Craig shakes off slow start with big finish
Not much was going right for Janesville Craig as it wrestled visiting Madison La Follette to an 8-8 first-quarter tie Friday in Big Eight Conference girls basketball.
Craig committed eight turnovers and made three of just six shots through the first eight minutes. Craig coach Kerry Storbakken didn’t panic.
“We were tied, 8-8,” Storbakken said. “You look at it, you’re playing at home, and both teams were feeling each other out. (La Follette) is a good basketball team, and I knew both teams were going to go on a run.’’
Storbakken’s patience paid off as the Cougars defeated the Lancers, 62-49, to notch their fourth straight win.
Craig improves to 11-6 overall and is four-way tie for third place 9-5 in the Big Eight. Craig defeated La Follette, 37-34, five days before Christmas.
Craig started putting it back together with a 9-0 run in the second quarter to take a 19-12 lead. Alli Calkins hit a pair of baskets and Brooke Negus added the first of her two three-point baskets to spark Craig.
La Follette went two for 11 from the floor in the first quarter, and missed its first seven shots in the second quarter, staged a 10-2 run to take a 22-21 lead on Clare Gloede’s two straight three-point baskets.
Brooke Negus hit a three from behind half court as the halftime buzzer sounded to put Craig ahead 24-22 at the half.
Negus’s heroic shot put a broad smile on her face, and gave Craig the reprieve it desperately needed.
“That was huge,” Storbakken said of Negus’s shot. “We lost a seven-point lead on a three and we come back and hit a three for a two-point lead. That was a big boost.”
Craig pulled away in the third quarter with a 12-0 run. Calkins hit a pair of three-point baskets and a pair of free throws to lead Craig’s surge.
“(Calkins) hit those two big threes,” Storbakken said. “She did a great job coming off the bench.”
Calkins scored 12 of her 14 points in the second and third quarters.
Craig made 12 of 17 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Junior point guard Kristi Crandall scored eight points of her team-high 15 points in the final frame, including a six of nine performance from the foul line.
“It was nice to see the kids step up,” Storbakken said.
CRAIG 62, LA FOLLETTE 49
La Follette (49)—Grahn, 3-3-9; Smith, 0-2-2; Gloede, 5-2-16; Hodge, 2-0-4; Meiller, 2-4-7; Singh, 4-4-12. Totals: 16-11-49
Craig (62)—Perleberg, 1-0-2; Holzhuter, 2-1-5; Negus, 2-3-9; Crandall, 4-7-15; Kennedy, 1-1-3; Kelly, 3-0-6; Calkins, 4-4-14; Villa, 3-2-8. Totals: 20-17-62.
Madison La Follette 8 14 10 17—49
Janesville Craig 8 16 18 20—62
Three-point goals—La Follette 4 (Gloede), Craig 4 (Negus 2, Calkins 2). Free throws missed—La Follette 5, Craig 8. Total fouls—La Follette 17, Craig 18. Fouled out—Kennedy.