Parker girls head to California
Surf, sun and sand.
But the Janesville Parker High School’s girls basketball team has three better reasons for making the trip to California. Three games in three days in the Surf ’N Slam Hoop Classic.
Oh sure, the second-ranked Vikings plan to take in the sights and sounds of San Diego, but playing basketball is No. 1 on the itinerary of things to do.
“We’re definitely not going out there on a vacation,” Parker coach Tom Klawitter said. “This is an opportunity to see how we match up against different kids and different programs.
“It will be a good measuring stick for us. We play three games in three days against three teams that we won’t know anything about, but I imagine will be pretty good.”
Parker left today and begins play in the Slam Division of the three-bracket tournament against Justin-Siena High School of Napa, Calif. at 11 a.m. (CST) Thursday.
Justin-Siena is a private college prep school located in the heart of wine country. The Braves, led by forward Vicky Deely, are 6-0 this season. The 6-foot-1 Deely is averaging 23.4 points per game and already has signed with UC-Davis to play basketball.
“They’ve got some big kids on the roster, and that’s good for us to see that,” Klawitter said of the Braves. “Usually, when you play a private school at a tournament like this, they’re pretty good.
“But we’re excited about the whole tournament. Variety is a great thing, and that’s something we’re going to see a lot of.”
Parker will be riding high after Saturday’s convincing 63-49 victory over Middleton in a battle for first place in the Big Eight Conference. The Vikings (6-0, 5-0) took control early against then-second-ranked and previously unbeaten Middleton and cruised to the win.
Senior Alex Klawitter scored 18 points, and Catie O’Leary added 15, as the Vikings again became the hunted in the Big Eight.
“It definitely gives us confidence,” Tom Klawitter said of the Middleton win. “I was more worried about how hard we played and being able to take something positive out of the game to build on.
“Not only did we get a win in a place where it’s pretty tough to do that (at Middleton), but I think we found out a little bit about ourselves, as well. That’s an important step.”
The Vikings began planning for the San Diego trip two years ago and held various fund raisers to offset the cost. Airfare, transportation in San Diego and food was not included in the tournament package, but the Vikings reached their fundraising goal, thanks to the efforts of many.
“I can’t begin to thank everybody that has made this trip possible,” Klawitter said. “The parents, the players, the community—there are so many responsible for making this happen.
“We made a commitment to this tournament early on, and that really got the team going. The girls have done everything that has been asked of them, and now they get the chance to play in a national tournament.”
A large contingent of Janesville people will make the trip, including 31 involved in the girls program. Coach Klawitter expects between 30 and 40 parents and fans to also make the trip, which means the Vikings will have plenty of support in the stands.