Cougars roll over Vikings in crosstown clash
JANESVILLE--Mired in a five-game losing streak, Mike Miller wondered when his Janesville Craig boys basketball team would snap out of its funk.
He got his answer Tuesday night.
The Cougars dismantled crosstown rival Janesville Parker in playing their most complete game of the season. Jerry Ngobi and SanTrell Payton scored 13 points each to lead Craig to an 81-37 Big Eight Conference win. The game was so lopsided that the final 2:31 was played with a running clock due to Craig’s 40-point lead.
Parker looked like it was playing a pick-up game at Bond Park. The Vikings were content on hoisting up one bad shot after another and played little defense. Craig (6-7, 4-6) scored 46 points in the first half and didn’t let up in the second in sweeping the regular-season series between the two schools.
“Like I said to the team afterward, they can celebrate this, but I’m still looking back at some games we let go that we should’ve had,” Miller said. “They know they’re capable of playing this way, so hopefully we can string some wins together now.
“And I was really happy with the way we shared the ball. We were very unselfish and a lot of times made the extra pass that led to layups instead of settling for jump shots.”
Craig wasted little time setting the tone. With the game tied at 5-5, the Cougars went on a 10-0 run to make it 15-5 with 2:40 left in the first quarter. Parker (3-8, 1-7) got no closer than seven after that and eventually trailed 25-12 at the end of one.
Parker coach Ryan Masterson was forced to use two early timeouts to try and stop the Craig onslaught. The Vikings were outhustled, outplayed and outclassed in every facet of the game.
“I’m not sure I recognized that team that was out there tonight,” Masterson said of his team. “We haven’t practiced or played like that in a game all season.
“We’ve never lost this season for a lack of effort, but there were times tonight where we just didn’t hustle or get after it. Give Craig credit, though. They played very well tonight, and we played our worst game of the season.”
Leading by 26 at half, Craig opened the second half on a 7-2 run. Payton, a freshman, hit his third 3-pointer of the game with 3:16 left in the third to make it 56-27.
Both benches were emptied early in the fourth. McCauley Cox came off the Cougars’ bench to score nine points.
Adam Thompson led the Vikings with 13 points, while Cullen Osmond added 12.
“It’s a great win, but we’ve got to get ready for Madison East on Friday,” Miller said. “Like I said before, we need to start stringing together some wins.”