Middleton's final-quarter surge floors Craig boys
JANESVILLE Craig High's play ranged from the good, bad to the ugly Tuesday in a hotly contested 81-76 loss to visiting Middletin in a Big Eight Conference boys basketball makeup game.
Craig is 6-6 overall and 3-6 in the Big Eight. Middleton is 6-6 and 5-4.
The Cougars fought back from an 18-point deficit at 31-13 in the second quarter to take a 55-54 lead into the fourth quarter.
Middleton then fired off a 12-2 run to start the final period and take the victory.
Coach Mike Miller said the Cougars played well, but only in spurts and that has to be addressed.
"We had inconsistencies," Miller said. "We played very well at times, but not at others and that is something we have to work on.''
Jerry Ngobi scored a game-high 30 points for Craig. Nolan Maresch added 13, Paul Foster 12 and Troy Malmanger chipped in 10.
Derek Rongstad scored 21 points for Middleton. Max Oelerich added 18, and Luke Schaefer scored 11.
Middleton walked out to a 22-10 first-quarter lead as Craig committed six turnovers. Oelerich scored eight of his 18 points to lead the Cardinals' charge.
"We gave them a lot of second chances," Miller said of the Cards' ruling the offensive rebounds. "They took advantage of that.''
Middleton continued to roll in the second quarter, building a 31-13 lead on Rongstad's three-point basket.
The Cougars fought back with Foster, a 6-3 senior, leading the charge. Foster scored nine of his 12 points in the quarter. Craig cut the deficit to 35-31 on a pair of Ngobi free throws, but Tyler Markel's three-point play gave Middleton a 38-31 halftime lead.
"No matter what we are down by, we are not going to stop playing," Foster said. "But (Middleton) isn't going to stop playing either.''
Craig went on a 10-0 run for a 49-47 lead on Maresch's three-point basket with three minutes remaining in the third quarter. Craig's Mike Murphy nailed a three to give Craig a 55-54 lead going into the final quarter.
Seemingly having the momentum, the Cougars fell flat to open the fourth quarter.
"We started playing too fast," Miller said. "We went back to making turnovers.''
Middleton raced out to a 66-57 lead as Craig committed four early turnovers and six overall for the quarter. Middleton stretched the lead to 72-62 before Craig cut it to 72-68 on a two Ngobi free throws with 91 seconds remaining. Middleton made six straight free throws for a 78-71 lead with 70 seconds remaining.
The Cards made 13 free throws in the fourth quarter, including seven of eight from Schaefer, to ensure the victory.
MIDDLETON 81, CRAIG 76
Middleton (81)—Hill, 1-2-4; Passini, 0-2-2; Schafer, 2-7-11; Markel, 2-1-5; Oelerich, 8-2-18; Rogeberg, 3-0-6; Rongstad, 6-6-21; Little, 0-1-1; Schultz, 2-0-6; Hokanson, 2-1-5; Toresani, 1-2-4. Totals: 26-23-81
Craig (76)—Ngobi, 10-8-30; Foster, 4-4-12; Malmanger, 4-0-10; Maresch, 6-0-13; Schumacher, 3-0-9; Murphy, 1-0-3. Totals: 28-13-76
Middleton 22 16 16 27—81
Craig 10 21 24 21—76
Three-point goals—Middleton 5 (Rongstad 3, Schultz 2), Craig 7 (Ngobi, Malmanger 2, Maresch, Schumacher 3, Murphy). Free throws missed—Middleton 10, Craig 5.