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Poor shooting, rebounding melts Comets
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ALBANY - Black Hawk looked like the third-ranked team in the state Thursday, whereas Albany hardly resembled the team that was within four points of the Warriors just a month ago.

The Comets shot just 11 percent from the field and were out-rebounded by a wide margin to Black Hawk, losing 61-13.

"We had no matchup with them at either end," Albany head coach Mike Brunhoefer said. "At their place, we were down by four. What changed? To their credit, they played like they belong at No. 3 (in the state). I'm glad we don't have to face them in the regional."

Albany (10-10, 5-6 Six Rivers East) shot 2 of 17 from beyond the arc and 4 of 36 from the field.

"At halftime, I told the girls that 'If you are open for any second, you shoot, because they don't give you many opportunities to shoot," Brunhoefer said. "Unfortunately everything we shot - good or bad - wouldn't go in."

Meanwhile, Black Hawk (19-1, 11-0) shot 37.7 percent from the field, including a 6-for-13 mark from distance, and had three players combine for 27 rebounds. Katie Place (11 rebounds, 10 points), Rachel Rygh (eight rebounds, 10 points) and Kim Wellnitz (eight rebounds, nine points) allowed the Warriors to take numerous second- and third-chance shots.

"Katie Place had a good night," Black Hawk head coach Mike Flanagan said. "We did a good job early in touching the post. I thought we challenged every possession on offense and defense."

Albany had just 15 rebounds in the game, including two defensive rebounds in the second half. For turnovers, Black Hawk, which had 20 give-aways, actually exceeded Albany (18), despite the Warriors' reputation of running a vicious press.

"Their second- and third-rebounding shots killed us. We couldn't stop them. What do you do?," Brunhoefer said. "But my kids never stopped. They played 100 percent the entire game. They could have easily folded and sat on the sideline, but they wanted to keep playing and not quit."

The Warriors jumped out to a 9-0 lead and led 15-2 after the first quarter. A 16-0 run that spanned from the first to the second quarter helped Black Hawk mosey to a 25-2 advantage. Albany's deficit reached 25 late in the half, but a late 3-pointer by Courtney Pfeuti (six points) made it 30-8 at the half.

"We had good balance (in scoring) and that's kind of what our goal has been," Flanagan said.

Nine Warriors scored in the game. Chaesta Shager had three 3s (her only points in the game) and Katie Quinn added seven.

Black Hawk never stopped running its offense and contesting shots in the second half. The Warriors outscored the Comets 17-1 in the third and 14-4 in the fourth.

"I just have to say how proud I am of our reserves. They played the whole fourth quarter and got a lot of reps against a lot of varsity starters. But that's because Albany can't sub because of numbers," Flanagan said.

With the win, Black Hawk wraps up its second-straight conference title. A year ago, the Warriors tied Barneveld atop the Six Rivers East, but this season Black Hawk won the championship outright.

"We came into the year wanting it by ourselves. The Six Rivers East is a good enough conference that if you can find a way to win you're setting yourself up to play good basketball in the postseason," Flanagan said.

The Warriors travel to Mineral Point March 1, and Albany goes to Barneveld March 5 to close out the season.