Verona nips Craig
Time ran out in a tie game here Friday night, but that
didn’t keep Verona’s boys basketball team from having the last word at the Craig High gym.
Jason Biddle hit a free throw with no time left to give the Wildcats a 55-54 win in a Big Eight Conference game, thus breaking Craig’s four-game win streak.
Craig (6-15, 4-13) jumped out to a 9-0 advantage and led
19-3 after one quarter, while Verona (8-12, 8-8) struggled through 1-for-13 shooting.
“We’ve seen these opening streaks, but we’re usually on the other end of them,” said Craig coach Mike Miller. “We talked about the ups and downs, so it didn’t surprise us when Verona started shooting better during their comeback.”
The Wildcats held Craig to six points in the second quarter, and the first half ended in a
Miller said he wasn’t worried about his players having a letdown after losing a big lead.
“We’ve come a long ways, but there’s never been a lack of effort on this team,” he said. “Like I said, we know how these games go back and forth, and we were ready to play in the second half.”
the third quarter, but Verona’s Nate Ray took control. The 6-foot senior guard sank three straight long-range three-point goals to provide the Wildcats with a 47-43 cushion after three quarters.
Cody Dare matched Ray’s nine third-quarter points to keep the Cougars close.
Craig tied the game at 51-51 on Myles Johnson’s basket with 3:25 left in the game, but Ray came right back with another three-pointer to put Verona up 54-51 with 1:49 remaining, Johnson responded with a three-pointer to tie it at 54-54 with 1:30 left when Verona called time out.
The Wildcats slowed down the pace and worked for a last shot. Danny Burns drove the lane and put up a shot, but it came off the front of the rim.
Dare and Biddle fought for the ball with time running out, and the official called a foul on Dare.
“I didn’t dispute the foul, but I thought it was on the floor and not a shooting foul,” Miller said. “Had that been the case, we would have gone into overtime, but the ref was very decisive and quickly called it a shooting foul.”
Biddle, all alone at the Verona end of the floor, calmly stepped up to the line and made the winning free throw.
And so the Cougars head to their Big Eight finale at home next Thursday against Sun Prairie.
“Sun Prairie has all the pieces,” Miller said. “They may be the most talented team in the Big Eight, so we’re going to have another effort like tonight.”
VERONA 55, CRAIG 54
Verona (55)—Banzhaf, 1-0-2; Burns, 2-4-10; Ray, 7-2-21; Biddle, 1-2-4; Dalton, 5-0-11; Braxton, 1-0-2; Hainzinger, 1-0-2; Argall, 1-0-3. Totals: 19-8-55.
Craig (54)—Sarow, 1-0-2; Johnson, 6-0-14; Dare, 8-2-20; Pickarts, 1-0-3; Wright, 1-3-5; Brault, 1-0-2; Cooney, 1-0-3; Roth, 1-0-2; Eden, 1-1-3. Totals: 21-6-54.
Verona 3 22 22 8—55
Janesville Craig 19 6 18 11—54
Three-point goals—Verona 9 (Burns 2, Ray 5, Dalton 1, Argall), Craig 6 (Johnson 2, Dare 2, Pickarts, Cooney). Free throws missed—Verona 3, Craig 7. Total fouls—Verona 13, Craig 9.
Sophomores—Craig 64, Verona 42. Craig leading scorers—Jeremiah Ngobi 16, Austin Schumacher 12, Andy Miller 12, Austin Chang 10.