Craig boys work overtime to beat East
Fortunately for Suter, ugly was just enough to squeak out a 54-50 Big Eight Conference overtime victory.
Jo Jo Pregont had a game-high 22 points, including seven in the overtime, to give Craig (13-5, 10-4) sole possession of second place in the Big Eight, one-half game ahead of idle Madison La Follette (12-5, 9-4).
The Lancers get a shot to reclaim second place tonight when they host the Cougars.
Craig’s chances for a tough road victory at La Follette don’t figure to be easy, especially after a sluggish performance against East (6-12, 4-10).
“This game was ugly,” Suter said. “This probably the ugliest win that we’ve had here in a long time. But when you cross the line onto the floor, you have to be ready to play.”
Craig finally was ready to play in overtime.
After Purgolder sophomore forward Marquis Mason left the game with an injured hand, Pregont immediately seized control of the inside with four straight points that gave Craig a 52-48 lead with a minute to go.
Yamil Bacallao answered with a short jumper to slice Craig’s lead to 52-50 with 30 seconds remaining.
Joey Kennedy then hit one free throw on the ensuing Cougar possession, giving East a chance to tie with 15 seconds left.
But an offensive foul turned the ball back to Craig and forced East to foul Pregont. The 6-foot-6 junior promptly drilled one free throw to put the game out reach at 54-50.
“Jo Jo was not going to be denied in that fourth quarter and overtime, which was the difference,” Suter said.
Pregont’s clutch performance was almost denied by a late fourth-quarter Purgolder surge.
Mason’s steal and layup tied the game at 44-44 with 1:20 to go in regulation. After Craig failed to score on the ensuing possession, East held for the final shot.
The Purgolders’ final possession was spoiled by three Cougar blocked shots that forced overtime.
Craig eventually gained the upper hand in overtime, and held on for the victory.
“You get in tight situations and sometimes you revert back to your old habits, and I thought our old habits down the stretch were pretty good,” Suter said. “But it was earlier in the ball game where we weren’t sharp.’’
The Purgolders took advantage of the struggling Cougars with a 7-2 run to grab an 11-10 first-quarter lead.
Consecutive three-pointers from Lucas Burns and Charlie Roherty helped Craig open a 24-19 halftime lead.
The Purgolders trimmed their deficit to 35-33 by the end of the third quarter.
Mason had a team-high 13 points, while teammate Stafford Park added 10.
CRAIG 54, EAST 50 (OT)
East (50)—Avelleyra, 3-0-6; Bacallao, 2-0-4; Mason, 6-1-13; Mayne, 3-2-9; Bartlet, 1-0-2; Park, 4-0-10; Hull, 1-0-2; Schuler, 1-0-2; Love, 1-0-2. Totals: 22-3-50.
Craig (54)—Cullen, 3-2-8; Roherty, 3-0-9; Burns, 2-3-8; Pregont, 9-4-22; Goike, 2-0-4; Kennedy, 1-0-3. Totals: 20-9-54.
Madison East 11 8 14 11 6—50
Janesville Craig 10 14 11 9 10—54
Three point goals—East 3 (Mayne, Park 2). Free throws missed—East 3, Craig 7. Total fouls—East 18, Craig 13. Fouled out—Burns.
Last updated: 4:56 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012