Craig manages to get past Mukwonago
The Mukwonago and Janesville Craig girls basketball teams certainly appeared to be influenced by the ugly Big Ten men’s tournament game.
Craig High overcame a shaky performance and hung on to clinch its first WIAA regional championship since 2007 with a 44-37 victory over Mukwonago here Saturday afternoon.
With its school-record-tying 19th victory of the season, Craig (19-4) punched its ticket to a Division 1 sectional semifinal game against cross-town rival Janesville Parker (16-7) on Thursday, tentatively scheduled to be played at Burlington. The site may changed on Monday.
Now just three wins away from a trip to Madison and city bragging rights at stake, Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said he was just happy to survive feisty Mukwonago.
“I think we might have been watching the Badgers last night,” Storbakken said. “It was a struggle today. Our free throws weren’t going early on, and our shots were going in and out, but our kids hung there and had a great effort.”
In the end, effort proved to be good enough for the Cougars.
After Jennifer Tuttle’s two free throws cut the Cougar lead to just 31-28 with seven minutes left, Craig’s Ciarra Sroda quickly answered with a spinning layup in the lane. Amanda Hamilton then added a runner over 6-1 center Amber Gray to build the lead to 35-28 with 4:51 to play.
The Indians got back within three, 39-36 on Lauren Bane’s two free throws with two minutes left, but five clutch free throws from Hamilton and Emily Hinman finally foiled the upset.
“We did not play our best basketball, but we survived,” Storbakken said. “Our best basketball is hopefully coming in the sectionals. But when you don’t play well and still win, it’s a sign of a good basketball team.”
There weren’t many positive signs for Craig in the early going.
The lengthy Indians, led by 6-3 center Kendall Martenet, owned the paint in the first quarter and held a 10-8 lead with 1:30 left in the quarter.
Ally Marshick finally kick-started a 6-0 spurt for Craig with one of two three-pointers to help her team grab a 14-10 lead by the end of the quarter.
Marshick’s second three-pointer led a 9-0 spurt in the second quarter that propelled the Cougars to a 25-16 halftime lead.
But the Cougars couldn’t add that final knockout punch in the second half and ended up clinging to just a 29-23 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
It remained tight the rest of the way until Cougar free throws put the game out of reach.
CRAIG 44, MUKWONAGO 37
Mukwonago (37)—Tuttle, 1-8-10; Martenet, 1-4-6; Lorenz, 0-2-2; Persinger, 0-1-1; Landry, 0-1-1; Bane, 2-2-4; Aoys, 1-0-2; Gray, 4-1-9; Dolata, 0-2-2. Totals: 8-21-37.
Craig (44)—Hamilton, 2-9-13; Storbakken, 1-0-2; Sroda, 4-0-8; O’Donnell, 0-2-2; Hinman, 2-3-7; Marshick, 2-0-6; Kennedy, 1-0-2; Crandall, 1-2-4. Totals: 13-16-44.
Mukwonago 10 6 7 14—37
Janesville Craig 14 11 4 15—44
Three point goals—Craig 2 (Marshick 2). Free throws missed—Mukwonago 11, Craig 13. Total fouls—Mukwonago 22, Craig 23.