Memorial shows Craig same, old strength
Keaton Nankivil’s departure to the University of Wisconsin was supposed to leave a huge void in Madison Memorial High School’s boys basketball program.
The Spartans again proved here Saturday afternoon that they’re just fine without him.
Jeronne Maymon scored 22 points and big brother, Devonte, added 16 as Memorial eased past Janesville Craig, 56-44, in a Big Eight Conference game.
After opening the season Thursday with a 70-41 blowout of Madison East, the four-time defending Big Eight champion Spartans ran their conference-record winning streak to 38 games and again served notice that the road to the top still leads through them.
“I think with Keaton gone, people thought things were going to change,” Memorial coach Steve Collins said. “These kids took it personally. They feel like they’re still going to be a pretty good team with just a different look.
“We’re not really tall, but we’re long. We’re very athletic and have some kids with some long arms. That presents problems.”
Memorial (2-0, 2-0) presented problems for Craig (1-2, 0-2) from the opening tip. The Spartans started the game with a 14-3 run, capped by Jeronne Maymon’s jumper with 50 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Craig battled back behind a pair of three-point baskets, including junior Kyle Goike’s bomb with 4:58 left in the half that cut the Spartans’ lead to 18-12. Two free throws by Craig’s Brad Cagney sliced the lead to four with 2:40 left in the half, but Memorial closed the quarter with a 12-2 run to make it 32-18.
The Cougars got no closer than nine the second half, as 11 third-quarter turnovers hindered any hopes of a rally.
Craig coach Bob Suter saw enough of the Spartans to realize that there isn’t much of a dropoff in talent, despite Nankivil taking his skills to the University of Wisconsin.
“They’re still a very good basketball team,” Suter said of the Spartans. “I’m sure this wasn’t one of their better games, but even when they’re not at their best, they’re very formidable.
“For us, the second half was very encouraging. We showed that when we execute the way we’re supposed to, good things happen. You just have to do it for four quarters and not two.”
Lucas Burns was the only player in double figures for Craig. The Concordia-St. Paul recruit finished with 10 points, but only scored four in the second half.
“We have to get Lucas more touches than what we did today,” Suter said. “I don’t remember him taking a shot in the second half.
“When we worked the ball around and ran our offense. We did get some good looks, especially down low.”
Craig continues Big Eight play Friday night at Beloit Memorial.
MEMORIAL 56, CRAIG 44
Memorial (56)—Nkemnji, 1-2-4; D. Maymon, 6-2-16; Blue, 6-0-13; J. Maymon, 9-3-22; Lutz, 0-1-1. Totals: 22-8-56.
Craig (44)—Roherty, 1-0-3; Kennedy, 1-0-3; Goike, 2-3-8; Pregont, 4-0-8; Burns, 3-3-10; Uschan, 1-2-4; Clanfield, 1-0-2; Cagney, 1-2-4; Sims, 1-0-2. Totals: 15-10-44.
Madison Memorial 16 16 13 11—56
Janesville Craig 6 12 9 17—44
Three-point goals—Memorial 4 (D. Maymon 2, J. Maymon, Blue), Craig 4 (Burns, Roherty, Kennedy, Goike). Free throws missed—Memorial 4, Craig 3. Total fouls—Memorial 12, Craig 10.
Sophomores—Memorial 59, Craig 40. Craig is 0-3 overall, 0-2 in the Big Eight. Craig leading scorers: Evan Holznecht, 12; Brett Bates, 12.