The Sun Prairie girls basketball team flexed its first-place muscles Saturday night.
The Cardinals blitzed host Janesville Craig in the first half to maintain their perfect conference record.
They built a 20-point lead by halftime and never wavered in the second half of a 74-51 victory on Bob Suter Court.
Sun Prairie, ranked fourth in the state, is 13-1 overall and 10-0 in league play. Craig, playing its third game in five nights, dropped its fifth straight game to fall to 7-9 and 4-8.
“We just didn’t match their intensity to start the game,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “For whatever reason, we weren’t ready to play. They hit us, and like a first-place team will do, they kept us down.”
Up 9-7, the Cardinals used a 12-0 run to put the Cougars on their heels.
Sun Prairie then pushed its lead to 20, 30-10, with a little more than six minutes left in the half.
The Cardinals made 17 of 31 shot attempts (54.8 percent) in the first half. Many of those buckets came at the rim as Craig struggled to get back defensively.
“It was the first half that I’ve seen these kids not play hard,” Storbakken said. “There was just no energy.”
The Cougars’ struggles extended to the offensive end of the floor, where they shot just 7 of 31 (22.6 percent).
“Our shots weren’t falling, and that didn’t help,” Storbakken said. “But you can’t play the first-place team not getting back on defense and trailing kids in the lane and letting players go baseline.”
Sun Prairie’s Jayda Jansen, bound for Division II Maryville, finished with a game-high 19 points, and Elle Moore added 16.
Craig got 17 points from freshman Claudia Fieiras and 10 from sophomore Cassie Goswick.
The Cougars are off until Friday, when they host Middleton.
SUN PRAIRIE 74, CRAIG 51
Sun Prairie (74)—Hilber 3-2-8, Moore 6-4-16, Lutes 1-0-2, Jansen 7-5-19, Rae 3-1-7, Coulthart 2-0-4, Baker 2-3-7, Faust-Ziegler 2-2-6, Haas 1-0-2, Kostelnik 1-0-3. Totals: 28-17-74
Craig (51)—Pierson 2-4-9, Parkhurst 4-0-8, Elgas 1-0-2, Fieiras 6-2-17, Goswick 3-3-10, Dunlavy 1-1-3, Schrader 1-0-2. Totals: 18-10-51.
Sun Prairie 40 34—74
Janesville Craig 20 31—51
3-point goals—SP 1 (Kostelnik), JC 5 (Fieiras 3, Pierson, Goswick). Free throws missed—SP 5, JC 5. Total fouls—SP 17, JC 20.