Parker girls shine in California sun
At Point Loma High School,
Janesville Parker 53, Justin-Siena (Calif.) 48
Sonora (Calif.) 41, Mercer Island (Wash.) 39
St. Joseph (Calif.) 42, Sonoma Valley (Calif.) 39
Mercyhurst (Pa.) 56, North Eugene (Ore.) 36
11 a.m.—Justin-Siena vs. Mercer Island
12:30 p.m.—Sonoma Valley vs. North Eugene
2 p.m.—Janesville Parker vs. Sonora
3:45 p.m.—St Joseph vs. Mercyhurst
11 a.m.—Seventh-place game
12:30 p.m.—Consolation championship
2 p.m.—Third-place game
So far, the California sun is shining brightly on the Janesville Parker High School’s unbeaten girls basketball team.
The Vikings got the upper hand in the second and third quarters Thursday as they extended their season record 7-0 win a 53-48 victory over Justin-Siena of Napa, Calif., in the first round of the Surf ’N Slam Hoop Classic.
That earned Parker a spot in today’s Slam Division semifinals. The Vikings play Sonora, Calif., at noon (2 p.m. CST), and the winner qualifies for Saturday’s championship game.
Senior guard Alex Klawitter, who scored 15 points, drained five three-pointers in the first half against Justin-Siena to spark Parker to a 24-20 lead at the break.
“I thought we came out and played an awfully good first half. The only thing we didn’t do was shoot (well),” Parker coach Tom Klawitter said. “And, you know, I guess you gotta expect that.
“We didn't get to shoot at all yesterday,’’ he said of the Wednesday flight to California. “We never make excuses in our program, but … Christmas and the long (travel) day yesterday kind of made a difference in our shooting.
“But, other than that, we played pretty well,’’ he said.
Senior forward Jenny Newlin, who scored eight points, made a 10-foot jumper as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter. That gave Parker a 41-27 advantage.
Justin-Siena used a full-court press in the fourth quarter, while going on a 16-3 run to pull within 44-43 with 1:49 remaining.
“We kind of bent a little bit more than I would have liked,” coach Klawitter said. “We can handle the press better than that. We were being defensive against it, but they were a very good team.
“Defensively, we got help from Katie Prom, Kellie Koebler, Belinda Quillman, Jenny Newlin and Ashleigh Busfield,’’ he said “So, overall, it was a great team effort and nice to play nine or 10 girls.”
Alex Klawitter said her Vikings just needed a little adjusting down the stretch.
“We tried to slow it down at the end because, when they put that press on, we started going really fast—and that’s when they started to catch up,” she said. “We wanted to slow it down, make good passes and look for that three-on-two coming back on the offensive end of the press—mainly just slow things down and get in our offense.”
Clutch free throws by Koebler and junior guard Catie O’Leary, who led the Vikings with 18 points, closed out the game as Parker’s defense forced turnovers in the final minute.
Parker’s only other out-of-state tournament tournament experience came in Phoenix, in 2002, so this was something new to this year’s Vikings.
“We've never taken a trip this far away, and it’s a good opportunity to see teams we’ve never seen before,” Koebler said. “It tests us.”
Coach Klawitter said one team goal already has been accomplished.
“Well, I guess our first goal was to not have to play at 9 a.m. (PST) again tomorrow,’’ he said of today’s semifinals. “If we would have lost (we would have been playing then). So that was nice, in and of itself.
“Obviously, the teams are very good out here, and they’re only going to get better. We want to come out here and do well … especially the way we finished in Wisconsin.
“I feel like we’ve got to carry the load a little bit because we beat an awfully good team in Middleton (63-49),’’ he said of last Saturday’s major victory, “and I think it would be a shame if we came out here and didn’t play well after beating a team like that.”
PARKER 53, JUSTIN-SIENA 48
Justin-Siena (53)—Deely, 14; Hyatt, 10; Futo, 9; Pardini, 5; McAhren, 4; Whitehead, 4.
Parker (48)—Koebler, 6; Klawitter, 15; O'Leary, 18; Quillman, 3; Prom, 2; Newlin, 8; Zinn, 1.
Janesville Parker 10 14 17 12—53
Justin-Siena 11 9 7 21—48
Three-point goals—Parker 6 (Klawitter 5, O’Leary 1).