Janesville Craig’s girls basketball team feels like it could be undefeated on the season.
Instead, the Cougars suffered a second loss in just four days Friday night.
Once again they had opportunities in the late stages of a game but could not hit a critical basket.
On Tuesday, it cost them a nonconference loss, and on Friday they suffered a 54-48 Big Eight Conference setback against visiting Sun Prairie.
“Both games this week, it was exactly the same thing,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “We got stops, but we just couldn’t score. You can’t ask for more than layups, open threes and free throws.”
Craig fell to 4-2 overall and 3-1 and in a tie for second place in the league along with Sun Prairie, which is 4-1 and 3-1.
Craig cut its deficit to 46-44 with 5:12 remaining and got five consecutive possessions at that score, with a chance to tie or take the lead.
The Cougars missed an open 3-pointer, turned the ball over on a fast break, missed two more jumpers, could not convert on the front end of a bonus free-throw opportunity and missed a put-back layup off that miss.
“We went to a 2-3 zone, and they kept shooting or turning it over, and we got stops,” Storbakken said. “But we just couldn’t get a shot to go in.
“I think if we had gotten the lead, they (the Cardinals) might have crumbled under the pressure. And the shots were there.”
Instead, the Cardinals’ Antonique Auston buried a 3-pointer to make it 49-44 with 2:35 to play, and Craig never got closer than four the rest of the way.
Sun Prairie led for the final 17 minutes of the game after trailing for most of the game up to that point.
The Cardinals were down 25-20 late in the second half but cut it to 25-24 at the break and then scored 10 of the first 12 points in the second half to take the lead for good.
The Cougars suffered from a cold night at the free-throw line, going just 10 of 21.
“First half, we might have gone up by seven or eight, but we missed two bonuses and went 1-for-7 on free throws,” Storbakken said. “I told the kids, I really believe we should be 6-0. But we’re not.”
Jazzanay Seymore led the Cardinals with 19 points, while Auston finished with 14. Sun Prairie went 18 of 32 from the free-throw line.
Craig got a game-high 20 points from junior Claudia Fieiras, and sophomore Jessa Alderman gave the team a lift with eight of her nine coming in the second half.
The Cougars host Madison La Follette on Tuesday night.
SUN PRAIRIE 54, CRAIG 48
Sun Prairie (54)—Antony 1-1-3, Rademacher 1-0-2, Radlund 0-1-1, Rae 2-2-7, Strey 1-0-3, Outlay 1-2-5, Seymore 6-7-19, Auston 4-5-14. Totals: 16-18-54.
Craig (48)—Huml 3-0-8, Magestro-Kennedy 1-0-3, Fieiras 6-6-20, Dunlavy 3-0-8, Schrader 2-4-9. Totals: 15-10-48.
Sun Prairie 24 30—54
Janesville Craig 25 23—48
3-point goals—Sun Prairie 4 (Rae, Strey, Outlay, Auston), Craig 8 (Huml 2, Fieiras 2, Dunlavy 2, Magestro-Kennedy, Alderman). Free throws missed—Sun Prairie 14, Craig 11. Total fouls—Sun Prairie 20, Craig 20. Fouled out—Alderman.