Calkins, Cougars hold off West's rally
JANESVILLE--Alli Calkins doesn’t mind being the lone senior on the Janesville Craig girls basketball team.
In fact, she kind of likes it.
The Cougars leaned on her in crunch time Thursday night, and she responded by scoring six of her 12 points in the fourth quarter as Craig held off Madison West’s late charge for a 63-49 victory to open Big Eight Conference play.
“I had a pretty rough first half, and my teammates definitely picked me up,” Calkins said. “It’s weird being the only senior, but it’s also nice, because I like when people rely on me. It’s nice being a leader.”
The Regents trailed by double digits for much of the second and third quarters, but they used a 7-1 run to open the fourth to trail 49-45.
Calkins drew a foul at the offensive end and sank both of her free throws, and after West missed a shot at the other end, Craig junior Al Hughes knocked down a 3-pointer to quickly regain momentum.
Hughes forced a jump ball—giving possession to Craig—on defense, and the Cougars got back to the free-throw line. They couldn’t cash in, but Calkins grabbed an offensive rebound and called timeout.
“She had a nice game despite sitting a lot,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “She sat a lot of the third quarter and was out in the first half with fouls.
“Our kids showed some poise down the stretch.”
Craig found Calkins for a layup on the inbounds play, and the Cougars finished off the Regents at the charity stripe.
“Sometimes you have to win ugly,” Calkins said.
She was one of four Craig players in double figures. Hughes led all scorers with 17, while sophomore guards Anne Schumacher and Delaney Schoenenberger chipped in 13 and 12, respectively. Shaquita Lee had 16 for West.
The Cougars led by a dozen points at halftime, mainly because they made seven 3-pointers.
They shot just 31.5 percent for the game and missed 15 free throws.
“We’ll learn from it; we’ve got one senior out of 12 kids,” Storbakken said. “It was the first Big Eight game for the sophomores, and the games get a little bigger. But we weathered the storm.”
The Cougars play at Verona on Saturday night.