Craig girls win round one over Parker
JANESVILLE—Al Hughes determined early on Friday night that she was heading to the rim.
Nothing, and no one, was going to get in the Janesville Craig point guard's way during a Big Eight Conference crosstown rivalry game against Janesville Parker.
That mentality led Hughes to score 27 points, including driving layups that bookended a game-changing 19-0 third-quarter run, and the Cougars topped the Vikings 58-48 to remain perfect on their home floor this season.
“You only get this chance once a year at home,” Hughes said. “They were guarding me really tight and face-guarding me. But I just thought, 'When I get the ball, I'm just going to beat her,' because she's on me so tight.”
The plan worked.
Hughes went 8-for-11 from the field, with most of her baskets coming in the lane. The aggressive play also led to 12 free-throw attempts, and she cashed in 10 times.
“I still think she's the best point guard in the league,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “She came ready to play. She was getting off that screen and going right to the hoop and finishing. She's an incredible player.”
The Cougars (8-3, 5-3 Big Eight) led by one after a foul-plagued, offensively anemic first half. But Parker junior Jessica Thompson buried one of her four 3-pointers—10 of the Vikings 14 buckets in the game came from deep—to give her team a 27-25 lead in the early minutes of the second.
From there, though, Craig took over in a decisive four-minute stretch. Hughes helped the Cougars regain the lead with an old-fashioned three-point play, forcing a timeout with 6:08 left in the third quarter.
“We did a pretty good job on her early, but the bottom line was we had some defensive breakdowns,” Vikings coach Tom Klawitter said. “We needed to try to keep the ball out of her hands.”
Hughes scored all nine of her third-quarter points during the pivotal 19-0 stretch. Sophomore guard Anne Schumacher also had back-to-back 3-pointers during the run where Craig scored on eight straight possessions.
At the other end, the Vikings (6-6, 5-3) failed to establish an inside presence, going 0-for-4—all from 3-point range—and turning the ball over three times as their two-point lead quickly spiraled into a 17-point deficit.
“We talked at halftime about how we hadn't made a run yet, and we needed to get on that run,” Storbakken said. “But we were up by one at halftime with two starters on the bench (in foul trouble), so we thought we were in pretty good shape.”
Aleyha Slatter had a big basket during the run and was the only other Craig player in double figures with 10 points. Thompson and junior Morgan McCulloch led Parker with 14 apiece.
The Vikings battled back, answering with a 10-0 run of their own between the end of the third quarter and first 90 seconds of the fourth.
But once again it was Hughes who came up with an answer. She drove past defenders for a bucket and a foul, and she hit the free throw to move the lead back to 10 points. The Vikings never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
Parker returns to play Thursday at Madison La Follette. Craig is back at home, where it is 8-0, to host Madison East on the same night.
CRAIG 58, PARKER 48
Parker (48)—Smith, 2-6-10; K. Foster, 0-1-1; Dubanowich, 3-0-8; Thompson, 5-0-14; Uhl, 0-1-1; McCulloch, 4-2-14. Totals: 14-10-48.
Craig (58)—Schumacher, 2-0-6; Foster, 0-3-3; Hughes, 8-10-27; Pierson, 1-1-3; Slatter, 3-4-10; Calkins, 1-0-2; Schoenenberger, 3-1-7. Totals: 18-19-58.
Janesville Parker 11 13 8 16—48
Janesville Craig 9 16 19 14—58
Three-point goals—Parker 10 (Dubanowich 2, Thompson 4, McCulloch 4), Craig 3 (Schumacher 2, Hughes). Free throws missed—Parker 9, Craig 8. Total fouls—Parker 21, Craig 16. Fouled out—Smith, K. Foster.
JV—Craig won 55-42.