Schumacher's long buzzer-beater lifts Craig over Parker
JANESVILLE--Annie Schumacher etched her name in Janesville basketball history with one shot on Saturday night.
The sophomore guard buried a 24-foot heave as time expired to lift her Janesville Craig girls basketball team over crosstown rival Parker, 38-35, in a WIAA Division 1 regional final.
Schumacher’s shot will undoubtedly help city fans erase their memories of what was an otherwise choppy, grind-it-out victory. It also put the Cougars in a sectional semifinal game against Mukwonago at Beloit Memorial High on Thursday night.
“I’m mind-blown that that happened,” Schumacher said moments after her teammates hoisted her and the regional-title trophy into the air. “I was just in the right spot, thankfully. I just had to throw it up, but it felt pretty good, I’m not going to lie.”
The Vikings called timeout with 9 seconds remaining when Kathryn Dubanowich’s short jumper tied the game, 35-35.
Craig inbounded to junior point guard Al Hughes, who dribbled up the left sideline into traffic. The ball was stripped as she crossed midcourt but bounced right to Schumacher’s feet.
Schumacher collected the ball and let it fly. Nothing but net.
“I was trying to go four-low for Al, and she got it stripped,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “But Annie was right there and knew how much time was left and just picked it up.
“We talked about the X factor, and tonight it was Schumacher.”
Her 3-pointers in the fourth quarter—she hit three of them—were the difference in a game where offense came at a premium.
The teams made just 10 of 54 shot attempts in the first half, including an 0-for-15 mark from beyond the arc. The Cougars and Vikings also combined to miss 18 of 38 free-throw attempts in the game.
Thus, when Parker junior Paige Smith used a three-point play to open the fourth quarter, the Vikings’ 25-21 lead felt more like double digits.
But Schumacher cashed in from beyond the arc to answer at the other end. With about five minutes remaining and Parker up by three, Schumacher again had the answer with a 3 to tie it.
“Honestly, we were all really doubtful and nobody really had their heads up in the first half,” Schumacher said. “But coach Storby tells me every day to forget every shot, whether it’s an airball or anything else.”
Schumacher finished with a game-high 11 points and Hughes added nine.
Junior guard Morgan McCulloch paced Parker with 10, while Smith had eight.
“When they throw up something like that, it’s not meant to be,” Parker coach Tom Klawitter said. “We needed to execute at the end, and we didn’t. But our effort was there. Hopefully that’s something that will hang around for a while and get (our players) ready for next year.”
The Vikings finished with a 12-12 overall record.
Craig, the top seed in the region, faces second-seeded Mukwonago at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Beloit. The winner will play the winner of Madison West and Sun Prairie for a trip to the state tournament.