Craig girls earn fifth-straight win
It could be attributed to playing at the same time the Green Bay Packers were winning their divisional playoff game, maybe the unusual Saturday start time of 5 p.m., or the possibility of Janesville Craig looking ahead to Friday’s rematch with Middleton.
Whatever it was, Craig High girls basketball coach Mark Marsden was having none of it.
After the home team jumped ahead 13-2, the Craig defense went AWOL and allowed Campbellsport (6-6) to go ahead 14-13 before Marsden took a timeout.
After Marsden’s “adjustment,” Craig scored 16 straight points and cruised to a 70-41 nonconference win in an empty Craig gym on the afternoon the Packers defeated Seattle, 42-20.
“Turnover and fouls—it was a matter of our turnovers and fouls that let them back in the game,” Marsden said. “We lost a couple kids in transition and decided not to run our press break. They got two quick baskets off of that.”
Marsden’s timeout gave him an opportunity to impress upon his players what needed to be done, and his team responded with its fifth straight win to go 8-4 for the season.
“We adjusted out press break, and we changed our defensive assignments by switching some players around,” Marsden said. “After that, our defense played well.”
“Well” was an understatement in describing Craig’s defense. The Craig Cougars (Campbellsport’s mascot is also a Cougar) smothered Campbellsport’s 6-1 point guard, Kelsie Benike, holding her to just 10 points and putting her out of the game with five fouls halfway through the third quarter.
Kate Salter, a Campbellsport starter who was held to six points, also fouled out.
On offense, Craig presented a balanced attack, led by Ms. Everything for Craig—5-7 senior point guard Kristy Benson, who scored 19 points.
Benson leads Craig in scoring, assists, steals and rebounds—a feat she also accomplished last year on the way to all-conference status.
Marsden described the win as a team effort, but was especially pleased with the defensive work of Sofia Sanchez, who added six points and was assigned the job of holding down Benike. Sanchez’s defensive pressure resulted in Benike’s foul problems.
Craig held Campbellsport to just nine second-quarter points. After an 11-point third quarter, compared to 20 for Craig, Campbellsport was down by 15 when Benike fouled out. Craig built a 20-point lead after Salter fouled out—a lead that grew to 33 before the benches were cleared.
Campbellsport played without one of its leading scorers and two other key players, but Marsden said his team still was challenged.
“You always like to play a team with all their players, but they still had their three leading scorers, and we played very well defensively,” Marsden said. “We were also able to do some things we can’t do in practice as we prepare for our rematch with Middleton.”
Craig will see a much more formidable defense from Middleton—one that stymied Craig in the Cardinals’ 81-43 victory at Middleton.
“That’s a pressing defense we can’t duplicate in practice, Marsden said. “That’s why we bring in the freshman boys to simulate it.’
The key to the Middleton game, Marsden said, is having the confidence and handling the press.
“If we can avoid the turnovers and play a half-court game, Middleton doesn’t have an awesome half-court defense. They have a good defense and an awesome offense, but I think we can play with them in the half-court.”
CRAIG 70, CAMPBELLSPORT 41
Campbellsport (41)—Crofts, 1-0-2; Mueller, 2-0-6; Salter, 3-0-6; Narges, 3-4-11; Benike, 2-5-10; Soyk, 1-0-2; Roltgen, 0-2-2; Coffman, 1-0-2. Totals: 13-11-41.
Craig (70)—Benson, 5-9-19; Sanchez, 3-0-6; Storbakken, 3-0-7; Straw, 4-1-9; Hilden, 3-1-7; McQueen, 2-0-4; Morgan, 4-4-12; Hamilton, 1-0-2; Oliver, 1-2-4. Totals: 26-17-70.
Campbellsport 14 9 11 7—41
Janesville Craig 18 21 20 11—70
Three-point goals—Campbellsport 4 (Mueller 2, Narges, Benike), Craig 1 (Storbakken). Free throws missed—Campbellsport 10, Craig 5. Total fouls—Campbellsport 20, Craig 16. Fouled out—Benike, Salter.
Sophomores—Craig 55, Campbellsport 42. Craig’s record: 11-1. Craig’s high scorers: Marshick, 15; Kennedy, 14; Oliver 11.