Caleb Scoville might be the most improved player in the Big Eight Conference.
The Janesville Craig senior averaged 3.7 points per game last season.
This season, he’s third in the conference in scoring and continues to impress.
Friday night on Bob Suter Court, Scoville scored 26 points to lead Craig to a 70-61 Big Eight win over Middleton.
Craig (6-4, 4-3) trailed by seven at half but used an early 12-0 run in the second half to take control.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Cougars.
“We needed this one,” Scoville said. “The second half, we finally started playing like we’re capable of.
“Once the bench and crowd starts getting into it, we play a lot better, and that’s what happened the second half.”
Craig trailed 38-33 with 16:03 left before going scoring 12 straight points.
Scoville started the rally with a pair of free throws, and his basket underneath with 14:13 left gave the Cougars a 45-38 lead.
Middleton (4-4, 3-3) got no closer than five the rest of the way.
The Cardinals were forced to foul late, and the Cougars responded by making nine free throws over the final 5:11.
Junior Angelo Rizzo added 17 points for Craig, including 15 in the second half.
Craig coach Ben McCormick said Scoville has the potential to play at the next level.
“He had the same skill set last year, but we just couldn’t get him to use it enough,” McCormick said. “He’s one of the best finishers around the rim and has a knack for when to back cut.
“He’s a special player, and if he gets stronger, beyond high school, he could be a really good player.”
Scoville said he worked hard on his game in the offseason, but credits his teammates for his scoring splurge this season.
“I feel like I’m a good cutter (to the basket), and my teammates do a great job of finding me,” Scoville said. “I’m doing a better job of finishing at the rim and making free throws. I’m getting to the line a lot and making them.”
Craig plays at Madison West on Thursday.
CRAIG 70, MIDDLETON 61
Middleton (61)—Bauer 3-1-7; Deptula 5-6-18; Patterson 1-5-7; Schultz 5-0-13; Van Buren 1-4-6; Raffel 2-0-6; Fosdick 0-1-1; Carlson 1-1-3. Totals: 17-18-61
Craig (70)—Harriel 5-4-14; Scoville 9-8-26; rizzo 5-5-17; Clark 3-2-10; Brown 1-1-3. Totals: 23-20-70
Middleton 35 26—61
Janesville Craig 28 42—70
3-point goals—Middleton 9 (Schultz 3, Bauer 2, Raffel 2, Deptula 2), Craig 4 (Clark 2, Rizzo 2). Free throws missed—Middleton 4, Craig 10. Total fouls—Middleton 27, Craig 20. Fouled out—Fosdick, Raffel, Hughes