Grafft's big night can't save Parker
Unfortunately for Parker High, Grafft and his teammates won’t be traveling to the next round of the postseason.
Despite 30 points and 17 rebounds from Grafft, the 12th-seeded Vikings got little from everyone else and couldn’t recover from a big early deficit in a 60-47 loss at fifth-seeded Kenosha Tremper in a WIAA Division 1 regional boys basketball semifinal game.
Grafft must now make the transition from the playing season to making a decision on where to go to college. According to Parker coach Jim LeMire, Grafft is being recruited most heavily by American University in Washington, D.C.
“It’s been a joy to work with a kid with his size and to see what he can do on the floor,” LeMire said. “And hopefully, he can take that to the next level, whatever he decides to do.”
On Tuesday, however, Grafft was more disappointed that he won’t have another game with his high school teammates.
“It hurts,” he said. “I wish we were moving on, but you have to deal with what happens.”
Tremper (10-11) will be moving on to a regional final at fourth-seeded Elkhorn at 7 p.m. Saturday. Parker finished its season with a 6-15 record.
The Trojans were in command from the get-go, racing out to an 8-0 lead that swelled to 14-3 and was 20-10 by the end of the first quarter. Tremper then expanded the lead to 31-14 with an 11-4 run that spanned the majority of the second quarter.
With Grafft roaming the middle, the Vikings deployed a mixture of zone defenses. Tremper simply shot over them, going 48 percent (12-of-25) on field-goal attempts in the first half.
“When you hit shots, games are easy,” LeMire said. “When you have a team that can stretch the defense and hit shots from the outside, you have to adjust.”
Parker’s main first-half offensive highlight was when senior B.J. Scharenbroch swished a three-point heave from just outside the opposite free-throw line with less than a second left in the second quarter to make it 33-19 at halftime.
However, of Parker’s other 29 first-half field-goal attempts—all of them much closer than Scharenbroch’s bomb—only six went into the basket.
“I don’t know what it was,” Grafft said. “I don’t know if we didn’t have our legs underneath us, but we were just putting up a lot of quick shots, and we weren’t hitting.”
After facing the big deficit, Parker chipped away behind Grafft, who scored 19 points in the second half, including 13 of Parker’s 16 in the fourth quarter. The Vikings cut the deficit to 10 once and 11 four times in the third quarter but could never get closer.
“You have to give the guys in the locker room a lot of credit,” LeMire said. “They didn’t let up, and they kept battling, kept fighting. It’s a tough uphill battle when you dig yourself a hole in the first half.”
Senior Jesse Logue, who scored eight points, sank a bucket to get the Vikings within 42-31 late in the third quarter. But Tremper closed the third on a 5-0 run to take a 47-31 lead heading into the fourth.
Grafft scored all manner of field goals against the Trojans’ man-to-man defense in the fourth, from face-up jumpers to a variety of low-post moves. He notched a personal 8-0 run to get the Vikings within 53-41, but Tremper’s Ruben Williams drilled his fourth three of the game, a dagger from the left corner, that put Tremper ahead 56-41 with 3:40 left in the game.
Williams led Tremper with 17 points, Sean Barrett scored 13, and Andrew Plovanich added 10.
TREMPER 60, PARKER 47
Parker (47)—Grafft, 12-5-30; Logue, 4-0-8; Moe, 1-0-3; Scharenbroch, 2-1-6. Totals: 19-5-47.
Tremper (60)—Williams, 5-3-17; Barrett, 4-3-13; Johnson, 3-3-9; Savaglio, 3-2-8; Plovanich, 5-0-10; Maki, 0-2-2; Epping, 0-1-1. Totals 20-14-60.
Janesville Parker 10 9 12 16—47
Kenosha Tremper 20 13 14 13—60
Three-point goals—Parker 4 (Scharenbroch 2, Grafft, Moe), Tremper 6 (Williams 4, Barrett 2). Free throws missed—Parker 3, Tremper 9. Total fouls—Parker 15, Tremper 13. Fouled out—Sam.