Janesville55.5°

Waunakee slips past Craig

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Christopher Heimerman
December 29, 2009
— Coming back from 17 points down with less than seven minutes left to win 66-65 here on Monday night was not the way Waunakee girls basketball coach Brad Lussier drew things up.

On the contrary, the hosting Janesville Craig Cougars might have done that for him.


“We literally drew a map for them on how to win this game, and they followed it,” said Mark Marsden, Craig High’s coach.


Craig (4-3) failed to take care of the basketball in the fourth quarter and missed three free throws in the final 3 minutes, 25 seconds as the Warriors shocked the Cougars. Waunakee will play defending champion Muskego (3-3) in tonight’s Optimist Classic final at 7:45.


“That’s kind of what we’ve done all year,” Lussier said. “We’ve been an awful first-half team, but we’ve put together some huge third and fourth quarters.”


Foul trouble forced Craig to play a 3-2 matchup zone, and Waunakee handled it well.


Junior guard Brianna Johnson, who scored a game-high 19 points, hit two threes in 36 seconds, capping a 22-4 run that gave the Warriors their first lead of the game at 64-63 with 2:19 left.


“All I was thinking was that I had to go play ‘D,’” Johnson said. “We knew we had to keep our pressure up.”


“She’s having a tremendous junior year,” Lussier said of Johnson, who played few minutes as a sophomore. “She stepped up huge.”


Craig point guard Amanda Hamilton, who scored a team-high 17 points, hit two double-bonus free throws seven seconds later. But the Warriors made two steals as the Cougars tried to kill clock. Johnson made the second steal and hit both free throws after being fouled on her layup attempt.


The Cougars, who opened the game by shooting lights out, couldn’t make good on two good looks in the final minute.


Craig senior Anne Morgan scored the Cougars’ first eight points, but had to watch the last 3:47 of the game after fouling out. Her frontcourt mate, junior Emily Hinman, picked up her fourth with 5:25 left.


Hinman had 15 points, while Morgan finished with 14. They teamed up to outscore the Warriors 14-8 over the first 4:42 of the game, which freed up the Cougars’ perimeter game. Morgan drew a double-team to the paint and kicked to Taylor Storbakken, who hit from the right wing to take a 17-10 lead. That opened a 12-1 run that lasted until an Ally Marshick free throw gave Craig a 28-11 lead with 5:24 left in the half.


The Warriors fired back with a 12-2 run. They trailed just 34-27 at the break when 6-1 sophomore Kelly Preston hit a shot at the buzzer.


Hamilton hit her second three of the game less than 3 minutes into the third. She inbounded to Hinman, who gave it right back to Hamilton, who nimbly bounced back to the right corner with her feet squared to swish a triple.


The Cougars matched their biggest lead of the game at 17 when Kelsey Kennedy turned a steal into a coast-to-coast score. Johnson scored on a put-back along the baseline on the ensuing Waunakee possession, triggering the game-winning run.


“We got tight and made a lot of mistakes,” Marsden said. “We’ve got a lot of things we can fix—the only problem is we have to do it by tomorrow.”


The Cougars will face Oregon, which fell 38-32 to Muskego in Monday’s early game, in the consolation at 6 tonight.


OPTIMIST CLASSIC

Semifinals


WAUNAKEE 66, CRAIG 65

Waunakee (66)—Johnson, 6-4-19; Dailey, 3-0-7; Statz, 2-2-7; Murray, 1-4-6; Kent-Bradeen, 1-0-2; Ziegler, 2-1-5; Simms, 2-3-8; Preston, 5-2-12. Totals: 22-16-66.


Janesville Craig (65)—Oliver, 2-2-7; Hamilton, 3-9-17; Kennedy, 2-0-4; Storbakken, 1-0-3; LeGreid, 0-2-2; Morgan, 5-4-14; Straw 1-0-2; Marshick, 0-1-1; Hinman 5-5-15. Totals: 19-23-65.


Waunakee 11 16 15 24—66


Janesville Craig 23 11 19 12—65


Three-point goals—Waunakee 6 (Johnson 3, Dailey, Statz, Simms), Craig 4 (Hamilton 2, Storbakken, Oliver). Free throws missed— Waunakee 12, Craig 9. Total fouls—Waunakee 21, Craig 21. Fouled out—Morgan.


MUSKEGO 38, OREGON 32


Oregon (32)—Rietzler, 1-0-3; Anderson, 3-4-10; Lien, 1-2-5; Chanson 3-0-6; Cook, 2-0-4; Kleitsch, 2-0-4. Totals: 12-6-32.


Muskego (38)—SarMlachnik, 2-4-9; Neuberger, 3-5-11; Albert, 0-3-3; JMlachnik, 1-1-3; Colla, 1-3-5; Ellerson, 3-1-7. Totals: 10-17-38.


Oregon 9 7 4 32—32


Muskego 8 4 10 16—38


Three-point goals—Oregon 2 (Rietzler, Lien), Muskego 1 (SarMlachnik). Free throws missed— Oregon 5, Muskego 12. Total fouls—Oregon 21, Muskego 14. Fouled out—Anderson.



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