Craig's regional final loss ends Suter's career
But that quick gesture said it all.
Darell Longstreet scored a game-high 25 points, including 14 in the second half, to propel Tremper to a decisive 63-49 victory over the Cougars in a WIAA Division 1 regional championship here Saturday afternoon.
The Trojans (15-7) advance to the sectional semifinals against Beloit Memorial (16-5) at 6 p.m. Friday at Janesville Craig.
Tremper’s victory spoiled Craig’s quest to give Suter a final chance to coach on his home floor.
“I haven’t even thought about it on a personal note,” Suter said of his retirement. “That will take a while to set in, but it will definitely be a change.”
Suter had much more to say regarding his team’s performance.
“Our hat is off to Tremper,” he said. “They were the better club today, by far. They were quicker than we were, and they were stronger than we were.”
Suter’s assessment was accentuated early in the second half, after the Cougars trailed only 28-25 at intermission.
Longstreet’s consecutive lay-ups ignited a 9-0 spurt that put the Trojans ahead 43-29 with 2:37 left in the third quarter.
Craig countered with an A.J. Fredricks jumper and a JoJo Pregont turnaround three-pointer at the buzzer to trail 43-34 after three quarters. The Cougars then cut Tremper’s lead to 44-38 early in the fourth on consecutive baskets from Keith Wright.
But the Trojans regrouped and struck back with a decisive 9-1 run, capped by Zach Bunch’s dunk that put his team up 53-39 with 4:45 to play.
The Cougars never drew closer than 11 the rest of the way.
“They really jumped on us in the second half,” said Pregont, who lead the Cougars with 19 points. “I thought we played a really good first half, but that second half, I wasn’t happy with at all.”
Craig appeared to have solved the Trojans’ full-court press in the second quarter. The Cougars had a 7-0 run to get within 24-21 with 2:20 left in the first half, and they still were within three at halftime.
It was all Tremper after that, forcing Suter to give his final remarks to his team.
“It was the same ol’, same ol’ speech,” Pregont said of Suter’s speech. “He said he was proud to coach us, but it was typical coach Suter.”
But the final score of this game was not typical of Suter’s magnificent career, which netted 386 victories, seven Big Eight Conference championships and seven trips to the state tournament in his 23 years as head basketball coach.
TREMPER 63, CRAIG 49
Craig (49)—Cagney, 2-3-7; Fredricks, 2-0-5; J. Pregont, 7-4-19; Goike, 1-0-2; Wright, 2-0-4; Lowe, 2-0-4; Bates, 1-1-3; M. Pregont, 1-0-2; Losching, 0-3-3. Totals: 18-11-49.
Tremper (63)—Bunch, 4-3-11; Williams, 3-2-8; Savaglio, 3-1-7; Longstreet, 10-4-25; Johnson, 0-2-2; Walter, 2-2-6; Tracy, 1-0-2; Anderson, 0-2-2. Totals: 23-16-63.
Janesville Craig 9 16 9 15 – 49
Kenosha Tremper 18 10 15 20 – 63
Three-point goals—Craig 2 (Pregont, Fredricks), Tremper 1 (Longstreet). Free throws missed—Craig 5, Tremper 10. Total fouls—Craig 21, Tremper 17. Fouled out—Goike.