SOUTH WAYNE — Black Hawk head coach Michael Flanagan knows that winning a regional title is not an easy thing to do. His Lady Warriors just made it look that way after winning their three tournament games by 32 points or more to roll to a WIAA Division 5 regional championship crown.
The #1-ranked and top-seeded Lady Warriors improved to 25-0 overall on the season and 16-0 at home after defeating #16-seed Madison Country Day, 96-21, in a regional quarterfinal game at BHHS on Tuesday, Feb. 20, and then dispatched #8-seed Albany, 71-39, in a regional semifinal contest back at home on Friday, Feb. 23, before taking down #4-seed Argyle, 79-47, in the regional final game at BHHS on Saturday, Feb. 24.
“We are so proud of these girls. Regional titles are not easy to win or they would occur much more frequently. The players value this honor very highly, and they worked very hard to make it a reality,” said Flanagan after leading the Warriors to their first regional crown since 2014. “We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity that this sectional week represents for us. We know that there are many teams who would love the chance, so we will honor that by competing as hard as we can.”
Black Hawk advances to sectionals on Thursday, March 1, where they will face #3-seed Central Wisconsin Christian (21-4) at Verona Area High School, starting at 7 p.m. The Crusaders defeated #2-seed and #4 ranked Fall River, 42-38, in a regional final last Saturday. The Pirates (22-2) had ended the Warriors’ season the previous two years.
“They have some formidable size with two 6’1” players in their starting line-up and have played a tough schedule. We will work hard over the course of three days to prepare for the challenge, knowing the stakes at hand,” reported Flanagan.
Thursday’s winner moves on to face either #8-ranked Lourdes Academy (19-5) or Hustisford (17-8) in a sectional final game at Oconomowoc High School on Saturday, March 3, at 1 p.m., with a state berth on the line.
The Warriors punched their ticket to sectionals by knocking down 12 3-pointers en route to a 79-47 victory over the Argyle Orioles.
Freshman guard Bailey Butler connected on four treys on the way to a team-high 20 points and she added five assists and four steals. Sophomore sister Hannah Butler tallied 11 points and eight rebounds, while senior Hannah Butler matched her season-high with 10 points and pulled down six rebounds in her last home appearance for the Warriors.
Sophomore Natalie Leuzinger chipped in with eight points, seven assists and four steals and sophomore Kristen Knapp added a career-high eight points off the bench for Black Hawk, who jumped out to a 45-20 lead in the first half on the Orioles (17-6).
“To beat Argyle, we had to make it about our strengths. We got out to a fast start and created some havoc with our press, forcing several 5-second and 10-second counts, and limited their first-half possessions. We also did a good job of converting, especially from behind the arc. When we are hitting perimeters and running the floor, we are difficult to defend,” admitted Flanagan.
Jena Saalsaa scored 13 of her team-high 20 points in the second half to lead Argyle, while Kirsten Ostby struck for 10 of her 19 points in the second half as well for the Orioles.
At South Wayne, on Friday, Feb. 23, Bailey Butler poured in 22 points and Natalie Leuzinger dropped in another 19 points to lead the Lady Warriors streaking past the Albany Comets, 71-39, in a semifinal showdown.
Black Hawk bolted out to a 42-13 advantage in the first half, and then outscored the Comets (10-14) by a 29-26 margin in the second half.
“Albany tried some different things offensively and defensively, so we had to stay true to our principles. With both of these regional semifinal and final opponents, facing them a third time required that we were able to respond to any adjustments or modifications they made coming into the final match-up,” said Flanagan.
Hannah Butler added nine points and senior Abby Argall scored six for the Warriors. Freshman Kaylee Marty led the team with six assists, while H. Butler had a team-best six rebounds and B. Butler made a team-high six steals.
Haley Freitag and Payton Zurfluh scored 11 points apiece to lead the Comets.
At South Wayne, on Tuesday, Feb. 20, Black Hawk had no problem getting into the groove of the post-season, jumping out to a 67-7 halftime lead on the visiting Prairie Hawks (1-22) and rolling to a 96-21 victory.
Bailey Butler finished with a career-high 24 points along with six rebounds, four assists and three steals to pace the Warriors’ attack. Hannah Butler tallied 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals on the night, and Natalie Leuzinger added 14 points and nine boards.
Abby Argall matched her career-high with eight points and Maddy Huschitt provided five steals and four assists as all 13 Warriors contributed to the victory, including 11 who scored in the game.
“In all three regional contests, we got contributions from so many players. As coaches, we are so pleased with how every kid on the roster has played a role in making this season such a success. All thirteen of these young ladies compete hard every single day, and their performance shows it. For so many kids to get a chance to showcase their abilities in such a significant stretch of games is ideal for our basketball family,” related Flanagan.
WIAA DIVISION 5 REGIONAL FINAL
Argyle………….. 20 27 – 47
Black Hawk…… 45 34 – 79
Argyle – Nelson 1, Ostby 19, Lantz 3, Je. Saalsaa 20, Ja. Saalsaa 2, Allison 2. Totals – 15 10-17 47.
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 3, Hannah Herbst 10, Natalie Leuzinger 8, Hannah Butler 11, Kaylee Marty 4, Maddy Huschitt 6, Bailey Butler 20, Sydney Delzer 4, Kristen Knapp 8, Macie Stauffacher 3, Cheyenne Stewart 2. Totals – 26 15-24 79.
3-point goals– A 7 (Ostby 4, Je. Saalsaa 3), BH 12 (Hagen 1, Herbst 1, H. Butler 1, Huschitt 2, B. Butler 4, Knapp 2, Macie Stauffacher 1). Total fouls– A 19, BH 18. Fouled out– None.
WIAA DIVISION 5 REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Albany…………. 13 26 – 39
Black Hawk…… 42 29 – 71
Albany – Kahler 1, Freitag 11, Holverson 3, Anderson 9, Beck 4, Zurfluh 11. Totals – 11 12-19 39.
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 5, Hannah Herbst 2, Natalie Leuzinger 19, Hannah Butler 9, Kaylee Marty 1, Maddy Huschitt 2, Bailey Butler 22, Abby Argall 6, Macie Stauffacher 3, Cheyenne Stewart 2. Totals – 27 9-13 71.
3-point goals– A 5 (Anderson 3, Zurfluh 2), BH 8 (Leuzinger 3, B. Butler 4, Stauffacher 1). Total fouls– A 11, BH 15. Fouled out– None.
WIAA DIVISION 5 REGIONAL QUARTERFINALS
Madison Co Day… 7 14 – 21
Black Hawk………. 67 29 – 96
MCD – Heisman 3, Nall 2, Schweber 2, Petzold 3, Possehl 2, Lauten 9. Totals – na.
Black Hawk – Brianna Hagen 3, Hannah Herbst 6, Natalie Leuzinger 14, Hannah Butler 17, Kaylee Marty 5, Maddy Huschitt 4, Bailey Butler 24, Abby Argall 8, Sydney Delzer 6, Macie Stauffacher 5, Cheyenne Stewart 4. Totals – 42 9-12 96.
3-point goals– MCD na, BH 3 (B. Butler 2, Stauffacher 1). Total fouls– MCD na, BH 5. Fouled out– none.