Girls basketball defeats Badger, looks ahead to Verona

Kate Huml looks to drive past her opponent.

David Holmquist, Criterion Adviser

On Tuesday, Jan. 25, Craig’s girls basketball team defeated Badger 67-41 in a non-conference game.

The Cougars started strong and had a lead of 27-6 at halftime. 

Badger got no closer than 20 points the rest of the game.

“We controlled the game and took care of business,” said Coach Kerry Storbakken.

Junior Ellie Magestro Kennedy led all scorers with 17 points. Senior Kate Huml added 16, and sophomore Mya Nicholson poured in 10. 

Junior Liz Pierson came off the bench to score 9. 

“We came out and set the tone right away,” said Storbakken. 

The win put the Cougars at 12 wins against only 4 losses.

They are currently in first place in the Big 8 Conference with a game against Verona on Friday, Jan. 28.

Verona is currently ranked #9 in the poll after their win over Sun Prairie last week.

The Cardinals were ranked #7 until they were defeated by Verona. 

The Cougars beat these two teams on the road earlier in the season. They beat Verona 73-68 on Dec. 3 and Sun Prairie 51-41 on Dec. 9.

Friday’s matchup against Verona will be the Wisconsin Sports Network “Game of the Week.”

“That’s what you play for,” said Storbakken. “Friday night, those games.”

Craig’s girls are led by senior Kate Huml, junior Ellie Magestro Kennedy, and sophomore Mya Nicholson.

Every one of them can play point guard, shoot the three, distribute the ball, and drive to the basket.

The bench players have also played a big role in the team’s recent wins.

“They are all contributing,” said Storbakken.  

Their contributions are a good sign for the team,” said Storbakken. 

“Those kids are the ones we need down the stretch when we play the better teams.”

They got that against Madison West on January 23, too (a game the Cougars won 60-25).

Storbakken said that the team’s focus is on sharing the ball, having good possessions, and taking their time. 

“We work on it every night. Move the ball. Share the ball. Trust your teammates.”

Looking ahead to the Verona game on Friday night, Storbakken knows the team will play well.

“They’ll be ready,” he said. 

Plus, the Cougars and Verona are familiar with each other.

“They know the girls well. A lot of them play against each other during the summer.”

For Coach, the keys are to ‘have fun, don’t play scared.” 

Verona is “awfully good,” he said. “But we’re good too.”

The team had a challenging start to the season. 

Playing without Kennedy and Huml, who were ill, they had three straight losses, two of them by a single point. 

Since that tough start, they are 12-1. Their only loss during that stretch was to Kenosha Bradford by a score of 68-67. 

Huml, Kennedy, and Nicholson will have the opportunity to play in college. 

Huml is committed to division 3 UW-Oshkosh. Kennedy is committed to division 1 IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis). 

Nicholson is considered a top sophomore in Wisconsin who should receive offers to play at the next level. She is also a top-flight golfer who broke the school scoring record and won the conference title.

With strong play from their top three scorers and contributions from their bench players, the Cougars hope they have found the formula for success.

“They support each other,” said Storbakken.