Craig comeback falls short
Playing without one of its top scorers, Kristy Benson, and watching Madison Memorial break away with a 15-0 first-half run overwhelmed the Cougars as they lost 48-43, despite a valiant second-half rally.
The loss dropped Craig to 5-5 in the Big Eight Conference and 8-6 overall. The Spartans, who were coming off a 42-41 loss to last-place Madison East, improved to 4-6 and 6-8.
“I don’t know if it was the finals or the road trip, but we came out way flat,” Craig coach Mark Marsden said the exam-week defeat. “They had the momentum, and the difference in the game was that first half.”
After three first-quarter three-pointers, Craig jumped out to 13-8 lead a minute into the second period on Whitney Storbakken’s steal and coast-to-coast lay-up. However, the Cougars did not score again until Danielle Straw’s jump hook with a second remaining before halftime.
By that time, Memorial took a 25-15 lead into the break, and the Cougars couldn’t quite fight their way back.
“We have 12 girls this year that have never played varsity before, and I think this team is growing a little bit,” Memorial coach Pat Jost said. “We got on a roll, and one thing led to another, and our girls became aggressive.”
Alicia Evans had five points in the Memorial run, including a three-point play to start the rally. Taryn Olson added four points in the 15-0 blitz and finished with 14.
Danielle Straw, who had two of the three Craig three-pointers in the first quarter, finished with a game-high 17 points.
The Cougars regrouped in the second half and used 10-2 fourth-quarter surge, behind five points from Alexis Hilden, to pull within 40-39 on her free throw with 3:07 left. Mandie Wiedholz temporarily halted the rally with two free throws for Memorial, but Hilden added a basket underneath to keep Craig within 42-41.
The comeback attempt ended there, as Olson answered with a layup. Cara Heine then added a jumper from the wing with 1:05 remaining to hold off the Cougars.
“Craig played a great second half,” Jost said. “They chipped away at us and are a very well-coached team. For our program to get a win against a Craig team, I’ll take it, even without Benson.”
Benson, one of the Big Eight’s top seven scorers, has been out of school all week with a stomach virus, Marsden said.
“The kids that I asked to step up did a better job in the third and fourth quarter,” he said. “I was just disappointed in our first half.”
MEMORIAL 48, CRAIG 43
Craig (43)—McQueen, 1-0-3; Sanchez, 2-0-5; Storbakken, 2-0-5; Straw, 7-0-17; Hilden, 3-3-9; Morgan, 2-0-4. Totals: 17-3-43.
Memorial (48)—Wiedholz, 1-3-5; Woods, 2-4-8; Koykkor, 3-0-6; Olson, 5-4-14; Heine, 3-3-9; Evans, 2-1-5; Gosselin, 0-1-1. Totals: 16-16-48.
Janesville Craig 9 6 14 14—43
Madison Memorial 8 17 13 10—48
Three-point goals—Janesville Craig 6 (Straw 3, McQueen, Sanchez, Storbakken). Free throws missed Janesville Craig 6, Madison Memorial 2. Total fouls— Janesville Craig 19, Madison Memorial 11.
Sophomores-- Craig 42, Memorial 31. Craig scoring leaders: Taylor Storbakken, 13; Allyson Marshick, 11; Kelsey Kennedy, 11.