Wildcats roll early; Janesville Cougars can’t recover
Using a full-court, man-to-man defense, the third-ranked Wildcats jumped to a quick 7-0 lead they never relinquished en route to a 57-42 Big Eight Conference victory.
The Wildcats forced Craig into 10 first-half turnovers and used a 16-4 second-quarter run to pull away for a
Craig fell to 0-2 in the Big Eight and overall.
“We started slow,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “We were playing good defense, but we just couldn’t get the ball to fall. We couldn’t get a good look. I don’t know if we came out a little tentative against a good basketball team.”
Drake recruit Ashley Bartow started the second-quarter Verona run with two free throws and added back-to-back layups that pushed the Wildcats’ lead to 24-11. The senior finished with a game-high 16 points.
Shannon Kant added 13 points, with six in the fourth quarter for undefeated Verona (3-0 overall, 2-0 in the Big Eight).
Nicole Kelly came off the bench to lead the Cougars with nine points. Alli Calkins added eight.
The Cougars clawed back in the second half and pulled within 42-30 with 21 seconds left in the third quarter when Brooke Negus made a left-handed shot underneath.
But, Craig failed to score for the first 4:34 of the fourth quarter. Kelly broke the scoreless streak with two free throws, but by then the Wildcats had a 50-32 lead.
Craig’s Michaela Holzhuter and Maddie Phillips connected on consecutive three-pointers to cut the margin to 52-40 with 1:14 left, but the Wildcats made five of their next six free throws to close out the win.
Verona made 25 of 29 free throws in the game, while Craig was 11 of 15.
“We are going to go through some growing pains,” Storbakken said. “But I think by the end of the day, we are going to be all right. Our kids play hard.”
VERONA 57, CRAIG 42
Craig (42)—Holzhuter, 1-2-5; Negus, 2-0-5; Crandall, 1-2-5; Kennedy, 1-0-2; Calkins, 3-2-8; Kelly, 2-5-9; Phillips, 2-0-6, Potter, 1-0-2. Totals: 13-11-42.
Verona (57)—Smith 1-2-4; Bartow, 4-8-16; Dreher, 1-0-3; Lorbiecki, 2-3-7; Kant, 2-9-13; Hintz, 2-0-5; Tvedt, 1-3-5; Campbell, 2-0-4. Total 15-25-57.
Janesville Craig 5 9 16 12—42
Verona 14 16 12 15—57
Three-point goals—Craig 5 (Phillips 2, Holzhuter, Negus, Crandall), Verona 2 (Hintz, Dreher). Free throws missed—Craig 4, Verona 4. Total fouls—Craig 17, Verona 16. Fouled out—Negus.