Janesville Craig buries East, ties for third in Big Eight
The WIAA girls basketball tournament begins next week, and Janesville Craig continues to play like a team capable of making a long postseason run.
Behind 14 points from Emilie
O’Donnell, the Cougars pounced on Madison East, 59-39, in Thursday night’s Big Eight and regular-season finale.
Craig (15-7), which finished tied for third in the Big Eight at 12-6, has won eight of its last nine games. The only loss during the span was a 60-54 setback to Big Eight champion Middleton.
“Going into the tournament, I feel good about where we’re at,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “Since February, our only loss was a two-possession game to Middleton. I like how we’re playing, and the girls are confident because of the success we’ve had.
“Our defense has been great all season, and with Emilie back, we’re as healthy as we’ve been all year.”
Craig got well against an overmatched East team. Although University of Wisconsin recruit Makailah Dyer scored 29 points for East, the Purgolders had little else to offer. The Cougars led 12-2 after one quarter and pushed the lead to 14 at half. A 12-2 run to start the second half shot the lead up to 39-15 with 2:55 left in the third quarter.
Thursday’s game was Senior Night for Craig and all five seniors scored. O’Donnell, who has missed most of the season with an ankle injury, led the way with 14. Senior Brooke Negus scored 10 points for Craig, while seniors Kylee Kennedy, Michaela Holzhuter and Stephanie Perleberg also found the scorebook.
“Those five seniors have been such a big part of the program’s success,” Storbakken said. “To have them all come out tonight and contribute the way they did means a lot.”
Craig opens Division 1 tournament play Friday night at home against Mukwonago. The Cougars are the third seed and would likely play second-seeded Muskego on the road Saturday night.
“I think our sectional is wide open,” Storbakken said. “It’s going to be fun to watch. And the way we’re playing right now, I like our chances.”
CRAIG 59, EAST 39
East (38)—Morrison, 1-1-3; Dyar, 8-13-29; James, 0-3-3; Bowden, 2-0-4. Totals: 11-17-39.
Craig (59)—Perleberg, 1-0-2; Holzhuter, 1-3-5; Crandall, 2-0-5; Negus, 4-0-10; Kennedy, 3-1-7; O’Donnell, 3-5-14; Kelly, 4-0-8; Calkins, 2-0-4; Villa, 1-2-4. Totals: 21-11-59.
Madison East 2 11 6 20—39
Janesville Craig 12 15 18 14—59
Three-point goals—Craig 6 (O’Donnell 3, Negus 2, Crandall). Free throws missed—East 8, Craig 5. Total fouls—East 12, Craig 18.