Janesville Craig Cougars control Regents
Fortunately for Craig High, its talented guard duo of Amanda Hamilton and Emilie O’Donnell proved to be rust-proof.
Hamilton and O’Donnell outscored the Regents 36-34 for the game and propelled Craig (15-4, 10-4) to an easy 59-34 victory over West (5-13, 4-11), lifting the Cougars back into a second-place tie with Verona in the Big Eight Conference.
Coach Kerry Storbakken was impressed with his Cougars’ strong response after the long layoff.
“With everything going on, we haven’t played since Feb. 11, so I knew that there would be a little bit of rust,” Storbakken said. “But for the most part, all the girls contributed, and we did some good things out there.”
It took a good chunk of the first quarter for the Cougars to shake off the rust.
Paige Sieben’s baseline three-pointer gave the Regents a 7-5 lead with 3:30 left in the first.
Craig quickly countered with a Hamilton three-pointer and two O’Donnell baseline three-pointers, sparking the Cougars to a 16-9 by the end of the first quarter.
O’Donnell had a team-high four three-pointers, including three in the first half.
West never had an answer for the Cougars’ long-distance shooting. The Regents managed just one free throw in the second quarter and were down 25-10 at halftime.
“We we’re making shots, our defense is usually good,” Storbakken said. “Our defense was good, swarming and trapping, making it tough on the shooters.”
Hamilton kept the pressure on the Regents in the third quarter. The 5-6 senior’s three-pointer and runner in the lane helped the Cougars build a 39-15 lead with 2:32 to play in the quarter.
Craig increased its advantage to 27 midway through the fourth on Ally Marshick’s two free throws.
“As soon as we started attacking middle in and then back out against the zone, we started getting good looks,” Storbakken said. “We have some good shooters that eventually started making shots.”
And now with the rust gone, Storbakken expects his team to be plenty rested for the stretch run of the regular season.
“Actually with the makeup games, things are going to work out better for the playoffs,” Storbakken said. “We had two games in two weeks, and now we have four. With these makeup games, I think it’s going to work out better for us.”
CRAIG 59, WEST 34
West (34)—McClarn, 2-0-4; Dickerson, 3-1-7; Hilliard-Williams, 2-0-4; Ward, 1-0-3; Jackson, 1-3-5; Sieben, 1-0-3; Cox, 1-5-7; Welch, 0-1-1. Totals: 11-11-34.
Craig (59)—Hamilton, 9-2-23; Storbakken, 0-2-2; Sroda, 2-0-4; O’Donnell, 4-1-13; Hinman, 1-3-5; Marshick, 1-2-4; Crandall, 2-0-4; Holzhuter, 1-2-4. Totals: 20-12-59.
Madison West 9 1 10 14—35
Janesville Craig 16 9 16 18—59
Three point goals – West 1 (Sieben), Craig 7 (Hamilton 3, O’Donnell 4). Free throws missed – West 10, Craig 8. Total fouls – West 19, Craig 17.
Sophomores—Craig 61, West 27.