Craig girls fight off La Follette
But by the end, the Janesville Craig High School girls basketball coach was all smiles, as his Cougars broke away from Madison La Follette in the fourth quarter to earn a 50-44 Big Eight Conference victory.
As the Cougars played without standout Anne Morgan, who was sidelined with a turf-toe injury, Emily Hinman took over in the post to score five of her team-high 11 points in the final quarter. That, along with making nine of 10 fourth-quarter free throws, helped the Cougars close with an 11-4 run.
“Emily got strong in the fourth quarter,” said Marsden, whose team improved to 5-5 in the Big Eight and 6-7 overall.
“We really needed those money baskets, and she went to the rim and got them. I also thought Ciarra Sroda had a heck of a game coming off the bench.”
Sroda had seven of her 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-pointer from the corner to give the Cougars their first lead of the game, 35-32, a minute into the final quarter.
“I think we really just wanted it,” Hinman said. “We worked hard and got the open people the pass. We knew we could do it, with or without Anne. She’s great, but we wanted to win this game for her.”
Marsden expects Morgan to also miss the next two games.
La Follette (1-9, 2-12) rallied to grab a 40-37 lead on Morgan LaPlant’s backcourt steal and subsequent layup. But Taylor Storbakken answered with two free throws for the Cougars, and Hinman added five straight points on consecutive hook shots in the lane to give Craig a 44-40 lead with a 1:59 remaining after Hinman completed her three-point play.
Amanda Hamilton added two more free throws before La Follette pulled within 46-44 on Adrianna Stephens’ two free throws with 45 seconds left. That was as close as the Lancers got, as Hamilton and Sroda each made two free throws in the final 21.5 seconds to keep Craig on top.
Leigha Hodge came off the bench to lead La Follete with 11 points, with seven in the first half as the Lancers jumped out to 14-4 lead.
“They came out like gangbusters and shot really well, and we didn’t play very good defense,” Marsden said. “After that, we settled down.
“It was a really gut-check for our team with Anne out of the lineup. We got some big minutes out of a lot of players tonight.”
CRAIG 50, LA FOLLETTE 44
Craig (50)—W. Oliver, 2-1-6; Hamilton, 1-4-6; Kennedy, 1-2-4; Marshick, 4-4-9; Hinman, 4-3-11; Sroda, 2-5-10, Storbakken, 0-2-2; Straw, 1-0-2. Totals: 15-16-50.
La Follette (44)—LaPlant, 4-0-8; Bradley, 2-0-5; Stephens, 3-2-9; Singh, 1-1-3; Schleit, 2-1-6; Hodge, 4-3-11; Vial, 1-0-2. Totals: 17-7-44.
Janesville Craig 12 11 9 18—50
Madison La Follette 16 10 6 12—44
Three-point goals—Craig 4 (W. Oliver 2, Marshick, Sroda), Madison LaFollete 3 (Bradley, Schleit, Stephens). Free throws missed—Craig 4, Madison LaFollete 4. Total fouls—Craig 15, Madison LaFollete 14.
Sophomores—Craig 54, Madison LaFollette 28. Craig scoring leader—Maddie Philipps, 15.