Late Verona 3-pointer buries Parker girls
JANESVILLE—Tom Klawitter devised the perfect gameplan Saturday on how to upset seventh-ranked Verona.
The Janesville Parker girls basketball coach had his team treat each possession as if the game depended on it against the much taller Wildcats’ vaunted zone defense.
Unfortunately for Klawitter and his Vikings, Jenni LaCroix spoiled the upset bid.
LaCroix hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with seven seconds left to lift Verona to a 29-27 Big Eight Conference win. Parker caught a break when Verona’s Lexy Richardson missed two free throws with 11 seconds left to play, but the Vikings couldn’t grab the rebound on Richardson’s second miss and the ball eventually made it into LaCroix’s hands.
Parker (10-9, 9-6) had one last chance to win the game, but Jessica Thompson’s long 3-pointer from the top of the key came up short.
“Unfortunately, we should’ve won the game,” Klawitter said. “I thought we outplayed them.
“We executed for the most part right up until the end, but just couldn’t get our hands on the ball. I’m surprised she (LaCroix) hit that shot, but she did, and then we weren’t able to get the look I was hoping for at the end.”
Verona (17-2, 13-2), which came in allowing only 35 points per game, has two starters that are 6-foot-1 and a third that comes off the bench who is 6-1. Parker’s tallest player is 5-10. The Wildcats play a 1-2-2 zone defensively, with 6-1 Alex Luehring up top, and that forced Parker to preach patience on offense. The Vikings got the opening tip and took nearly three minutes off the clock on their first possession before turning the ball over.
Parker led 7-6 after one quarter and eventually took a 13-10 halftime lead.
The Vikings briefly led by seven in the third quarter, but the Wildcats quickly responded thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Luehring, a freshman.
Paige Smith, who finished with a game-high 17 points, gave Parker its last lead at 27-26 with 1:15 remaining on a beautiful backdoor pass from Kathryn Dubanowich. Verona took the clock down to 11 seconds before Richardson was fouled on a shot attempt. She missed both, but LaCroix bailed out her teammate.
“We just needed a rebound at the end, but couldn’t get the ball to bounce our way,” Klawitter said.
“The girls did everything I asked of them, and even though I thought we deserved to win, it didn’t work out that way.”
VERONA 29, PARKER 27
Verona (29)—LaCroix, 2-1-7; Richardson, 3-0-6; Luehring, 2-0-6; Mueller, 1-0-2; Campbell, 1-2-4; Opsal, 2-0-4. Totals: 11-3-29.
Parker (27)—Smith, 7-3-17; Thompson, 2-0-5; McCulloch, 1-1-4; Uhl, 0-1-1. Totals: 10-5-27.
Verona 6 4 10 9—29
Janesville Parker 7 6 6 8—27
Three-point goals—Verona 4 (Luehring 2, LaCroix 2), Parker 2 (Thompson, McCulloch). Free throws missed—Verona 3, Parker 3. Total fouls—Verona 11, Parker 12.