Madison La Follette’s quickness was too much for Janesville Craig’s boys basketball team Saturday night.
The Lancers ran the Cougars out of the gym in a 94-74 Division 1 regional final win.
Third-seeded La Follette (19-5) plays seventh-seeded Waunakee in a sectional semifinal game Thursday. Waunakee upset second-seeded Racine Park on Saturday.
Craig finished 11-13.
Behind the strong floor play of point guard Donnell Gray and five 3-pointers from Troy Reeves, La Follette pulled away early in the second half. The Lancers erupted for 61 points after halftime.
“They’re awfully quick, and I thought more than anything, their defensive pressure really hurt us,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said. “We had a good matchup in the post, but their pressure made it hard, at times, to get the ball in there.
“But give our kids credit. They really battled, but when you get behind a team like that, they do a great job of spreading the court and making you work awfully hard on the defensive end.”
Craig trailed by eight at the half, 33-25. Senior forward Jacob Lynch had 10 of his 18 points the first half for Craig.
The Cougars cut the margin to five early in the second half, but the Lancers responded with a 10-2 run to take control. Two Gray free throws made it 46-35 with 11:28 left, and Craig would get no closer than nine after that.
La Follette coach Curtrel Robinson said his team executed the game plan to perfection.
“The boys were locked in from the start,” Robinson said. “Craig’s a really good team that could shoot the ball, so I challenged our boys to step up their game and they did. We didn’t give them too many good looks at the basket.
“Huml really hurt us the last time we played them, so Donnell asked if he could guard him tonight and take on that tough task. He did a great job of getting through screens and picks and really locking him down.”
Senior Aaron Leverson led the Cougars with 22 points, 18 of which came in the second half when the game turned into a track meet.
Gray led La Follette with 25 points, with Reeves adding 23.
McCormick said Craig’s nine seniors will be missed.
“The relationships you build with those guys is what makes this so tough,” McCormick said. “They worked so hard and put in so much work that it’s just really difficult knowing you won’t be around them on a day-to-day basis anymore.”
LA FOLLETTE 94, CRAIG 74
Craig (74)—Huml 1-2-5, Bertagnoli 4-0-10, Rizzo 1-1-4, Fieiras 1-2-4, Leverson 7-6-22, Lynch 8-2-18, Ronde 3-0-9, McGrath 1-0-2. Totals: 26-13-74.
La Follette (94)—Do. Gray 9-7-25, Probst 5-5-17, Reeves 8-2-23, Stewart 2-5-10, Prather 3-0-6, Da. Gray 1-1-3, Tobar 0-2-2, Kunkle 1-4-6, Cameron 1-0-2. Totals: 30-26-94.
Craig 25 49—74
La Follette 33 61—94
3-point goals—Craig 9 (Ronde 3, Bertagnoli 2, Leverson 2, Huml 1, Rizzo 1), La Follette 8 (Reeves 5, Probst 2, Stewart 1). Free throws missed—Craig 3, La Follette 9. Total fouls—Craig 23, La Follette 18. Fouled out—Scoville, Stewart.