It took one half for Janesville Craig’s girls basketball team to warm up Saturday afternoon.
Playing against a Janesville Parker team with only three wins on the season, Craig led by one point at halftime.
The second half was all Cougars.
Mya Nicholson and Claudia Fieiras scored 18 points each, and Craig used a 24-2 run to start the second half to secure a 68-41 nonconference win on Bob Suter Court.
In sweeping the regular-season series with its crosstown rival, Craig improved to 11-8.
“I give Parker a lot of credit,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “They got really comfortable against our man-to-man defense the first half, so we switched over to a 2-3 zone the second half.
“They played hard, but I think they were a little bit gassed the second half, and we were able to take advantage. We had a bounce in our step the second half that we didn’t have the first half.”
Parker (3-13) kept it close the first half behind 11 points from Alyssa Ayers and nine from Alli Rosga.
Craig took an 18-11 lead with 4:41 left in the first half on a Nicholson 3-pointer.
Parker clawed back and eventually cut the deficit to a point at 27-26 at half.
A 16-0 Craig run to start the second half buried the Vikings.
Nicholson and Lily Campbell hit back-to-back 3s for a 35-26 lead, and Fieiras’ 3-pointer from the right wing made it 43-27 with 12:46 to play.
Parker didn’t get its first points of the second half until Rosga made a jumper with 12:20 left.
“I thought we played as hard as we could the first half,” Parker coach Jennah Hartwig said. “But it’s the end of the season, and I thought we ran out of gas the second half.
“Craig hit a couple of shots early in the second half to extend the lead, and that made us feel like we had to force things a little bit and shots didn’t fall.
“We stopped doing the little things, and I know fatigue can play a part in that, but it’s no excuse. You still have to box out and take care of the basketball.”
Ellie Magestro-Kennedy added 11 points for Craig, while Rosga’s 16 led Parker.
Parker hosts Milton on Tuesday night in a Division 1 regional quarterfinal game, with top-seeded Craig waiting in the wings on Thursday in a regional semifinal game.
“Our kids will be ready to go on Thursday, but we’ve got to have a better start than we did today,” Storbakken said. “We haven’t had good starts lately, and have been digging ourselves a hole. You can’t do that come tournament time.”
CRAIG 68, PARKER 41
Parker (41)—Rosga 4-6-16; Ayers 3-5-11; Luek 3-0-9; Green 0-3-3; Miller 1-0-2. Totals: 11-14-41
Craig (68)--Campbell 2-0-5; Magestro-Kennedy 3-5-11; Fieiras 6-4-18; Nicholson 6-2-18; McBride 2-0-4; Alderman 4-0-8; Clarke 2-0-4. Totals: 25-11-68
3-point goals—Parker 5 (Luek 3, Rosga 2), Craig 7 (Nicholson 4, Fieiras 2, Campbell). Free throws missed—Parker 2, Craig 6. Total fouls—Parker 14, Craig 15. Fouled out—Green