Craig girls rally to down Sun Prairie
JANESVILLE A little heart-to-heart chat brought back the fire to the Craig High girls basketball team.
The Cougars' 62-50 defeat to Middleton last Tuesday left a mark.
"It was a wake-up call," Craig senior Kristi Crandall said of the loss to Middleton. "We realized we had to play harder, not just in practice, but in the game."
The Cougars muscled up and took down Sun Prairie, 76-72, in a double-overtime thriller filled with heroes.
"We had a heart-to-heart after (the loss to Middleton)," Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. "I told the girls to quit looking around the room. You be the one to step up."
Crandall finished with a team-high 20 points, including four three-point baskets. Katie Villa added 14 points, Maddie Phillips and Alli Calkins scored 11 points apiece, and Alison Hughes chipped in 10.
Crandall broke out from a dismal stretch where she was battling illness.
"I can run without coughing," Crandall said. "I feel more energized and I feel like I'm back."
After the disappointing performance against Middleton, the hard-fought victory has Craig bubbling over with much-needed confidence.
"I think our team is just ready to explode," Storbakken said. "I still think we are a good basketball team and told them we have to beat a team that is ahead of us (in the standings) and tonight, we did."
Craig is 8-7 overall and 6-6 in the Big Eight. Sun Prairie is 9-7 and 7-5.
The game ended in regulation with the scored tied at 57. The Cardinals' Bailey Huser hit a jumper from the free-throw circle at the buzzer to send the game into the first overtime.
Villa scored six points in the first OT to spark Craig. The Cougars held a 65-61 lead on a pair of Hughes free throws with 55 seconds remaining.
Sun Prairie's 6-foot-1 senior McKayla Yentz, a Marquette University recruit and the Big Eight's leading scorer at 19.6 per game, hit a bucket with 9.2 remaining and sank a pair of free throws with no time on the clock to send the game into the second OT.
Yentz, who finished with a game-high 34 points, scored all eight of Sun Prairie's points in the first OT.
Craig pulled out to a 72-67 lead with 1:08 left in the second OT on a driving lay-up from Crandall and Philipps' two free throws and three-point basket. Yentz pulled the Cards back to within, 72-70, with a free throw and basket after making a steal.
The Cougars stood tall as Aleyha Slatter drove for a basket to give Craig a 74-70 lead, but the Cougars fouled Nicole Hoffmann on a three-point attempt and Hoffman made two of three free throws to pull the Cards back to 74-72 with 30 seconds remaining.
Hughes sank one of two free throws down give Craig a 75-72 lead with 12.5 seconds to play. Yentz missed a three-point attempt, and Villa capped the victory making a free throw with one second left.
"This is just nice," Storbakken said.
CRAIG 76, SUN PRAIRIE 72 (2OT)
Sun Prairie (72)—Conom, 1-2-5; Peterson, 3-0-6; Hommerding, 1-0-3; Hoffman, 4-5-12; Yentz, 11-9-34; Huser, 2-6-10. Totals: 23-22-72
Craig (76)—Philipps, 3-3-12; Hughes, 2-6-12; Slatter, 4-2-9; Calkins, 4-3-11; Villa, 4-6-14; Crandall, 6-4-20. Totals: 22-26-76
Sun Prairie 14 16 10 17 8 7—72
Janesville Craig 16 10 13 18 8 11—76
Three-point goals—Sun Prairie 4 (Conom, Hommerding, Yentz, Hoffmann), Craig 6 (Philipps 2, Crandall 4). Free throws missed—Sun Prairie 9, Craig 11. Total fouls—Sun Prairie 20, Craig 17. Fouled out—Hommerding, Huser, Calkins.