Janesville Craig’s starters raced out to another hot start on the road Thursday night.
Then a couple of Cougars reserves helped the team wade through foul trouble after halftime.
Junior Emily Pierson scored 26 points and Craig made 12 3-pointers in beating Lake Geneva Badger 76-49 in a nonconference girls basketball game.
Craig improved to 4-3 overall. Badger, which was without two leading scorers and its head coach, lost its third straight game and is 6-3.
“We’ve talked with this young group about good starts, and against Beloit we came out and blitzed them right away, and tonight, too,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said.
Pierson made 3s on Craig’s first three possessions, and the Cougars needed a little more than three minutes to build a double-digit lead.
A 12-0 run later in the half helped Craig lead 43-22 at halftime.
“Emily was being a captain and being a leader,” Storbakken said. “She got her first couple 3s to set the tone and then was out there to help hold the younger kids together in the second half. She had a real nice game.”
The Cougars needed a calming influence as they racked up fouls and Badger cut its deficit to 14, 50-36, with 12 minutes left.
With two starters on the bench in foul trouble and leading scorer Cassie Goswick out with an injury, Craig went on a 10-0 run to slam the door.
Sophomores Sarah Gregg and Abbey Schrader each made a 3-pointer off the bench during that stretch.
“I called a timeout and got after them a little bit and they really responded with, I think, four straight baskets,” Storbakken said of his team. “Give Sarah and Abbey a lot of credit. They stepped in there and built the lead.”
Sophomore Rileigh Elgas was 7 of 11 from the field to score 14 points, while Goswick and freshman Claudia Fieiras finished with nine each. Craig was 12 of 31 from beyond the arc.
Badger never got closer than 22 points the rest of the way. It was without Courtney Oomens, an injured six-footer averaging 11 points per game, and head coach David Joost, due to a medical issue.
The Badgers also struggled at the free-throw line, going 15 of 31. Alexis Todd led the team with 11 points.
“We have eight or nine seniors who have all been playing varsity, so I was hoping maybe we’d rise up and play above our heads,” assistant coach Steve Deering said. “I thought the effort was awesome ... but it was just technique.
“Craig was great on offensive rebounding, and they can shoot the lights out. We knew that from watching film, but I don’t know who can’t shoot for them, because everyone was making them.”
Craig hosts Milton in the Optimist Classic tournament on Wednesday. Badger is off until Jan. 5.
CRAIG 76, BADGER 49
Craig (76)—Gregg 2-0-6, Pierson 8-4-26, Parkhurst 1-3-5, Elgas 7-0-14, Fieiras 3-1-9, Goswick 4-0-9, Dunlavy 1-2-4, Schrader 1-0-3. Totals: 27-10-76
Badger (49)—Welch 1-3-5, Deering 3-1-8, Kleeman 2-0-4, Nurnberg 1-0-3, Amann 1-0-3, Todd 2-7-11, Smid 2-2-6, Clifford 1-1-4, Hibbler 2-1-5. Totals: 15-15-49
Lake Geneva Badger;22;27—49
Three-point goals—Craig 12 (Pierson 6, Gregg 2, Fieiras 2, Goswick, Schrader), Badger 4 (Deering, Nurnberg, Amann, Clifford). Free throws missed—Craig 4, Badger 16. Total fouls—Craig 23, Badger 18. Fouled out—Fieiras, Schrader, Dunlavy.