Janesville Craig’s boys basketball team got the new year off to a positive start Tuesday night.
Angelo Rizzo scored 23 points, and the Cougars held off a late Madison Edgewood rally en route to a 60-57 home victory on Bob Suter Court.
Craig (3-7) led 47-23 with 12:40 left but saw Edgewood (3-5) go on a 23-4 run to cut the lead to five with 4:43 to play. The Crusaders had a chance to force overtime, but Isandro Jimenez’s 3-point shot at the buzzer caromed off the right side of the rim.
Craig coach Ben McCormick was disappointed in the way his team finished but liked what he saw the first 30 minutes, especially in the first half.
“Our guys met as a group and recognized that they need to bring more energy, and that’s what you saw tonight,” McCormick said. “It’s tough in a gym where it’s not really full, and the guys got together and said, ‘We’ve got to bring our own.’ I thought our bench was tremendous the first half giving support.
“And the first half I thought we really ran better. We pushed the ball and were not in the half court very often. But we got away from that the second half and slowed things down, and that allowed them to get back in it.
“Plus, they hit some shots they hadn’t made all game when they made their run.”
Craig led from the start. The Cougars opened up an early 13-2 lead and pushed the margin to 16 on Da’Marcus DeValk’s basket with 1:02 left in the half that made it 32-16.
The lead was eventually 15 at the break.
Rizzo had 11 points in the first half, while junior Luke DeGraaf hit two big 3-pointers that helped stretch the lead.
The Cougars threatened to run the Crusaders out of the gym early in the second half. A 13-4 run over the first six minutes of the half, capped by Luke Brown’s layup, made it 47-23 with 12:40 left.
Edgewood got hot from beyond the arc and quickly whittled a 24-point lead down to five.
Craig’s Cole Bertaqnoli hit a key basket with 4:01 left that pushed the lead back to seven at 53-46. The Cougars got the lead back to 10 with 1:22 remaining, but the Crusaders scored the last eight points of the game to make it close.
Bertagnoli chipped in 10 points in the win, with Rizzo adding 12 the second half.
“At the end there, we’ve got to understand time (left) and the situation,” McCormick said.
“But wins aren’t easy to come by, and our guys deserved this one tonight. Moving forward, we’ve got to correct what we can and build off this win.”
Craig hosts Elkhorn in a nonconference game Saturday night.
CRAIG 60, EDGEWOOD 57
Edgewood (57)—Trudgeon 4-1-10; Krautz 1-2-5; Newson 1-0-3; Hackworthy 1-0-2; Regnier 1-0-2; Jimenez 5-2-16; Nwanko 2-1-5; Schenk 1-0-2; Clark 5-1-11. Totals: 21-7-47
Craig (60)—DeValk 3-2-8; Harriel 2-2-6; Bertagnoli 4-2-10; Brown 2-0-4; DeGraaf 2-0-6; Halverson 1-0-3; Rizzo 10-1-23. Totals: 24-7-60
Madison Edgewood 19 38-57
Janesville Craig 34 26—60
3-point goals—Edgewood 8 (Jimenez 4, Trudgeon 2, Krautz, Newson), Craig 5 (DeGraaf 2, Rizzo 2, Halverson). Free throws missed—Edgewood 2, Craig 3. Total fouls—Edgewood 14, Craig 11.