Middleton drops cold-shooting Craig
Special to the Gazette
Try as it could from every angle and from nearly every player, Janesville Craig High School’s boys basketball team could not get a shot to drop Thursday night.
At least it seemed that way, as the Cougars, ranked 11th in the Division 1 coaches poll, were held to four first-half baskets and scored just 13 points.
Middleton took advantage of Craig’s misfires for a 10-point halftime lead en route to the 49-37 victory in the Big Eight Conference opener.
“We haven’t had much worse halves than that,” Craig senior Lucas Burns said. “They were playing really good defense, but we were shooting awful.”
For the game, the Cougars (1-1) made just 12 of 45 field-goal attempts (27 percent), which included four three-pointers in 24 attempts.
Burns led Craig with 12 points. Charlie Roherty added 10, which included two fourth-quarter three-pointers.
“We kind of got three-pointer happy for most of the game,” Burns added. “We jacked up a lot of threes.”
Even after missing on 10 of first 12 shots, including all eight of their three-point attempts in the first quarter, the Cougars cut the Middleton lead to six points three times in the second half.
In the third quarter, Kyle Goike’s free throw brought Craig within 30-24 with 3:22 left, and JoJo Pregont put back a rebound to cut the deficit to 32-26 with 1:30 left.
But the Cardinals (1-1) answered with an 8-0 run. Brett Semenas started the blitz with a jumper from the wing, and Jay Nunnery closed out the quarter with jumper from the lane for 36-26 lead.
Nunnery came off the bench to lead Middleton with 12 points. Semenas added 11.
Craig, which never led and used 11 players, managed to again cut the deficit to six in the fourth quarter on a Roherty three-pointer with 5:17 remaining. Brooks Braga countered with two free throws on Middleton’s ensuing possession, while Nunnery added a lay-up and Jon Stubbe drained a three-pointer before Craig scored again.
“When you shoot that bad, you are going to have trouble,” Craig coach Bob Suter said. “We had some good looks. We just have to do a better job knocking the ball down, and in a couple situations our shot selection was not the smartest.”
MIDDLETON 49, CRAIG 37
Craig (37)—Roherty 3-1-10, Kennedy 1-0-2, Goike 1-1-4, Pregont 4-1-9, Burns 3-6-12. Totals: 12-9-37.
Middleton (49)—Semenas 2-2-7, Braga 4-2-11, Mertes-Mistretta 1-1-4, Dean 2-0-5, Lochner 0-2-2, Nunnery 6-0-12, Stubbe 3-0-8. Totals: 18-7-49
Janesville Craig 6 7 13 11—37
Middleton 11 12 13 13—49
Three-point goals—Craig 4 (Roherty 3, Goike 1), Middleton 6 (Semenas, Braga, Mertes-Mistretta, Dean, Stubbe 2). Free throws missed—Craig 5, Middleton 2. Total fouls—Craig 12, Middleton 13.