Craig girls fall short against Verona
After the Cougars trailed first-place Verona for most of the day, Amanda Hamilton made a deep three-pointer from beyond the top of the key to pull Craig High within 46-41 with five minutes remaining here Saturday afternoon.
But her next three-pointer rimmed out, as did Whitney Oliver’s on consecutive possessions. The host Wildcats, No. 8 in the AP Division 1 state ratings, then made seven of their eight free throws over the final two minutes to hold off Craig, 53-46, in a Big Eight Conference game.
The victory kept Verona (16-3, 14-2) in a first-place tie with Middleton, which defeated Janesville Parker. The Cougars fell to 6-10 in the Big Eight and 7-13 overall.
“We had two nice looks on those three-pointers,” Craig coach Mark Marsden said. “Those have to go down to beat a team like Verona.
“We’re improving, even though we haven’t been winning. I’m really pleased with how we played this game.”
Craig jumped out to 7-3 lead, but Verona erased the deficit with a 14-0 run. The Cougars regrouped and pulled within 26-22 by halftime, following Emily Hinman’s rebound putback in the final seconds.
Verona unleashed a press in the second half to force seven Craig turnovers in the third quarter and push the lead to 41-32.
“That press shouldn’t give us that much trouble. We’re good at breaking presses,” Marsden said.
“I give them credit,’’ he said of the Wildcats. “They put almost three people on our point guard, and she had trouble seeing. I thought we corrected that, but that was probably the difference.”
Anne Morgan put back a rebound to cut the Verona lead to 43-37, but Rachel Cropp drained a three-pointer from the corner on the next possession.
Cropp led the Wildcats with 16 points. Ali Tacket added 11.
Hamilton answered Cropp with her deep three-pointer a minute later to pull Craig within five, but that was as close as the Cougars got as they made just four of their 12 shots in the fourth quarter.
Hamilton had four of Craig’s six three-pointers and finished with 14 points.
“Craig did a great job,” Verona coach Angie Murphy said. “They did a good job finding the holes in our defense. They are a great three-point shooting team.”
VERONA 53, CRAIG 46
Craig (46)—W.Oliver, 2-0-6; Hamilton, 4-2-14;Kennedy, 2-0-4; Morgan, 4-1-9; Hinman, 2-3-7; Storbakken, 1-2-4; Straw, 0-1-1; Legreid, 0-1-1. Totals: 15-10-46.
Verona (53)—Stone, 2-2-7; Zwaga, 1-4-6; Pfeffer, 2-2-6; Tackett, 5-1-11; Cropp, 5-4-16; Witte, 2-0-5; Dreher, 1-0-2. Totals: 18-13-53.
Janesville Craig 7 15 10 14—46
Verona 12 14 15 12—53
Three-point goals—Craig 6 (Hamilton 4, W. Oliver 2), Verona 4 (Cropp 2, Stone, Witte). Free throws missed—Craig 6, Verona 11. Total fouls—Craig 15, Verona 16.
Sophomores—Craig 58, Verona 56. Craig leading scorers—Emilie O'Donnell, 16; Maddie Phillips, 10.