Sixteen Verona players score in Janesville Craig loss
Buss had to be sore from all the motioning he made to his players on the bench to go into the game.
The Wildcats, however, inflicted even more pain on Janesville Craig.
Verona had a jaw-dropping 16 players score en route to a punishing 82-55 victory over Craig (0-12, 0-9) here Thursday night.
Verona’s dominating performance was just another painful reminder of how tough the Big Eight Conference has been on Craig first-year coach Mike Miller.
“They’re a very deep team,” Miller said of the Wildcats, who improved to 6-3 in the conference and 9-4 overall. “And we knew they’re very physical and very well-coached, and overall, just one of the better teams in the Big Eight.
“The conference is great, but I think that’s a good thing,” Miller added. “It makes every game a tough game, but it’s going to make us better in the long run.”
But for now, Miller’s Cougars are stuck taking their lumps.
The Wildcats started delivering the punishment early in the first quarter when senior Kaden Nauman drained consecutive three-pointers to put Verona up 11-3.
Craig cut the lead to 13-6 on Jon Condon’s putback midway through the first quarter, but it wasn’t enough to slow down the Wildcat offense.
Verona senior forward Scott Christensen came off the bench and scored seven quick points to rebuild the lead to 22-10 after one quarter.
The Wildcats continued to pour it on in the second quarter. After Craig’s Evan Holznecht converted consecutive layups to cut the deficit to 22-14, Verona closed out the first half with an 18-5 run and led 40-19.
“We got good contributions from the bench, which kept our top guys fresh running the floor,’’ said Buss, whose team featured 14 scorers in the first half. “Mike (Miller) has his team packing in some zone and being real patient on offense, so we really wanted to try to pressure and get more of a transition game.”
The up-tempo Wildcats continued to control the pace in the second half and led by as many as 29 in third quarter.
“When you play zone against a team like that, you’re going to give up some outside shots,” Miller said. “It was kind of like pick your poison, because they’re so deep and physical.”
Cody Dare finished with a team-high 17 points for Craig, while Holznecht added 15.
VERONA 82, CRAIG 55
Verona (82)—Karls, 4-0-9; Ropel, 1-1-4: Nauman, 4-0-10; Christensen, 6-0-14; Wadzinski, 1-0-2; Peterson, 2-2-8; Brandt, 1-0-2; Burns, 1-1-3; Pauldon, 0-2-2; Ray, 2-0-6; Braxton, 2-0-4; Brooks, 3-1-7; Malafa, 2-0-4; Banzhaf, 1-0-2; Hainzinger, 1-0-2; Young, 1-0-3. Totals: 33-7-82.
Craig (55)—Pickarts, 2-0-4; Johnson, 2-0-4; Condon, 2-3-7; Dare, 6-2-17; Holznecht, 6-3-15; Kyle, 1-0-2; Bordwell, 2-0-5; Kitching, 0-1-1. Totals: 21-9-55.
Verona 22 18 23 19—82
Janesville Craig 10 9 17 19—55
Three point goals—Verona 9 (Karls, Ropel, Christensen 2, Ray 2, Young, Nauman 2), Craig 4 (Dare 3, Bordwell). Free throws missed —Verona 7, Craig 5. Total fouls—Verona 12, Craig 12.
Sophomores—Craig 54, Verona 40