Great start for Janesville Craig girls
The Cougars ran over visiting Beloit Memorial, 64-40, in the first game of a Big Eight Conference co-ed doubleheader.
Craig coach Kerry Storbakken starts four seniors. In addition to experience, the Cougars feature a balanced scoring attack. Against Beloit, the Craig starting five had three players in double figures and another with nine points.
Storbakken’s team also got 17 points off the bench against Beloit despite having two key seniors—Ciarra Sroda and Michelle Straw—out with mononucleosis and an injury, respectively.
The Cougars hit the Purple Knights with three straight three-point shots by Taylor Storbakken, Emilie O’Donnell and Kristi Crandall to take a 9-0 lead.
Craig never trailed, but Storbakken had early concerns.
“It’s nice to hit those early threes, but it’s a double-edge sword,” the first-year Craig head coach said. “I think after we made those first three, we started thinking they were all going to go in, and they didn’t. I took a timeout, and we talked about having to work the ball inside. I think that helped.”
Craig established an overpowering advantage with another 9-0 run in the second quarter. The Cougars continued to pour it on in the third quarter with a 15-0 run, while Beloit turned the ball over 10 times.
“We put on a full-court press in the first half and then backed off a little in the third quarter,” Storbakken said. “But we continued to pressure them. They were not getting any layups and our half-court (defense) gave them some trouble which caused the turnovers.”
Craig outscored Beloit, 19-8, in the third quarter behind seven points by Taylor Storbakken and five by point guard Amanda Hamilton.
Storbakken said he was especially pleased with Hamilton’s overall play.
“The points she scores are a bonus,” he said. “I tell Amanda that as long as she gets the ball up the court and helps her teammates score, she’ll stay in. She has done a terrific job of running the floor for us these first two games.”
Storbakken was also especially pleased with his team’s defense.
“You have to admire the job our kids did on Beloit’s (Brian- na) Marzette,” he said. “She scored 15 points against Burlington. Tonight we held her to just four.”
Marzette’s teammate, Danielle Heldt, led all scorers with 14 points. Hailee Lawver scored 12 for the Purple Knights on four three-point goals.
Hamilton and O’Donnell each scored 11 to lead Craig. Taylor Storbakken added 10, and Ally Marshick contributed nine.
Craig built a 20-point lead at 46-26 going into the fourth quarter. Ten Cougars scored points in the conference opener.
“We are not a one-dimensional team,” Storbakken said. “I think you saw tonight we can shoot over the zone, we can go inside and we can play defense.”
The Cougars (2-0) travel to Madison La Follette on Thursday.
“They are athletic and quick, and we are on the road,” Storbakken said. “Our kids will be ready. The chemistry for this team is there. They play together and they play hard. I like our chances.”
CRAIG 64, BELOIT 40
Beloit (40)—Marzette, 1-2-4; Hai. Lawver, 4-0-12; Han. Lawver, 1-0-2; Gill, 1-4-6; Heldt, 5-3-14; Larson-Osbourne, 1-0-2. Totals: 13-9-40.
Craig (64)—Hamilton, 4-2-11; Storbakken, 4-0-10; O’Donnell, 2-5-11; Marshick, 4-0-9; Hinman, 3-0-6; Crandall, 1-1-4; Holzhuter, 2-0-5; Kennedy, 1-0-2; Perleberg, 2-0-4; van Velzhuisen, 1-0-2. totals: 24-8-64.
Beloit 6 12 8 14—40
Craig 13 14 19 18—64
Three-point goals—Beloit 5 (Hai. Lawver 4, Heldt), Craig 8 (Hamilton, Storbakken 2, O’Donnell 2, Marshick, Crandall, Holzhuter). Free throws missed—Beloit 11, Craig 2. Total fouls—Beloit 12, Craig 19.