Craig boys get back in win column
JANESVILLE By Stan Milam
Capitol News Service
Behind a double-double night by JoJo Pregont, Janesville Craig’s boys basketball team returned to the win column Thursday by posting a 49-44 victory over Middleton.
The Cardinals kept the Big Eight game close, but they committed a crucial turnover with 16.6 seconds left and trailing 47-44. A pass to Jay Nunnery waiting on the wing for a three-point attempt sailed out of bounds to end the Middleton threat.
Craig High took the lead for good early in the game when Kyle Goike drove the baseline and put up a twisting layup to make it 13-11. Although the Cougars (7-8, 6-7) stayed on top the rest of the game, Middleton (6-10, 5-9) was never far behind.
The Cardinals closed to within 43-42 with 1:32 left. When Middleton was forced to foul, Goike and A.J. Fredericks sank key free throws to seal the win.
“It was a game of key plays,” said Craig coach Bob Suter. “It was a good high school game with no margin for error.”
Pregont scored 10 points, hauled down 20 rebounds and had six blocked shots. He also was also called for a goaltending violation high above the rim that the crowd appreciated as much as the blocked shots.
“Not a bad night for JoJo, but we had exceptional play off the bench,” Suter said. “ (Alex) Lowe and (Will) Clanfield made key plays in the few minutes they saw action.”
Clanfield scored just two points on free throws, but he grabbed a key rebound to preserve Craig’s lead. Lowe scored on a field goal, and despite being 5-8, hauled down a key offensive rebound.
“Keith Wright also came off the bench and gave us quality play,” Suter said. “This was a great team effort and gave us a win when we really needed one.”
Middleton coach Kevin Bavery finally got his team to move the ball effectively on offense in the second half.
“They run that dribble, drive and kick offense very well, and it started to give us problems,” Suter said. “But even when they were able to penetrate for a good shot, we had position and held them down.”
The win pulled Craig within one game of the .500 mark. But more importantly, Suter said, it starts the road to tournament play.
“We know we can’t win the conference title, but we can start preparing for tournament play,” he said. “We need to get the best seeding we can and see if we can make the sectional, which is held here in the Craig gym.
“Of course we need to concentrate on one game at a time, but if we win that first game and get to the sectional, who knows what can happen.”
The Cougars play at Janesville Parker on Tuesday and host Madison East next Thursday.
CRAIG 49, MIDDLETON 44
Middleton (44)—Adler, 3-3-11; Owen, 2-0-4; Everson, 3-3-9; Joyce, 3-3-9; Nelson, 1-0-2; Nunnery, 3-1-9. Totals: 15-10-44.
Craig (49)—Cagney, 4-2-12; Clanfield, 0-2-2; Fredricks, 4-5-14; Goike, 2-4-9; Lowe, 1-0-2; Pregont, 4-2-10. Totals: 15-15-49.
Middleton 9 7 12 16—44
Janesville Craig 7 14 11 17—49
Three-point goals—Middleton 4 (Adler 2, Nunnery 2), Craig 4 (Cagney 2, Goike, Fredricks). Free throws missed—Middleton 1, Craig 2. Total fouls—Middleton 17, Craig 11. Fouled out—Owen.
Sophomores—Craig 64, Middleton 58. Craig leading scorers: Myles Johnson, 14; Kyle Ausen, 13; Cody Dare, 11; Nate Brault, 10.