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Craig comeback falls short

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Craig Henquinet/Special to the Gazette
January 24, 2008
— It was all too much to overcome Thursday night for Janesville Craig High School’s girls basketball team.

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.



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