Craig advances to regional title game
But the Cougars know they’re are going to have to play considerably better if they have visions of playing in the WIAA Division 1 state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Cooper Cullen scored 15 points, and Craig High overcame an early 8-3 deficit in coasting past Oregon, 64-48.
Craig (16-5) hosts Westosha Central (13-8) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the regional title game, which will send the winner to the Elkhorn Sectional.
The Cougars were only 6-for-26 from three-point range, and committed an uncharacteristic 15 turnovers against Oregon (2-19).
A 13-2 run to start the second quarter gave the Cougars a double-digit lead that they never relinquished.
“The bottom line is that we won the ball game,” Craig coach Bob Suter said. “We did a lot of good things, I thought—especially defensively—but we did a lot of careless things with the basketball, as well.
“Once we got a little bit more disciplined on offense and attacked the zone, we played pretty unselfish and got some good looks. I’m not going to complain about our outside shooting if we square up and get a good look, which I thought happened on most of the shots were. But we did rush a couple times, especially early in the game.”
Cullen, the Cougars’ 6-foot-5 senior point guard, controlled play in the first half. He had six points in both the first and second quarters, including a pair of free throws with 2:33 left in the half that gave Craig a 28-12 lead.
Craig senior Charlie Roherty had eight points in the first half, including two more three-point goals. Roherty has made 15 three-pointers in the last four games.
The Cougars made only two of 12 shots from beyond the arc in the first half, and they started the second half by missing their first six three-point attempts.
“Anytime you see a zone, you have to be able to make shots from the outside,” Suter said. “But if Jo Jo (Pregont) and Lucas (Burns)—who are supposed to be our two big guys—aren’t moving inside, then teams are going to keep playing zones against us.”
An 8-3 Craig run early in the fourth quarter—capped off by Jake Kuehne’s three-pointer— pushed the lead to 55-33 with 4:04 to play in the third.
Burns, Craig’s leading scorer, finished with 10 points despite sitting out most of the fourth quarter.
Brock Fritz led the Panthers with 14 points, and Skyler Debilzen added 13.
CRAIG 64, OREGON 48
Oregon (48)—DeBano, 3-2-10; Ironmonger, 1-0-2; Fritz, 5-2-14; Debilzen, 5-3-13; Subach, 1-0-2; McCauley, 0-1-1; Hinz, 1-0-2; Beranek, 1-0-2; Alvis, 0-1-1; Schwartz, 0-1-1. Totals: 17-10-48.
Craig (64)—Roherty, 3-0-8; Cullen, 4-6-15; Goike, 1-2-4; Pregont, 3-0-6; Burns, 5-0-10; Clanfield, 2-0-4; Kennedy, 1-2-5; Kuehne, 1-0-3; Sims, 1-0-2; Wright, 2-0-4; Craig, 1-0-3. Totals: 24-10-64.
Oregon 8 11 7 22—48
Janesville Craig 11 21 11 21—64
Three-point goals—Oregon 4 (DeBano 2, Fritz 2), Craig 6 (Roherty 2, Cullen, Kenney, Kuehne, Craig). Free throws missed—Oregon 4, Craig 7. Total fouls—Oregon 12, Craig 14.
Game at a glance
n The play: Charlie Roherty’s three-point basket with 1:15 to play in the first quarter gave Craig the lead for good at 11-8.
n The player: Craig’s Cooper Cullen led all scorers with 15 points, including 12 in the first half.
n The quote: “I was concerned with Oregon coming in. They were a better team than their record showed.”—Craig coach Bob Suter
n The significance: The Cougars advance to the WIAA Division 1 regional finals.
n The agenda: Craig hosts Westosha Central (13-8) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Craig to sell tickets for regional
Tickets for Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 regional final game between Westosha Central and Janesville Craig will be on sale Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the assistant principal’s office.
Saturday’s game at Craig will start at 1:30 p.m.