Janesville Craig girls basketball coach Kerry Storbakken is not going to make any bold predictions about his talented team heading into the 2021-22 season.
He’s quick to point out that despite lofty expectations, games aren’t played on paper. The Cougars are going to have to go out and prove themselves on the hardwood.
With the three-headed monster of Kate Huml, Ellie Majestro-Kennedy and Mya Nicholson terrorizing opponents, that shouldn’t be a problem.
”We know what we have,” Storbakken said. “Most teams don’t have one, nonetheless two players that are going to play at the next level. We have three. Kate is going to play at Oshkosh next year, Ellie committed to IUPUI, which is Division I, and Mya is one of the most heavily recruited sophomores in the state.
”We think we can compete with the best teams in the state, and certainly with anyone in our sectional.”
Craig opens the season Tuesday by hosting Stoughton in a nonconference game.
Majestro-Kennedy, Nicholson and Huml all averaged in double figures last season for a Craig team that finished 12-9 in the COVID-shortened season.
Huml, a senior, is a four-year varsity player. She averaged 12.6 points a game last year, and Storbakken said her strong play on the AAU circuit over the summer elevated her game.
”Kate’s strength is her confidence,” Storbakken said. “Her ball skills are as good as anyone, and she has really elevated her jump shot, which was already as good as you’ll find. That all comes from playing against such great competition in AAU ball.”
Majestro-Kennedy, a junior, averaged 12.9 points a game and will serve as the team’s point guard again this season.
”Ellie’s quick, strong and can hit threes,” Storbakken said. “That’s exactly what you want from your point guard. She’s really learned to trust her teammates, and is an excellent leader with her strong work ethic.”
Nicholson was second on the team in scoring a year ago at 13.3, and at 5-foot-10, will be counted on to be a physical presence in the post while also providing a scoring punch from the perimeter.
”Mya’s got the best footwork of anyone on the team,” Storbakken said. “She’s being highly recruited statewide, and basketball might not even be her best sport. She’s an outstanding golfer, and really, just an incredible athlete.”
Sophomore Lily Campbell started several games last year and will be an important cog on both ends of the court again this season. Storbakken said Campbell does all the little things to help a team be successful.
Storbakken said 5-11 senior Bryn McBride is the most improved player on the team, and that junior Ella Clark will play a much more prominent role this season.
Craig has never made a state appearance. Storbakken, now in his 12th year, said it’s definitely on the team’s radar this season.
”We’re no longer in the Madison sectional that included Middleton, Verona and Sun Prairie,” Storbakken said. “There’s still some very good teams in our new sectional like Oak Creek and Mukwonago, but I feel like it’s a good mix for us.
”The key for us will be rebounding, because we’re going to run into bigger teams than us, and to avoid those bad shooting nights.
”Defensively, with our depth, we are going to pressure teams 85-90 feet. With the finishers and scorers we have, we’ve got a chance to be really good.”
JANESVILLE CRAIG 2021-22 GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
(7 15 p.m. starting time unless noted)
November: 16—Stoughton; 23—Madison Memorial; 27—At Kettle Moraine Thanksgiving Showcase Tournament (Milwaukee Pius) 7 p.m.; 30—Madison West
December: 3—At Verona; 9—At Sun Prairie; 11—At Janesville Parker 2:30 p.m.; 14—At Kenosha Bradford 7 p.m.; 17—Middleton; 28—Milton 3:30 p.m.; 29—Craig Tournament (TBD)
January: 6—At Madison La Follette; 8—Madison East 2:30 p.m.; 15—At Madison College Showcase (Beloit Memorial) 10:45 a.m.; 20—At Madison Memorial; 22—At Madison West 2:30 p.m.; 25—Lake Geneva Badger; 28—Verona
February: 3—Sun Prairie; 5—Janesville Parker 2:30 p.m.; 8—At Middleton; 11—At Madison La Follette; 17—At Madison East; 19—At Beloit Memorial