SOUTH WAYNE – Black Hawk went on the road three times last week and solidified their position as the top team in the Six Rivers East and one of the top teams in the state in Division 5 with three impressive victories over three tough competitors.
The #2-ranked Lady Warriors (15-0 overall, 7-0 SRE) opened up a two-game lead atop the East standings after taking down defending champion Barneveld, 64-44, at Barneveld on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and title contender Argyle, 63-32, in a make-up game at AHS on Saturday, Jan. 28.
Black Hawk added a come-from-behind non-conference 59-52 victory over the host Benton Zephyrs in another make-up game on Friday, Jan. 27, to remain unbeaten on the season.
Saturday’s victory over the Orioles proved to be even more special for head coach Mike Flanagan as it was the 200th win of his 11-year coaching career at Black Hawk and his 100th conference win at the helm of the Warriors.
“The numbers are just proof that we have had a lot of good athletes here at Black Hawk. They found a way to make me look good, which isn’t easy,” quipped a humble Flanagan after Saturday’s win. “I don’t take a whole lot of credit for it because I’ve been blessed with a lot of great players and they’re the ones who have done all this. I’ve had a really small role in it. I’m the beneficiary of all those kids’ efforts. You’re going to get some wins if you stick around for awhile.”
Win number 198 gave the Lady Warriors a season sweep over Barneveld (10-7, 5-2). Down 10-3 in the early going, Flanagan’s squad rallied by outscoring the Golden Eagles 31-12 the rest of the way in the first half to grab a 34-22 halftime lead.
Black Hawk continued to add to their lead in the second half before eventually pulling away for a 20-point victory.
“We’re just fortunate we were able to find some ways to make plays. We did a good job of taking away some things they wanted to do and exploiting some things they gave us,” Flanagan said. “It’s a tough place to play. To walk out of there with any type of victory says something, but a convincing one was pretty satisfying.”
Freshman Natalie Leuzinger scored 18 of her game-high 23 points in the opening half to rally the Warriors and pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double, while fellow freshman Hannah Butler added 11 of her 15 points in the first half and finished with nine rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Senior Sammy Lovelace chipped in with a career-high 13 points for Black Hawk.
At Benton, on Friday night, the Warriors found themselves behind at the intermission, 28-27, but outscored the host Zephyrs (9-5) by a 32-24 margin in the second half to rally for a 59-52 win.
Junior guard Hannah Herbst poured in a season-high 16 points to lead for Warriors in double figures and she also dished out six assists. Lovelace tallied 13 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Butler contributed 13 points and three steals and Leuzinger added 12 points, six rebounds and three assists.
Finally, at Argyle on Saturday evening, the Warriors wrapped up an eventful week on the hardwood by routing the second-place Orioles (7-10, 5-2) by a score of 63-32 in SRE action.
Argyle came out ready the battle the East leaders early on, but the Warriors would build up a 31-17 cushion by the halftime break. A 13-2 scoring run by Black Hawk to open the second half pushed the lead to 43-19 and they cruised from there to secure Flanagan’s milestone victory.
“We’re going to get every team’s best at this point. That’s the mantra we’ve been trying to preach to the team. We came out at halftime and cleaned up a few things.”
Leuzinger recorded another double-double with a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds. Butler chipped in with 12 points, four assists and two steals, while Herbst scored eight points and registered six steals for the Warriors.
“You got a lot of people talking about our record and ranking. It can weigh on the kids. We try as much as we can to minimize that talk, but they still hear that stuff. It’s a burden they carry around on their shoulders. I tip the hat to our team for staying focused, persevering and continuing to find ways to win games,” stated Flanagan.
Black Hawk hits the road for a SRE game at Albany (2-15, 1-6) on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m., and a non-conference contest at Potosi (8-8) on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 2:30 p.m. The Warriors return home to host Pecatonica (0-15, 0-7) in SRE action on Tuesday, Feb. 7, also at 7 p.m.
Black Hawk………… 31 32 – 63
Argyle………………. 17 15 – 32
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 2, Hannah Herbst 8, Natalie Leuzinger 22, Hannah Butler 12, Maddy Huschitt 3, Sammy Lovelace 6, Abby Argall 4, Sydney Delzer 4, Cheyenne Stewart 2. Totals – 24 10-18 63.
Argyle – Nelson 2, Granberg 2, Leigh 2, Ostby 3, James 2, Lantz 9, Je. Saalsaa 7, Ja. Saalsaa 4. Totals – 13 4-9 32.
3-point goals– BH 5 (Leuzinger 4, Huschitt 1), A 2 (Lantz 1, Je. Saalsaa 1). Total fouls– BH 11, A 17. Fouled out– none.
Black Hawk………. 34 30 – 64
Barneveld………… 22 22 – 44
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 6, Hannah Herbst 4, Natalie Leuzinger 23, Hannah Butler 15, Maddy Huschitt 3, Sammy Lovelace 13. Totals – 19 22-31 64.
Barneveld – Schutz 3, Sutter 2, Walker 4, Ta. Pickarts 10, Skaife 8, Te. Pickarts 18. Totals – 15 10-17 44.
3-point goals– BH 4 (Hagen 1, Leuzinger 2, Huschitt 1), BA 4 (Schutz 1, Ta. Pickarts 2, Te. Pickarts 1). Total fouls– BH 21, BA 21. Fouled out– BH: Huschitt.
Black Hawk……………. 27 32 – 59
Benton…………………. 28 24 – 52
Black Hawk – Hannah Herbst 16, Natalie Leuzinger 12, Hannah Butler 13, Maddy Huschitt 3, Sammy Lovelace 13, Abby Argall 2. Totals – 22 7-15 59.
Benton – Ally Jansen 5, Brianna Mellenberger 3, Emma Lawrence 13, Paige Murphy 2, Jordan Busch 2, Lily Carver 16, Kayla Dougherty 11. Totals – 19 6-9 52.
3-point goals– BH 8 (Herbst 2, Leuzinger 1, Butler 3, Lovelace 2), BE 8 (Jansen 1, Mellenberger 1, Lawrence 1, Carver 3, K. Dougherty 2). Total fouls– BH 12, BE 15. Fouled out– None.