6 49.
Belmont – Kassandra Palzkill 4, Briana Ernst 8, Lydia Leahy 1, Alie Klein 6, Caitlyn Gilbertson 3, Brook Knebel 3, CJ Vickerman 6. Totals – 12 6-12 31.
3-point goals– BH 5 (Herbst 2, Flanagan, Moore, Jackson), BEL 1 (B. Knebel ). Total fouls– BH NA, BEL NA.
Belmont……….. 29 24 – 53
Southwestern… 17 18 – 35
Belmont – Nicole Knebel 8, Kassandra Palzkill 4, Briana Ernst 8, Lydia Leahy 2, Alie Klein 13, Caitlyn Gilbertson 5, Brook Knebel 11, Ashlyn Austin 2. Totals – 22 6-11 53.
Southwestern – Brand 10, Kruser 9, Riniker 2, Budden 5, Kunkel 5, Kemp 4. Totals – 12 7-15 35.
3-point goals– B 3 (N. Knebel, Klein, B. Knebel), S 4 (Brand 3, Kunkel). Total fouls– B 18, S 20.