Craig girls pull upset against Middleton
JANESVILLE—About once or twice a year, a high school athlete puts on the type of performance that is talked about for years.
Delaney Schoenenberger had one of those special moments Friday night.
The Janesville Craig sophomore had 19 points, including the game-winning basket with four seconds left, and played defense against the Big Eight's top shooter like she was possessed. It helped the Cougars' to a 63-61 victory over sixth-ranked Middleton.
The Cardinals came into the game riding an 11-game winning streak and looking to clinch a share of the conference title, but Schoenenberger and junior guard Al Hughes spoiled the party plans.
Hughes had a game-high 23 points, but Schoenenberger stole the show. With her team trailing 61-60, Schoenenberger grabbed a Hughes miss and scored underneath to give her team a 62-61 lead. Middleton (17-3, 15-1) tried to throw a full-court pass to Liz McMahon on the ensuing inbounds play, but Aleyha Slatter stole the ball, was fouled and made one free throw for the final margin.
Despite the career-high scoring night, Schoenenberger's work on the defensive end was the real story. Middleton's Elizabeth Norregaard came in averaging 15 points a game and had scored 19 in her team's win against Craig earlier in the season. Schoenenberger blanketed her from the opening tip and held the sharpshooter scoreless.
“I just wanted to play her tough and try to frustrate her,” Schoenenberger said. “It's all about doing what is best for our team.
“We were confident coming in because we knew we could play with Middleton. At the end, it was just a matter of somebody making a play, and I was fortunate to be able to do that.”
Craig (15-4, 12-4) led by 14 at half thanks to a 25-point second quarter. Middleton made a run in the third to cut the lead to eight, but Craig pushed the margin back to 10 heading to the fourth.
There, the Cardinals took advantage of the cold-shooting Cougars to crawl back into the game. Craig missed its first 10 shots of the quarter, and Middleton pecked away before eventually tying the game at 55-55 with 2:36 left. The Cardinals took a brief lead at 57-55, but Schoenenberger drained a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:22 left to give her team a 58-57 lead.
“I knew Middleton was going to make a run at some point,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “They didn't come in here undefeated in our conference for no reason. They're too good of a team.
“But give our girls credit. They hung tough, made their foul shots and proved they belonged on the court with the sixth-ranked team in the state.”
CRAIG 63, MIDDLETON 61
Middleton (61)—Lemirande, 2-4-8; McMahon, 5-0-10; Douglas, 2-5-9; Jordee, 3-3-9; Thomas, 4-3-11; Raffel, 1-0-2; Bunyan, 3-0-6; Bergum, 0-1-1; Blair, 2-0-5. Totals: 22-16-61.
Craig (63)—Hughes, 7-8-23; Slatter, 3-3-9; Calkins, 0-2-2; Schoenenberger, 7-4-19; Foster, 2-3-7; Pierson, 1-0-3. Totals: 20-20-63.
Middleton 13 15 15 18—61
Janesville Craig 17 25 11 10—63
Three-point goals—Middleton 1 (Blair), Craig 3 (Pierson, Hughes, Schoenenberger). Free throws missed—Middleton 15, Craig 4. Total fouls—Middleton 21, Craig 20. Fouled out—Slatter.