Loss leaves Craig in foul mood
Appleton North defeated Craig, 51-42, by shooting 17 of 24 from the free-throw line. The Cougars shot 75 percent from the charity stripe, but only had four attempts.
"You tell me," said Craig coach Kerry Storbakken when asked to comment on the game's outcome. "They got to the line 24 times, and we go there just four times. We are called for 20 fouls and they have nine. What's that all about?"
Despite the disparity in fouls and free throw attempts, Craig had a chance at repeating as the Optimist Classic champs. After falling behind 21-11 in the second quarter, the Cougars closed the gap to six behind three-point shooting by Brooke Negus and Kristi Crandall. Craig's Katie Villa came off the bench in the second quarter to add five points, including a 3-point goal.
While Craig picked up the offensive tempo, the Cougars were already experiencing foul problems. Nicole Kelly picked up her third foul halfway through the second quarter, and starter Alli Calkins had to sit out most of the first half when she was called for her second foul just 2:29 into the game.
The Cougars regrouped in the second half and put a 9-0 run on North when Kelly tied the game at 28 with a field goal with 3:52 left in the third. In the meantime, North shooters went cold going 4 for 16 from the field in the third quarter. The Cougars took advantage of the missed shots, grabbing nine defensive rebounds.
North came back to pull ahead 35-30 heading into the final period, and Craig could not keep pace. North was 12 for 14 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
"In spite of the foul situation and the lack of free throws for us, I think we played well at times," Storbakken said. "Those two runs we had were impressive, and we showed that we won't give up. But when the other team has that many opportunities from the free-throw line, well, that's just hard to overcome.
"I'm not trying to take anything away from Appleton North," Storbakken said, "but I'm at a loss to explain the difference in free throws and fouls. They are a lot like our next opponent, Middeton.
"We not only shot the ball well, but we played good defense," Storbakken said. "It's just too bad we didn't get rewarded for it like they did."
Appleton North improved its season record to 7-2.
Craig's Negus led all scorers with 15 points,while teammate Michaela Holzhuter added 13.
Craig's overall record dropped to 4-3. The Cougars resume Big Eight Cnference action against Middleton on Saturday, Jan.7.
APPLETON NORTH 51, CRAIG 42
North (51)—Greisch, 2-2-6; Riebau, 1-4-6; Baker, 3-5-13; Dudley, 4-0-9; Stage, 3-5-12; Clemons, 1-1-3; Jones, 1-0-2. Totals: 15-17-51.
Craig (42)—Holzhuter, 1-1-3; Negus, 5-2-15; Crandall, 1-0-3; Kennedy, 3-0-6; Calkins, 1-0-2; Kelly, 2-0-4; Villa, 2-0-5; Perleberg, 1-0-2; March, 1-0-2. Totals: 17-3-42.
Appleton North 13 12 10 16—51
Janesville Craig 8 11 11 12—42
Three-point goals—North 4 (Baker 2, Dudley, Stage), Craig 5 (Negus 3, Crandall, Villa). Free throws missed—North 7, Craig 1. Total fouls—North 9, Craig 20.
-- Third-place game—Pulaski 47, Oregon 33.