Craig continues dominance
JANESVILLE There’s no sense sugarcoating the Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker boys basketball rivalry.
There isn’t one.
The Cougars have dominated the series the last two decades, and the trend continued Tuesday night in the Parker gym.
JoJo Pregont scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked eight shots to lead Craig High to a 51-40 Big Eight Conference win over the Vikings.
The Cougars (8-8, 7-7) moved back to the .500 mark with the win, but longtime coach Bob Suter was more relieved to just get out with a win.
“We’ve got everything to lose and nothing to gain when we play Parker,” Suter said. “We’re supposed to just come in here and walk away, and it’s not going to be that way.
“If we win, it’s because we’re supposed to win. And we can never win looking good.”
At times, the Cougars looked good. Other times, the play was ragged, at best.
A 9-0 run to start the second quarter gave the Cougars a seemingly comfortable 12-point lead. Pregont started the run with a turnaround jumper in the lane, and later finished it with an offensive putback that pushed the lead to 18-6 with 5:05 left in the half. Parker’s Tyler Teubert, who finished with 12 points, ended the Viking scoring drought with a free throw with 4:37 left in the half.
The Vikings (1-16, 1-14) stayed within eight to 10 points most of the second half before making a late run that sliced the lead to four.
With the Cougars leading 42-33 on a Pregont three-point play with 4:29 left to play, Creed Knutson drained a three-pointer from the right corner to cut the deficit to 42-36. The Vikings then forced a Craig turnover that Teubert turned into a layup as the lead was down to four with 3:45 left.
“We pride ourselves on playing hard for 32 minutes, and that was the case tonight,” Parker coach Ryan Masterson said. “We aren’t going to back down to anybody, and if Craig was going to win tonight, they were going to have to earn it, which they did.
“And Pregont gives us problems underneath. He passes so well and creates things for others. He’s a difficult matchup for us.”
Leading by four with less than three minutes to play, Craig went on a 6-0 to put the game away. Brad Cagney, who finished with 13 points, hit his fourth three-pointer of the game to make it 45-38 with 2:39 to play. Pregont followed with a free throw, and A.J. Fredricks pushed the lead to 48-38 with a runner underneath.
Knutson scored 12 points to share team-high honors with Teubert, while Fredricks chipped in 12 for Craig.
The teams combined for 13 three-point baskets, but the play of Pregont down low proved to be the difference. The smooth 6-foot-6 senior caused the Vikings fits down low on both ends of the court.
“”He’s one of the best big men in the state, possibly,” Masterson said of Pregont. “He’s so athletic and he sees the floor so well. He could score more if he wanted to, and he’s just a very, very good player.”
CRAIG 51, PARKER 40
Craig (51)—Cagney, 4-1-13; Goike, 3-0-8; Fredricks, 5-1-12; Pregont, 5-4-14; Kennedy, 2-0-4. Totals: 19-6-51.
Parker (40)—Thompson, 2-0-5; Teubert, 4-3-12; C. Knutson, 4-1-12; J. Knutson, 3-0-6; Simonson, 2-0-5. Totals: 15-4-40.
Janesville Craig 9 15 13 14—51
Janesville Parker 6 11 11 12—40
Three-point goals—Craig 7 (Cagney 4, Goike 2, Fredricks), Parker 6 (C. Knutson 3, Teubert, Simonson, Thompson). Free throws missed—Craig 5, Parker 5. Total fouls—Craig 11, Parker 10.
Sophomores—Craig 61, Parker 32. Leading scorers: Cody Dare (Craig) 18, Andy White (Craig) 10, Austin Lloyd (Parker) 7.