Janesville Craig scores only nine first-half points
Tackett outscored Janesville Craig 14-9 in the first half, helping the defending co-champion Wildcats build a 19-point lead as they stayed in Big Eight title contention with a 55-39 victory over the Cougars.
Verona (7-2) improved to 6-2 in the conference and remained in a third-place tie behind Middleton (7-1) and Janesville Parker (6-1).
With Craig’s 6-foot center, Emily Hinman, on the bench with two quick fouls, the Cougars had no answer to Tackett, a 6-foot senior.
“Tackett got hot when Emily went out,” said Craig coach Mark Marsden, whose team suffered its fifth straight loss, while dropping to 3-5 in the Big Eight and 4-7 overall. “She’s the only body we have that’s quick enough with that size to guard Tackett man-to-man.”
The Cougars were forced into a zone defense when Hinman went out, but Verona was able to shoot over it.
“They just diced that up—they are good shooters,” Marsden said. “They had nine threes their last game, so I didn’t want to play zone, but we had to with our short lineup.”
Tackett’s first-half performance included two three-point goals, two regular field goals and four free throws. She led all scorers with 20 points overall, with Hinman led Craig with eight.
Craig’s first-half shooting performance came in at 4-for-7 from the field, with no three-point goals.
“Yes, we were not shooting well, but you have to remember that Verona, statistically, is the best defensive team in the league, right up there with Parker,” Marsden said. “Their defense had a lot to do with our lack of offense in the first half.”
Craig managed only three points in the first quarter, and Tackett completed her early domination by hitting a long three-point shot at the buzzer.
“I was really upset with that,” Marsden said. “You just don’t give that up when we know there’s no time to get it underneath.”
Craig outscored Verona in the second half, but it was simply too late for the Cougars, who never got the Wildcats’ advantage below 15 points.
Marsden said that, despite the lopsided score, he saw improvement in the second half that can help the Cougars.
“We had a good talk at halftime, and I thought we played hard in the second half. Emily (Hinman) came back and played well for us,” Marsden said.
“We’re getting better at staying out of foul trouble, but this (Verona) team is a superior team. They are going to draw fouls, especially when they get the ball inside.”
Meanwhile, the Cougars are more concerned with their progress than their record, Marsden said.
“We are on a five-game losing streak, but we have teams coming up that we have defeated,” Marsden said. “We’ve got to get back onto the road to recovery. That’s our goal Saturday afternoon when we play Sun Prairie here.’’
VERONA 55, CRAIG 39
Verona (55)—Stone, 2-0-4; Zwaga, 3-2-9; Pfeffer, 2-2-6; Tackett, 7-4-20; Cropp, 1-1-3; Witte, 2-1-6; Yanna, 1-0-3; Twig, 2-0-4. Totals: 20-10-55.
Craig (39)—Hamilton, 1-0-2; Morgan, 1-2-4; Marshik, 1-0-3; Hinman, 2-4-8; Legreid, 2-0-4; Sitorius, 1-0-2; L. Oliver, 2-0-6; Sroda, 1-0-2; W. Oliver, 1-0-3; Storbakken, 1-0-3; Straw, 1-0-2. Totals: 14-6-39.
Verona 9 19 14 13—55
Janesville Craig 3 6 17 13—39
Three-point goals—Verona 5 (Tackett 2, Witte, Yanna, Zwaga), Craig 5 (L. Oliver 2, W. Oliver, Storbakken, Marshik). Free throws missed—Verona 12, Craig 2. Total fouls—Verona 11, Craig 15.
Sophomores—Craig 50, Verona 38. Craig leading scorers: Michaela Holzhuter 8, Emilie O’Donnell 8, Stephanie Perlegerg 7.