OCONOMOWOC — Black Hawk’s team motto this season has been “Run Through Walls”. Last Saturday afternoon, the top-ranked Lady Warriors ran through Hustisford to capture a sectional crown and earn the program’s first state tournament berth since 2011.
The undefeated Lady Warriors (27-0 overall) overwhelmed the Falcons (18-9) in the first half, forcing 25 turnovers on the way towards building a 37-13 halftime lead, and they rode that momentum to an 81-41 victory in a WIAA Division 5 sectional final girls’ basketball game held at Oconomowoc High School on Saturday, March 1.
“It’s crazy. I am on cloud nine right now. I’m just savoring this moment– soaking it all in,” said Black Hawk senior Hannah Herbst. “This doesn’t happen all the time. Not many teams in the state get this opportunity.”
Black Hawk will be making their first state appearance since their three-year run from 2009 to 2011 and, after receiving the top-seed in D5, the Warriors will face a familiar foe in #4-seeded and #9-ranked Newman Catholic (21-6) at Green Bay’s Resch Center on Friday, March 9, beginning at 9:05 a.m.
The Fighting Cardinals had their way with Black Hawk in their last two state trips, defeating the Warriors, 64-30, in a D4 state championship game in 2010 and knocking off the Warriors, 64-40, in a state semifinal game in 2011 en route to a D5 state title. Newman Catholic is making its 10th state appearance and first since 2013.
Friday’s winner will advance to the D5 championship game on Saturday, March 10, at 11:05 a.m. to face the winner of Friday’s other D5 semifinal game between #2-seeded and #3-ranked Bangor (24-3) and #3-seeded and #6-ranked Clayton (24-3).
Black Hawk turned a bevy of Hustisford turnovers into quick points in transition to blast out to a 24-point halftime lead in Saturday’s sectional game. Sophomore Natalie Leuzinger tallied nine of her game-high 22 points for the Warriors in the opening half, and freshman Bailey Butler went off for 12 of her 21 points during the first half as well.
Leuzinger committed six steals in the game, while B. Butler filled the stat book with nine rebounds, seven steals and six assists.
The Warriors worked all 13 of their players into the game in both halves, and they got some key contributions up and down the line-up. Sophomore Hannah Butler provided eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while freshman Kaylee Marty chipped in with nine points and seniors Abby Argall and Herbst added eight and six points, respectively.
“Any time a kid gets a chance to get rewarded for hard work, it makes everybody on our team happy,” said Black Hawk head coach Michael Flanagan, who will lead the Warriors to state for the fourth time in his 12-year coaching career. “I think the biggest thing I’m proud about is how excited our kids, one through 13, get about each other– genuinely excited. When the reserves are out there and making plays and those other kids get so excited, it just shows how much they care about each other.”
Black Hawk advanced to the sectional final by battling toe-to-toe with Central Wisconsin Christian in a hard-fought sectional semifinal game played at Verona Area High School on Thursday, March 1.
The Crusaders (21-5) used their height advantage to give the Warriors fits on offense early in the game, but the Warriors cranked up the full-court pressure on defense and forced a variety of turnovers to keep their foe off the scoreboard.
Black Hawk maintained a 25-11 advantage heading into the halftime break.
“We had to get past the shock-and-awe of having our shots blocked a few times. Their height certainly gave us trouble,” said Coach Flanagan. “You think about the plays that demoralize an opponent– you take a charge, you get a 5- or 10-second defensive play, those are demoralizing plays. You talk about momentum plays and you can see how excited our kids get because they know how high the value is and what it does to the other team.”
After reeling off 13 unanswered points during a span in the first half to grab control of the game, the Warriors ripped off the first nine points of the second half to open up an imposing 34-11 advantage. The lead swelled to as many as 28 points midway through the second half before putting away the Crusaders, 46-22.
Leuzinger netted a game-high 15 points and B. Butler turned in another big all-around night with 10 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals for the Warriors, who were held to a season-low 46-point output.
H. Butler tallied eight points along with 10 rebounds and four steals, while Herbst added six points as she and fellow senior Brianna Hagen became the fifth and sixth team members to go over the 100-point mark for the season in the game.
WIAA DIVISION 5 SECTIONAL SEMIFINAL
Hustisford……….. 13 28 – 41
Black Hawk……… 37 44 – 81
Hustisford– Not available. Totals – na.
Black Hawk – Hannah Herbst 6, Natalie Leuzinger 22, Hannah Butler 8, Kaylee Marty 9, Maddy Huschitt 4, Bailey Butler 21, Abby Argall 8, Kristen Knapp 3. Totals – 34 5-10 81.
3-point goals– H na (), BH 8 (Leuzinger 2, H. Butler 2, B. Butler 3, Knapp 1). Total fouls– H na, BH 14. Fouled out– None.
WIAA DIVISION 5 SECTIONAL FINAL
Cent Wisc Christian… 11 11 – 22
Black Hawk…………… 25 21 – 46
CWC – Zuhlke 1, VanDenBerg 9, Jansen 5, Schouten 2, DeYoung 5. Totals – 0 0-0 22.
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 2, Hannah Herbst 6, Natalie Leuzinger 15, Hannah Butler 8, Bailey Butler 10, Abby Argall 2, Sydney Delzer 3. Totals – 19 4-4 46.
3-point goals– CWC na (), BH 4 (Leuzinger 1, B. Butler 2, Delzer 1). Total fouls– CWC na, BH 15. Fouled out– None.
3 Brenna Groenewold 5’3” 2018
4 Autumn Zuhlke 5’7” 2020
5 Melissa VanDenBerg 6’1” 2019
10 Claire Jansen 5’7” 2019
11 Grace Miller 5’2” 2019
12 Maylee Kok 5’4” 2018
15 Alexa Regnerus 6’1” 2018
20 Jolie Schouten 5’6” 2021
21 Courtney DeVries 5’10” 2019
23 Faith Hoksbergen 5’8” 2019
24 Mikayla Zonnefeld 5’11” 2019
30 Makayla DeYoung F 6’1” 2018
32 Kaitlyn Smits 5’6” 2019