West speeds past Cougars
Behind a fast break, shoot’em up offense, West sent Craig to a 51-41 loss in a Big Eight Conference girls basketball opener.
Craig coach Kerry Storbakken knew what was coming, but the Cougars could not avoid falling into the Regents’ web.
“We did what we weren’t supposed to do,” Storbakken said. “We didn’t keep them off the line, and they made too many free throws.
“We played their game,” Storbakken added. “We forced it and made some unforced turnovers on the offensive end.”
West made 24 of 36 free throws as Craig committed 23 fouls. Cougar starters Kylee Kennedy and Brooke Negus each fouled out in the fourth quarter.
Michaela Holzhuter scored 11 points to lead Craig and was the only Cougar in double figures. Marquita Hilliard-Williams scored 11 points to lead West.
“(Emilie) O’Donnell was limping a little bit, but she was the only one who logged a lot of minutes,” Storbakken said of his starters.
West coach Stacy Williams said the Regents have to play up-tempo basketball.
“We have no height,” Williams said.
The Regents have speed and experience.
“Madison West returned four senior starters,” Storbakken said. “A couple them started since their sophomore year. I knew they were going to be good.’’
Battling West’s quickness, the Cougars trailed 23-22 at the half.
In the third quarter, Alli Calkins hit a three-point basket to pull Craig into a 27-27 tie with more than five minutes remaining.
West’s Hilliard-Williams answered Calkins with a three to give West a 30-27 lead. West made four free throws for a 34-27 lead, but Nicole Kelly’s basket cut the Craig deficit to 34-29. Kristi Crandall’s free throw pulled Craig within 34-30 with 2:36 to play, but that would be Craig’s last point of the quarter.
La’neice Cannon made a three-point play to put West up 37-30 and the Regents closed the quarter holding a 39-30 lead.
Holzhuter’s two free throws to open the fourth quarter cut the West lead to 39-32, but the Cougars did not score until Calkins hit one of two free throws at 3:52 to cut West’s lead to 48-33.
“West is just senior dominated, and they are quick,” Storbakken said. “Our kids just didn’t handle the speed of the game.”
WEST 51, CRAIG 41
West (51)—McClarn, 3-3-9; Nettles-Bey, 1-0-3; Dickerson, 2-5-9; Hilliard-Williams, 4-3-11; Cannon, 2-2-6; Russell, 0-4-4; Jackson, 1-7-9. Totals: 12-24-51
Craig (41)—Holzhuter, 4-3-11; Negus, 2-0-4; Crandall, 2-3-8; Kennedy, 2-4-8; Kelly, 2-0-4; Calkins, 2-1-6. Totals: 14-11-41
Madison West 14 9 16 12—51
Janesville Craig 12 10 8 11—41
Three-point goals—West 3 (Nettles-Bey, Hilliard-Williams 2), Craig 2 (Crandall, Calkins). Free throws missed—West 12, Craig 7. Total fouls—West 15, Craig 23. Fouled out—Negus, Kennedy.