Ben McCormick’s debut as Janesville Craig’s boys basketball coach was a smashing success.
Blake McCann scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Cougars to a 68-55 nonconference win over Madison Edgewood on Saturday night at Craig High.
Craig got solid contributions up and down the lineup, including a double-double from Luke Malmanger, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
McCormick was pleased with his team’s effort against an Edgewood team that was the Badger South co-champion last season.
“Edgewood’s a real good program and well-coached,” McCormick said. “They came out with a lot of energy, and I thought we did a great job matching it.
“I think what I was most pleased about was our rebounding. That’s something we’ve really stressed and worked hard on. It was good to see that pay off.”
Craig ended the first half on a 10-4 run to take a 35-28 halftime lead. McCann had 17 points the first half, including three 3-pointers, but had plenty of support.
Jack Huml came off the bench to score six points the first half, while Seth Glissendorf had three steals and four rebounds for the Cougars.
Trailing by seven at half, Edgewood made one last push to get within two at 45-43 with 11:46 to play, but Craig responded with an 11-0 run. Malmanger started the rally with a turnaround jumper to push the lead back to two and two Jacob Ngobi free throws capped it off to make it 56-43 with 6:36 left. Edgewood got no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
Craig hit seven 3s in the game, and defensively, shut down Edgewood’s Mandela Deang in the second half. The 6-foot-5 Deang was fourth in the Badger South in scoring a year ago at 18 points per game and had 15 in the first half against Craig. The Cougars limited him to only five points in the second half and none in the last 15 minutes of the game.
“For the most part, I thought we played under control,” McCormick said. “Guys are starting to understand their roles what is expected of them.
“It’s a good win against a good team. We’ve got things to work on, but I was really pleased with our effort and energy.”
Craig opens Big Eight Conference play Thursday night at home against Madison La Follette.
CRAIG 68, EDGEWOOD 55
Edgewood (55)—Duffek 4-0-11; Browne 1-0-2; Cruz 5-2-12; Deang 7-4-20; Meriggioli 1-0-2; Murphy 2-0-6; Thelen 0-2-2. Totals: 19-8-55.
Craig (68)—McCann 9-2-23; Ngobi 2-2-6; Glissendorf 3-0-7; Leverson 1-0-2; Malmanger 5-0-10; Huml 2-1-6; Lynch 1-0-2; Bertagnoli 3-0-7; Ronde 1-2-5. Totals: 27-7-68.
Madison Edgewood 28 27—55
Janesville Craig 35 33—68
Three-point goals—Edgewood 7 (Duffek 3, Deang 2, Murphy 2), Craig 7 (McCann 3, Glissendorf, Huml, Bertagnoli, Ronde). Free throws missed—Edgewood 1, Craig 3. Total fouls—Edgewood 12, Craig 14.