Beloit Memorial still considers Janesville Craig an archrival.
Just ask Trayvon Fair.
The Purple Knights senior point guard spent the second half of Monday night’s Big Eight Conference boys basketball makeup game dissecting the host Cougars.
“This is a big game for us, and we beat them one time so we knew they were going to want revenge,” Fair said. “We’ve got a two-game win streak now, I think for the first time this season. It feels good.”
Fair scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, dished out enough assists to make sure four other teammates also finished in double figures and kept Beloit’s recent dominance in the series going with an 80-70 victory on Bob Suter Court.
The Knights improved to just 6-13 overall and 5-10 in league play, but that includes a season sweep of the Cougars. Beloit has won 16 of the last 21 meetings in the series. Craig fell to 9-11 and 7-9.
“There’s no substitute for quickness, and he’s lightning-quick,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said of Fair. “He gave us trouble the first time, too. We tried some different things, went to a zone, hits a long 3. Tried to trap him ... and even then we couldn’t keep him in front of us.
“He was kind of a one-man wrecking crew tonight.”
It didn’t look like things would go that way in the first half.
Craig senior Blake McCann, who led all scorers with 32 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field, hit four of Craig’s seven first-half 3-pointers. His fourth put the Cougars up 31-20 with about seven minutes left in the half.
But the Purple Knights buckled down defensively from there, forcing the Cougars into ill-advised shots. Beloit whittled the deficit to 38-36 by halftime.
“We shot the ball well to start with. I’m not 100 percent sure all those shots were great shots, but they went in,” McCormick said. “Our shot selection wasn’t the best. And I told them, ‘That’s not the Craig basketball I’m used to seeing.’
“They (Beloit) do that to you a little bit with their pressure; there’s some gaps to drive in. But I think we’re better when we reverse the ball and work for not a good shot but a great shot.”
Fair also went just 1 of 7 from the field in the first half, admitting afterward he was trying force things a bit too much. But he was 6 of 9 after halftime, and his penetration into the lane with passes for easy layups helped the Purple Knights shoot 57 percent in the second half.
Fair’s deep 3 with more than 12 minutes left put Beloit up for good at 48-45.
Craig got as close as two twice, including the final time with just over seven minutes left. But the Knights had layups on four straight possessions around the five-minute mark to stretch the advantage to a dozen.
“That’s my favorite thing,” Fair said of his drive-and-dish ability. “I was just trying to play and let the game come to me.”
John Rodriguez (17 points), Terrell Ringer (15), Amariah Cook (12) and Kamryn Bach (10) gave Beloit a starting five that all finished in double figures.
Jacob Ngobi added 18 points for Craig, which will try to rebound in a Friday-night road game against Madison West.
BELOIT 80, CRAIG 70
Beloit (80)—Fair 7-0-18, Rodriguez 7-3-17, Bach 5-0-10, Ringer 6-2-15, Cook 4-4-12, White 2-0-6, Floyd 0-2-2. Totals: 31-11-80.
Craig (70)—McCann 11-5-32, Bertagnoli 3-0-7, Ngobi 6-4-18, Malmanger 2-1-6, Lynch 0-2-2, Rizzo 1-0-3, Ronde 1-0-2. Totals: 24-12-70.
Beloit Memorial 36 44—80
Janesville Craig 38 32—70
3-point goals—Beloit 7 (Fair 4, White 2, Ringer), Craig 10 (McCann 5, Ngobi 2, Malmanger, Rizzo, Bertagnoli). Free throws missed—Beloit 9, Craig 3. Total fouls—Beloit 18, Craig 16.