Parker girls basketball opens season with Klawitter’s 500th career game
The nonconference opener marks the 500th game in Klawitter’s illustrious career as girls basketball coach at Janesville Parker.
Klawitter has accumulated an impressive 429-72 record in his 18 seasons, including three Division 1 state championships. With three starters returning, including 2007 Big Eight Conference Player of the Year Catie O’Leary, a record 13th state appearance is certainly on the radar.
“We’re working hard and that’s the most important thing right now,” Klawitter said. “I don’t worry too much about predictions.
“These girls had a good summer playing basketball and came into camp ready to go. There are a lot of things to work on and not a lot of time to get ready.”
Parker opens the season Saturday morning at 10:45 at the Alliant Center in Madison as part of the Big Eight Shootout.
O’Leary, a 5-10 junior, earned Player of the Year honors after leading the Vikings to a 21-3 season a year ago. She led Parker in scoring, including five games of 20 points or more.
“When you talk about this team, Catie’s a good place to start,” Klawitter said. “Offensively, she has elevated her game even more. By the time she’s done, I think she’ll be a Division I player.
“I think her freshman and sophomore year, Catie might’ve snuck up on some people. That won’t be the case this season. She’ll be a concern right away, so she’s going to have to do a better job of moving without the ball.”
The other returning starters are Klawitter’s daughter, Alex, along with Kelly Koebler. Klawitter, a 5-8 senior, was the second-leading scorer on the team and a three-point threat every time she touched the ball.
The feisty 5-3 Koebler proved to be a defensive stopper and a vocal leader on the court.
“Alex worked extremely hard on her game,” coach Klawitter said. “She seems to be a steadying force on the court. The girls seem to relax and just play when she has the ball in her hands.
“As far as Kelly is concerned, you never have to worry about her defense. It’s always there. I’m hoping to see more out of her offensively this year.”
The remaining two starting spots will be filled by 5-6 senior Katie Prom and 5-11 senior Belinda Quillman. Coach Klawitter said both improved their overall play over the summer and played well in Parker’s scrimmage with Monroe.
A lack of a true post player has hurt the Vikings the last couple of seasons, but Klawitter believes things will change this year.
“We’ve got a little length on the roster,” Klawitter said. “We haven’t had this kind of size in six or seven years.
“Hopefully, we can use that to our advantage and not have to rely on everything from the outside.”
Junior Jenna Miland (5-11) and senior Jenny Newlin (5-9) provide depth in the post, along with junior Adreinne McDonald and sophomore Kaynesha Zinn.
Three seniors—Carly Martelle, Kelsey Quinn, Ashleigh Busfield—will share minutes in the backcourt, as well as freshmen Danielle Flood and Savanah Shepler.
Klawitter picked fourth-ranked Middleton to win the Big Eight, with the sixth-ranked Vikings right behind. The two teams will meet in an early-season showdown on Dec. 1 at Middleton.
“Obviously, that’s a big game right away,” Klawitter said. “But there will still be a lot of basketball to be played after that.
“As long as we keep working hard and stay together as a team, we’ll be OK.”
All games start at 7:30 unless indicated
NOVEMBER: 24—Milwaukee South (Big Eight Shootout at Alliant Energy Center); 30—At Madison La Follette.
DECEMBER: 1—At Middleton; 6—Madison Memorial; 14—At Janesville Craig; 15—At Beloit Memorial; 26-31—At Surf & Slam Classic in San Diego, TBD.
JANUARY: 3—At Madison West; 5—Sun Prairie, 2:45 p.m.; 10—At Madison East; 18—Madison La Follette; 26—At Madison Memorial; 29—Janesville Craig.
FEBRUARY: 1—Beloit Memorial; 9—Madison West, 2:45 p.m.; 12—Middleton; 14—At Sun Prairie; 22—Madison East.