Janesville76.2°

Cougars lose thriller

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Craig Henquinet
January 4, 2008
— As painful as it was, even coach Bob Suter could see the irony of the last few seconds Friday night.

After battling from behind most of the night, Janesville Craig High School’s boys basketball team nearly forced overtime, but Lucas Burns had his layup attempt with two seconds left fall off the iron, handing Madison East a 64-62 Big Eight Conference victory.


“That last shot was just about how the night went,” Suter said after his Cougars fell to 7-3 overall and 4-3 in the Big Eight. “We executed and had a chance, and the ball was right up there deciding which way to go, and it didn’t fall off the iron until the very end.”


After Augustine Avelleyra made the second of his two free throws with 11.9 seconds remaining to give East the two-point lead, Craig set up a final play and got the shot it wanted.


With seven seconds left, Cooper Cullen drove the baseline and dropped off a pass to JoJo Pregont, who turned and found Burns at the top of the key. The Craig senior drove down the lane and got off his layup, only to see the ball dance on the back of the bracket before falling off into the hands of East standout Marquis Mason.


“We were setting up a three-pointer in the corner,” Cullen said. “But we also have Lucas flashing to the high post, so those were our first two options.


“If I don’t get a shot or Lucas doesn’t get a shot, we have JoJo in the post. So that’s three options, and that is tough to stop. The shot just didn’t fall.


“I couldn’t believe that didn’t fall. I was getting ready to do a fist pump.”


Instead, it was Mason with the ball and the celebration. The 6-foot-5 sophomore carried the Purgolders (4-5, 3-3) with 24 points, including three dunks and eight points in the fourth quarter. Avelleyra and Yamil Bacallao each added 11 points.


Cullen led the Cougars with 20 points. Pregont added 18, despite missing most of the second half after being saddled with four fouls, including a technical foul with four seconds left in the first half.


Cullen brought Craig within 63-62 on two free throws with 31.6 seconds remaining. Burns forced a turnover on the next East possession, but the Cougars turned the ball back over to East and were forced to foul Avelleyra with 11.9 seconds left.


Avelleyra gave the Purgolders the two-point margin that held up, as the Cougars saw their final attempt fall awry.


“I thought we got out-hustled and out-scratched,” Suter said.


“It’s the little things that make the difference down at the end.”


EAST 64, CRAIG 62


Craig (62)—Roherty, 1-0-3; Cullen, 7-5-20; Goike, 4-0-10; Pregont, 6-6-18; Burns, 3-1-7; Kennedy, 1-0-2; Clanfield, 1-0-2. Totals: 23-12-62.


East (64)—Smith, 0-1-1; Mayne, 3-1-8; Avelleyra, 3-4-11; Mason, 11-2-24; Bacallao, 4-3-11; Murray, 1-0-2; Bartelt, 1-0-2; Park, 2-0-5. Totals: 25-11-64.


Craig 14 20 12 16—62


East 16 22 11 15—64


Three-point goals—Craig 4 (Goike 2, Roherty, Cullen), East 3 (mayne, Avelleyra, Park) Free throws missed—Craig 5. East 15. Total fouls—Craig 20, East 18. Fouled out—Goike, Bacallao.


Sophomores—East 71, Craig 62. Craig scoring leaders: Evan Holznecht, 20; Brett Bates, 12.



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