Grafft leads Parker to second straight Big Eight win
The 6-foot, 10-inch center posted his third straight 28-point performance Friday night and lifted Parker High to its second straight Big Eight Conference boys basketball victory
The dominating senior scored 22 points in the second half, as the Vikings used a 17-6 run to open the second half and held on for the 55-48 win over Madison East.
Parker’s back-to-back wins over Sun Prairie last Saturday and the Purgolders are the first two conference wins of the season for the Vikings (4-8, 2-6). It also marks the first time Parker has won consecutive games since beating Janesville Craig and Sun Prairie on Feb. 7 and 9, 2002.
“What a huge win,” Parker coach Jim LeMire said. “What a huge confidence-builder for us. Anytime you get in the Big Eight against a very good team and get a win, that speaks volumes for these guys, because I don’t think they get a lot of respect.”
Parker overcame 10 fourth-quarter turnovers by making 14 of its 24 second-half shots. That was led by Grafft, who made nine of his 10 attempts, including four dunks.
“I’m just being more aggressive, and my teammates are getting me the ball down low,” Grafft said.
Besides scoring more than half of the Vikings’ points, Grafft also helped out to beat the Purgolders full-court press as East (5-6, 3-5) scrambled to try and rally back.
Grafft opened the third quarter with a three-pointer and capped the 17-6 run with a dunk and driving lay-up past East standout Marquis Mason. That gave Parker a 37-28 lead.
Mason answered with a three-pointer and tried to lead an East comeback with 11 of his 16 points in the second half. But the Purgolders struggled all night, making just 32 percent of their shots, including 10 of 33 in the second half and five of 19 in the fourth quarter.
“In the last two games, we kept responding, and that is key for these guys,” LeMire said. “This is a good group of kids, and they are going to keep pushing forward.”
East missed its first eight shots of the fourth quarter, but Al Mayne ended the drought with a three-point play to pull the Purgolders within 43-37 with 4:54 left.
Grafft countered with another dunk, but East cut the lead to 52-48 on Augustine Ayelleyra’s jumper with 1:15 left. After three straight turnovers, Grafft added another dunk with 38 seconds left, and B.J. Scharenbroch made a free throw to cap the win.
“As the team has evolved, we had the mental lapses and the unforced turnovers. But as the game went on tonight, our kids got stronger with the basketball,” LeMire said. “The sign of a good team is not to fold.”
PARKER 55, EAST 48
Parker (55)—Logue, 2-0-4; Moe, 2-0-5; Sam, 1-0-3; Fox, 2-0-4; Grafft, 11-5-28; Scharenbroch, 1-1-4; Holbrook, 2-3-7. Totals: 21-9-55.
East (48)—Smith, 0-1-1; Mayne, 2-1-7; Ayelleyra, 3-0-6; Mason, 7-3-16; Bacallao, 2-1-6; Bartelt, 1-0-2; Murray, 2-0-6; Park, 1-0-2; Hull, 0-2-2. Totals: 18-8-48.
Janesville Parker 11 9 19 16—55
Madison East 13 9 12 14—48
Three-point goals—Parker 4 (Moe, Sam, Grafft, Scharenbroch), East 4 (Murray 2, Bacallao, Mason). Free throws missed—Parker 4, East 7. Total fouls—Parker 13, East 17. Fouled out—Mayne.
Sophomores—East 67, Parker 59. Parker leading scorers: Cody Simonson, 17; Matt Fiedler, 11; Tyler Teubert, 11.