Sun Prairie gets revenge on Janesville Craig
SUN PRAIRIE—Riding its first four-game winning streak since the opening two weeks of the season, Janesville Craig coach Mike Miller and his players said the prior week off yielded some solid practices, exciting for a group trying to erase the memory of last month’s six-game skid.
All the practice in the world, however, doesn’t make up for lack of execution.
Outscoring the visiting Cougars in every quarter, Sun Prairie avenged a four-point December loss to Janesville Craig with a 62-45 Big Eight victory Friday, extending the Cardinals own winning streak to five games.
The Cougars (9-8, 7-7) had three players in double figures—led by senior Jerry Ngobi’s 16 points—but struggled to keep up after the Cardinals (11-6, 9-4) opened the second half on a 13-5 run to make it 48-32.
“We came in with the right mindset and we used that mindset in the first half to work really hard,” said Cougars senior guard Mike Murphy, who had 10 points. “In the second half, Sun Prairie came out with a lot of intensity. We tried to handle it the best we could, but their length is something skill can’t beat. It’s hard to get past that.”
Starting the game in a 13-3 hole, Craig cut the deficit to one possession in the second quarter, but could get no closer because of junior guard Nick Noskowiak. A verbal commit to play for Marquette, Noskowiak scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in the quarter, including five straight after the Cougars made it 23-20.
The Cougars managed only 15 made field goals against the Cardinals’ 1-3-1 zone defense, making only three shots in the third quarter.
“The whole night we didn’t shoot the ball very well,” Miller said. “We’ve had streaks where we’ve shot around 60 percent and tonight we missed threes and layups. Every time we made a run, we didn’t have enough to push it over the top.”
In a four-way tie for third place in the conference—and with three of their next four games on the road, including a Feb. 15 matchup at one-loss Madison Memorial—Murphy doesn’t see a lingering effect from what amounted to an off night.
“We’ve been a confident team all year,” said Murphy. “We know tournament time is coming up, and these games are important. We just have to keep our confidence up. A game like this hurts us, but we’ll get back to practice and get to work."