Girls basketball off to winning start

The Craig Cougars have arrived.

The girls basketball team opened the 2022-23 season with a convincing 74-49 victory over the Stoughton Vikings in a non-conference game.

They were led by senior and Wright State commit Ellie Magestro-Kennedy’s 28 points. Junior Mya Nicholson added 20 points.

They jumped out to an 18-11 lead and were ahead 35-18 at halftime.

They cruised from there.

While the Cougars expected to win the game, Magestro-Kennedy said the team didn’t look past the Vikings.

“We respected them,” said. “Our goal is to respect every opponent. To bring the same energy every game no matter who we play.”

The point guard sees herself as a catalyst for the team’s energy. “I like to get everyone hyped up,” she says. “We have a really good group of girls.”

Magestro-Kennedy’s energy is evident in the way she plays, fast and free. But does she feel pressure, especially as a Division 1 recruit? 

“When it’s game time, I trust my preparation, my teammates, my coaches. I don’t stress. I am just trying to make it fun.” As a result, “I don’t get nervous.”

Following Magestro-Kenney and junior Mya Nicholson on the stat sheet were Brae Bertocci with 7, and Ella Clarke with 3. 

The Cougars got contributions off the bench from Liz Pierson, who scored 6, and senior Ally Trumpy and junior Bri Alvarado, who each scored 5.

Ellie was proud of Trumpy’s efforts. “She’s a great rebounder, she catches passes, she’s got good hands,” she said.

An area for the Cougars to improve is the free throw line. They made 11 of 21 attempts.

Looking at the other teams in the Big 8, Magestro-Kennedy sees Verona and Sun Prairie West as the teams to beat for conference supremacy. 

But she sees the Cougars as a team that can compete for the championship. They are a veteran team and will rely on their experience to win games. 

“We have a chance to win the conference,” she said. “That is our goal as a team.”

The Cougars play their first game at home on Thursday, Nov. 17, against Madison LaFollette.