Craig girls coming off record season
Kerry Storbakken's first two seasons as Janesville Craig's girls basketball coach have been a success.
The Cougars are 35-13 in Storbakken's two seasons, including a school-record 20-win season in 2010-11.
Storbakken and the Cougars hope to build on the success in 2012-13.
"Our expectations are to do well, and you usually get what you expect," Storbakken said. "We want to contend for a (Big Eight) title.
"We've got a good combination of kids on the team with five solid sophomores that can give us good energy, and great group of seniors and juniors that provide leadership and experience."
Craig opened the season with an impressive 54-31 win over Madison East on Tuesday night.
Storbakken has two starters returning from last year's 15-8 team. Senior point guard and leading scorer Kristi Crandall is back, along with 5-foot-10 senior center Katie Villa.
"Kristi's game really took off last year," Storbakken said of his third-year player. "She earned second-team all-conference honors last year, and I really believe she is one of the best point guards around.
"She can get to the rim, is a good free throw shooter and excellent defender."
Villa started eight games a year ago.
"Katie is a great leader on and off the court," Storbakken said. "She's an outstanding all-around athlete that has really improved as a basketball player."
Rounding out the starting five is senior guard Maddie Phillips, junior forward Alli Calkins (5-10) and junior forward Nicole Kelly (5-10).
"As a senior, I really believe this is Maddie's year to shine," Storbakken said. "She handles the ball well and is a good shooter.
"Alli's played a lot of basketball between our summer league team and her AAU team, and it really has improved her game.
"And Nicole is just one of those players you love to have on your team. She plays hard every second and does a great job of getting to the basket."
Storbakken has 12 players on the roster and expects all 12 to contribute. Sophomores Alison Hughes, Sydney Cramer, Maggie Stewart, Aleyha Slatter and Betsy Ennis should all see playing time, along with senior Stephanie Potter and junior Kayley Hackett.
"We don't lose much no matter how deep we go on the bench," Storbakken said. "That's a nice luxury to have because we press so much and run the floor.
"Depth is a big key in a team's success, and I really like the mix we have. All 12 kids can play and will play."
Storbakken believes the Big Eight race will be wide open, with Sun Prairie a slight favorite to unseat Middleton as conference champion.
The Cougars have the talent and depth to be in the mix.
(7:30 p.m. starting times unless indicated)
NOVEMBER: 30—At Madison West.
DECEMBER: 4—At Oconomowoc; 6—Verona; 8—At Beloit Memorial, 2 p.m.; 14—At Sun Prairie; 22—Madison La Follette, 2:45 p.m; 27—Madison Edgewood vs. Merrill, Oregon vs Janesville Craig, 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. (Optimist Classic); 28—Optimist Classic , TBD.
JANUARY: 3—At Madison Memorial; 11—At Janesville Parker; 17—Madison East; 19—Madison West; 25—At verona; 29—Middleton; 31—Sun Prairie.
FEBRUARY: 2—Beloit Memorial; 8—At Madison La Follette; 12—Stoughton; 14—Madison Memorial; 16—At Middleton; 21—Janesville Parker.