Janesville Craig prevails vs. East
The Purgolders’ physical YMCA-style makes it nearly impossible to find a rhythm.
Fortunately for Janesville Craig (17-4, 13-4), one brisk 15-0 third-quarter run was just enough to fight off the feisty Purgolders, 58-54, in a Big Eight Conference makeup game here Monday night.
Amanda Hamilton led the Cougars with 15 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, while Emilie O’Donnell and Emily Hinman added 13 and 12, respectively, to lead the Cougars to the hard-fought victory.
That helped offset a 23-point performance by East junior Makailah Dyer, the Big Eight scoring leader.
“They provide some matchup problems,” Craig High coach Kerry Storbakken said of the Purgolders. “They don’t have the big 6-foot girl, but they are real bruisers that beat up on you.”
The Purgolders used their methodical style to perfection for most of the first half and led 28-25 early in the third quarter.
But East’s efforts were finally stymied by the Cougar combination of O’Donnell, Hinman, and Ciarra Sroda, who scored a combined 15 straight points to give Craig a 40-28 lead late in the third quarter.
“We came out of the locker room at halftime ready to go,” Storbakken said. “We hit some shots and started moving the ball well.”
The Purgolders, however, quickly answered with a 7-0 run and drew to within 40-35 on Dejuenae Daniels’ three-pointer.
The Cougars rebuilt the advantage to nine points twice in the fourth quarter before the Purgolders started chiseling away at the lead.
Nyakour Deang’s baseline three-pointer cut the Cougar lead to just 52-49 with 57 seconds to play. After Hamilton answered with two free throws, Deang drilled another three-pointer to cut the lead to 56-54 with 11 seconds left.
But it wasn’t enough to get past the Cougars as Sroda calmly sank two free throws to seal the victory with six seconds left.
“It was a good high school basketball game,” Storbakken said. “They (the Purgolders) had their runs, and we had our runs. But we had enough in the end behind some free throws to finish it off.”
The Cougars notched the first run of the game with eight straight points, behind Hamilton and O’Donnell’s three-pointers from the top of the key.
The Purgolders immediately answered with a 14-6 spurt to draw even at 14-14 by the end of the first quarter.
East grabbed a 24-18 lead in the second, before two Ally Marshick free throws cut the deficit to 26-25 at half.
The game remained close in the third before the Cougars unleashed its 15-0 run, which proved to be the difference in the game.
“It had a little bit of a playoff feel tonight, with tomorrow being the first of March,” Storbakken said. “We’ve just beaten two very good teams in Verona and East at home that gave us their best shots, so I’m proud of these kids.”
CRAIG 58, EAST 54
East (54)—Deang, 6-1-16; Dyer, 7-7-23; Jackson, 3-0-6; Justice, 1-2-4; Daniels, 1-0-3; Bading, 1-0-2. Totals: 19-10-54.
Craig (58)—Hamilton, 2-10-15; Storbakken, 1-0-2; Sroda, 4-2-12; O’Donnell, 5-0-13; Hinman, 2-8-12; Marshick, 0-2-2; Crandall, 0-2-2. Totals: 14-24-58.
Madison East 14 12 9 19—54
Janesville Craig 14 11 15 18—58
Three point goals—East 4 (Deang 2, Dyer 2), Craig 6 (Hamilton, Sroda 2, O’Donnell 3). Free throws missed—East 3, Craig 3. Total fouls—East 19, Craig 10. Fouled out—Jackson.