Craig girls win Optimist Classic

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December 29, 2007

Whitney Storbakken made sure that 2007 ended on a high note for Janesville Craig High School’s girls basketball team.

The Cougar junior broke loose for 15 second-half points to lead Craig to a 61-49 win over Oregon in the championship game of the Janesville Optimist Classic here Saturday night.

Craig (5-4) outscored the Panthers 14-2 to end the first half and maintained the momentum in the second half. Storbakken had the last three basketsas Craig finished the third quarter with a 9-0 run to take a 44-36 lead. Oregon (3-4) got no closer than four in the rest of the way.

“The girls responded to another challenge tonight, and Whitney really hit some big shots when Oregon seemed to have a little momentum,” Craig coach Mark Marsden said. “I liked the way we played defense both games of the tournament, and with the conference season starting back up on Thursday, that’s a good sign.

“I figured this was going to be a pretty physical game, and it was. I liked the way we responded, especially when Oregon got a little bit of a lead in the second quarter.”

The Panthers went up 24-13 on April Cook’s jumper with 6:01 left in the first half, but the Cougars responded with a 12-0 run to take a one-point lead. Senior Alexis Hilden started the rally with a basket underneath, and junior Anne Morgan capped the run with three free throws to give the Cougars a 25-24 lead with 1:02 left in the half.

Kayla Crowley briefly gave Oregon the lead with a short jumper, but Morgan responded with a bank shot at the buzzer off an offensive rebound to give Craig a lead it never relinquished.

Storbakken led the Cougars with 22 points, while senior point guard Kristy Benson added 15. Craig made 23 free throws to keep the Panthers at bay, including six in the final 1:28.

With his team back above the .500 mark, Marsden hopes the Cougars can continue their inspired play over the second half of the season.

“I’m really proud of the team,” Marsden said. “I feel like we’ve turned the corner the last two games.

“Hopefully, we can continue to improve and build upon this tournament title.”


Oregon (49)— Crowley, 4-3-12; Gundlach, 3-1-7; Atkinson, 1-1-3; Hanson, 4-2-10; Rietzler, 3-0-6; Cook, 3-2-8; Bolin, 1-0-2; Kjellstrom, 0-1-1. Totals: 19-10-49.

Craig (61)—Benson, 4-7-15; Sanchez, 0-2-2; Storbakken, 7-4-22; Straw, 2-0-6; Hilden, 2-4-8; Morgan, 1-5-7; Hamilton, 0-1-1. Totals: 16-23-61.

Oregon 18 8 10 13—49

Janesville Craig 10 17 17 17—61

Three-point goals—Oregon 1 (Crowley), Craig 6 (Storbakken 4, Straw 2). Free throws missed—Oregon 7, Craig 14. Total fouls—Oregon 21, Craig 15. Fouled out—Crowley, Gundlach.

Sophomores—Craig 60, Oregon 57. Craig record: 8-1.. Craig scoring leaders: Lauren McGrath, 14; Taylor Storbakken, 12.

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