Janesville Craig falls in two OTs
Trailing by one with 5.1 seconds left in the second overtime, Craig (0-8, 0-5 Big Eight) drew up a play that started flawlessly. Junior Nate Brault threw a baseball pass from the baseline to senior Jon Condon, who caught the ball with his back to the basket at free-throw line.
Condon turned to his right, where he found Bret Bates. Bates got off a three, but came up short. Senior forward Evan Holznecht couldn’t get off a shot before the final horn.
Had Condon given himself the time to look both ways after the catch, he would’ve seen Holznecht diving to the basket down the right side of the lane.
“We’re just happy to get out of here with a win,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “They gave us all we could handle.”
Craig had three looks at game-winning shots at the end of the first OT. The Cougars also held a four-point lead with four minutes to play at 39-35 before Middleton (6-3, 3-2) trapped Craig into two straight travels.
“We just have to keep our composure and be strong with the ball,” Brault said. “It got knocked out of our hands too many times down the stretch.”
Ian Joyce, a 6-6 junior who led all scorers with 21 points, sank one of two free throws to get Middleton to its winning margin.
The Cougars played a 2-3 zone throughout the game to deny him touches. The Cardinals struggled to shoot over the zone until point guard Matt Everson hit a three from the left wing to give the Cards a 42-41 lead with 1:06 left in regulation.
Shane Adler went glass to make it a three-point margin with 31 second left before Brault splashed a three from the left wing off a Holznecht assis to force overtime with just 11 ticks left.
“That was big. That gave us everything and all the courage to come out and be better,” Condon said.
The lefty felt no hesitation as he pulled up.
“I had the open shot, and I knew I had to take it,” Brault said. “There was no one on me.”
Craig point guard Cody Dare tied the game twice in the second OT, first when Brault threaded a pass to him from the left wing on a nice back-door cut down the right side of the lane. Then Dare splashed two freebies to even things up at
54-54 with 90 seconds left in double OT.
Dare picked up his third foul just seconds into the second half, forcing a lot of Cougars into uncharacteristic ball-handling roles.
“We had to regroup, come back as a team and fill his spot, and I think we did that to the best of his abilities,” Brault said.
The Cougars sank their last 10 free-throw attempts. Condon went 8-for-12 and had a team-high 18 points.
“We’ve just got to get back to practice now, and come out better because of it,” Condon said. “We’re going to get our first win, and we’re going to get it soon.”
The next chance will come Friday, when Craig visits Parker for the first intracity matchup.
MIDDLETON 55, CRAIG 54 (2 OT)
Middleton (55)—Johnson, 6-4-19; Dailey, 3-0-7; Statz, 2-2-7; Murray, 1-4-6; Kent-Bradeen, 1-0-2; Ziegler, 2-1-5; Simms, 2-3-8; Preston, 5-2-12. Totals: 22-16-66.
Janesville Craig (54)—Kitching, 1-3-6; Brault, 4-0-9; Bates, 1-4-6; Condon, 4-8-18; Dare, 2-4-8; Holznecht, 2-0-4; Kyle, 1-0-3. Totals: 17-19-54.
Middleton 12 11 7 14 4 7—55
Janesville Craig 11 10 12 12 4 6—54
Three-point goals— Middleton 3 (Everson 2, Adler), Craig 5 (Condon 2, Kitching, Brault, Kyle). Free throws missed— Middleton 7, Craig 7. Total fouls— Middleton 17, Craig 13. Fouled out—Dare.