Janesville Craig girls basketball cruises to title
After blowing a 17-point lead against Waunakee in the first round of last year’s Optimist Classic, the Cougars finished the job this time a 60-40 championship victory over the Warriors here Tuesday night.
Behind 15 points from point guard Amanda Hamilton, the Cougars cruised to a 7-1 season record by winning the tournament for the first time since 2007.
Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said his team had no thoughts of giving up the 20-point lead the Cougars had built midway midway through the fourth quarter.
“This is a different group of kids,” Storbakken said. “We have eight seniors. I wasn’t worried about losing the lead, and they weren’t, either. This is a poised group.”
Waunakee led 10-9 lead after the first quarter, but the Cougars picked up the tempo in the second period and took the lead for good at 13-12 when Emily Hinman scored at the 4:55 mark.
Hinman then took a charge with 4:28 left in the first half to extend her streak of at least one every game—an event that always puts the Cougar fans into a frenzy. Craig went on to a 28-20 lead after three quarters on the strength of Hinman’s scoring, which included three field goals in the period, and her defensive play.
Waunakee entered the fourth quarter 10 points down, but if the Warriors had visions of another comeback, they were dashed early.
Craig started hitting from long range, and the lead went to 20.
“Good shooting is contagious,” Storbakken said. “Emily Legreid hit two, and then Hamilton hit one, and they started dropping.”
Craig sank seven three-point goals overall, including five in the fourth quarter.
“Yes, good three-point shooting is contagious, but so is poor shooting,” Storbakken said. “Tonight, we had the fortune of seeing the threes go down.”
Hamilton finished her night with a 10-point fourth quarter, while Kelly Preston led Waunakee with 15.
Storbakken said Hamilton, his 5-4 senior point guard, plays much taller than her size.
“You noticed that Amanda came away with rebounds against much taller players,” he said. “It’s fundamental basketball to get inside position, and that’s what she’s so good at— fundamental play. It’s doesn’t hurt that she’s a very tough, scrappy player who doesn’t back down.”
The recent Craig win over Janesville Parker was a Christmas present for his team, Storbakken said.
“And I just said, ‘Happy New Year’ after tonight’s win,” he said. “We can enjoy this as we go into a break, but it’s back to Big Eight play in a week.”
Craig plays at once-beaten Madison East on Thursday, Jan. 6.
“East is not a big team like Waunakee, but their girls are very quick,” Storbakken said. “They have a girl who will be a scholarship player for the Badgers, so she will be a handful, and they have a group of 10 seniors who play well together. It’s always tough up there.”
CRAIG 60, WAUNAKEE 40
Waunakee (40)—Johnson, 1-1-4; Hagen, 1-4-6; Vanden Brook, 3-4-10; Preston, 5-5-15; Statz, 2-0-5. Totals: 12-14-40.
Craig (60)—Hamilton, 3-6-15; Storbakken, 1-0-3; Legreid, 5-0-12; Marshick, 1-0-2; Hinman, 5-0-10; Sroda, 2-0-4; O’Donnell, 2-2-7; Crandall, 3-0-6; Kennedy, 0-1-1. Totals: 22-9-60.
Waunakee 10 10 12 8—40
Janesville Craig 9 19 14 18—60
Three-point goals—Waunakee 2 (Johnson, Statz), Craig 7 (Hamilton 3, Legreid 2, Storbakken, O’Donnell). Free throws missed—Waunakee 11, Craig 2. Total fouls—Waunakee 16, Craig 18.
Junior varsity—Semifinals: Craig 59, Oregon 34. Championship: Craig 64, Waunakee 59.
ST. CATHERINE’S 75, OREGON 58
Oregon (58)—Jahn, 5-0-13; Ricker, 6-1-14; Peach, 6-2-17; Sessler, 3-1-8; Grits, 2-2-6; totals: 22-6-58.
St. Catherine’s (75)—Molback, 1-0-2; Miles, 2-0-4; Libby Zimmerman, 3-0-9; Le Count, 1-2-4; Rammelt, 1-0-2; Olliey, 3-2-8; Braun, 9-6-24; Tepley, 10-2-22; totals: 30-12-75.
Oregon 9 10 25 14—58
Racine St. Catherine’s 21 21 19 14—75
Three-point goals—Oregon 8 (Jahn 3, Rickert, Peach 3. Sessler), St. Catherine’s 3 (Libby Zimmerman). Free throws missed—Oregon 5, St. Catherine’s 5. Total fouls—Oregon 15, St. Catherine’s 11.