SOUTH WAYNE – It took overtime and a record-setting performance by Black Hawk senior Aleigha Sigafus in order for the Lady Warriors to rally past Darlington in both team’s season opener.
Sigafus poured in 26 of her school-record 39 points in the second half, including 11 in overtime, to lift the Warriors over the visiting Redbirds, 64-58, at BHHS on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
Sigafus connected on 12-of-18 shots from the field and 15-of-19 attempts from the free throw line on her way to a career-high 39 points, which tops previous record holders Angie Butler and Jen Wellnitz who shared the previous Black Hawk record with 36 points.
“She found ways to get quality touches and (her teammates) found ways to get her quality touches,” said Black Hawk head coach Mike Flanagan. “Early on, she was very passive (on offense). I told her I was not going to let her do that. We had to bench her a couple of times to talk to her about making sure she didn’t disappear. I thought she responded.”
Darlington (0-1 overall) used a 9-0 scoring run to erase an early deficit and grab a 12-6 lead on the Warriors (1-0).
Junior guard Callie Norton sank a pair of 3-pointers and netted the team’s first eight points to lead the ‘Birds, while junior forward Taryn Rankin added six points to lift the guests to a 24-16 advantage with just over two minutes remaining in the first half. Black Hawk closed the half on a 6-0 run to trim the gap to 24-22.
The Redbirds outscored the Warriors, 13-2, over the first four minutes, 34 seconds of the second half to take their largest lead of the night at 37-24, but they were unable to hold off the hosts.
A banked-in trey by senior guard Brooke Moore cut the Redbirds’ lead to 41-35 with just over eight minutes remaining, and then Sigafus scored 14 straight points for the Warriors to pull them even with the ‘Birds at 49 all with 1:36 remaining.
A basket by sophomore Kennedy Rankin and a free throw by Norton put the Redbirds back up by three with just 13.3 seconds to play in the second half.
With time ticking away, Warrior senior Tatum Jackson buried a game-tying 3-pointer to deadlock the score at 52-52 and send the game into overtime.
“The shot she hit, you weren’t thinking it was going to happen. It was her only points of the night,” admitted Flanagan.
A Norton basket put the Redbirds up 54-52 early in the extra session, but the Warriors fought back to take their first lead since early in the first half on a three-point play by Sigafus with 1:05 to go.
Moore hit one of two free throws and Sigafus went 4-for-4 at the line over the final 23 seconds of play to secure the victory for the Warriors.
“I told the team in the locker room after the game that the team I coached last year– which is basically the same team as this year– would have lost that game. This team decided they weren’t going to lose it,” commented Flanagan.
For Darlington head coach Kelly Rose, it all came down to conditioning for her young team.
“We’re still relatively young. We have some good returners coming back. We just need a little bit more game experience to finish games like this out. Just a little bit more conditioning and getting used to a little more pressure and game time situations,” she said.
The Warriors finished 23-for-34 from the line in the game, while the Redbirds got to the line just eight times all night and hit just three of their free throws. Black Hawk went 18-for-25 at the stripe in the second half, including an 8-for-13 effort in overtime.
“Getting to the free throw line is such a priority for us. Last year we weren’t good at it. Tonight, we got there and got there when it counted,” Flanagan said.
Sigafus added 11 rebounds to go with her 39 points for a double-double, and she added three steals and two assists.
“It was a great night for her. Hopefully, it’s a sign of good things to come for her this season. She’s got to understand that teams are going to give her a lot of attention after this,” stated Flanagan.
Moore tallied nine points, four rebounds and two steals, while Samantha Lovelace chipped in with eight points three steals and two assists. Guard Hannah Herbst pulled down six rebounds and had three assists and three steals for the Warriors.
“We need to find a way to get better balance in our scoring,” admitted Flanagan.
Norton scored 10 points in each half to lead the Redbirds with 20 points. T. Rankin followed with 12 points, while K. Rankin netted eight points and Taylor Jacobson added seven points.
“I told them that you have to learn from this, but you have to learn from this now and then move on,” said Rose.
Darlington’s home opener against Pecatonica on Friday evening was postponed due to a snowstorm. The game has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.
Black Hawk returns to action with a non-conference game at Belmont on Saturday, Nov. 28, starting at 2:30 p.m. The Warriors also have a non-conference game at Warren on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m.
Darlington is scheduled to host Dodgeville in a non-conference contest on Tuesday, Dec. 1, also at 7:30 p.m.
Darlington….. 24 28 6 – 58
Black Hawk… 22 30 12 – 64
Darlington – Callie Norton 20, Sadie Fitzsimons 5, Molly McDaniel 4, Taryn Rankin 12, Taylor Jacobson 7, Kennedy Rankin 8, Hannah Kelly 2. Totals – 26 3-14 58.
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 5, Aleigha Sigafus 39, Brooke Moore 9, Sammy Lovelace 8, Tatum Jackson 3. Totals – 19 23-34 64.
3-point goals– D 3 (Norton 2, Fitzsimons 1), BH 3 (Hagen 1, Moore 1, Jackson 1). Total fouls – D na, BH na. Fouled out– D: Norton.