Janesville73.3°

Craig boys fight off Westosha

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Stan Milam/Special to the Gazette
February 23, 2008
— All week, veteran coach Bob Suter tried to convince Janesville Craig boys basketball fans that Westosha Central would be a big test for his players in a WIAA Division 1 regional final.

Craig High faithful finally bought into Suter’s analysis when the Falcons extended the Cougars from the opening tip here Saturday. The Cougars finally prevailed, 53-47, in a game that went down to the final minute.


As a result, Craig is headed to the Elkhorn Sectional. The Cougars (17-5) play Lake Geneva Badger (16-5) at 8 p.m. Friday at Elkhorn.


Neither team shot well, especially in the first half of the Craig-Westosha battle, as defense dominated the game. Westosha shut down Craig’s center, JoJo Pregont, by collapsing on him in the middle every time he touched the ball. Craig was unable to take advantage of the Falcons’ inside defense, however, due a lack of consistent outside shooting.


The Falcons played a classic man-to-man defense that impressed Suter.


“I thought they played that (man-to-man defense) perfectly,” Suter said. “You could use it as a clinic.


“They put pressure on the ball, and their help side was in the lane. I knew JoJo was going to have a terrible time in there.”


As tough as the Westosha defense was, it couldn’t stop everybody, particularly a determined Lucas Burns. The 6-6 senior forward exploited the Falcon defense with penetration and offensive rebounding to lead all scorers with 28 points.


Suter said it was up to Burns to step up.


“Burns did exactly what we were preaching—go to the basket,” Suter said. “He had a couple of nice give-and-goes, but he was going to the basket. That’s how you have to attack the Westosha defense.”


Both teams started off cold, with Craig leading only 5-2 halfway through the first quarter. The Cougars were for 4-for-12 in the first period, while the Falcons went 3-for-9.


Burns had 10 of Craig’s 12 first-quarter points. He ended up with eight field goals, including three three-pointers, and was 9-for-9 on free throws.


Westosha took its first lead at 16-14 with 5:40 left in the second quarter. Craig’s Cooper Cullen tied it 19-19 before Kyle Goike and Charlie Roherty hit three-point goals to give Craig a 25-19 halftime lead that it never relinquished.


However, Westosha slowly chipped away at the Craig lead throughout the second half. With a minute left, it was 48-47 after Nathan Vos scored for the Falcons.


Cullen gave Craig some breathing room with a three-point play. He followed with three of four free throws to seal the win.


CRAIG 53, WESTOSHA 47


Westosha (47)—Lehner, 1-0-3; Erdman, 2-5-10; Vos, 4-4-14; Koller, 3-0-9; Koeshall, 4-0-8; Milz, 1-0-3; Totals: 15-9-47.


Craig (53)—Roherty, 2-0-6; Cullen, 2-4-8; Burns, 8-9-28; Pregont, 1-1-3; Goike, 2-2-8. Totals: 15-16-53.


Westosha Central 10 11 12 14—47


Janesville Craig 12 13 11 17—53


Three-point goals—Westosha 8 (Koller 3, Vos 2, Lehner, Milz, Erdman), Craig 7 (Burns 3, Roherty 2, Goike 2). Free throws missed—Westosha 4, Craig 2. Total fouls—Westosha 19, Craig. Fouled out—Magdic.





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