Parker eases into sectional semfinals
JANESVILLE Most coaches love to be rewarded with the top seed in their region.
Parker High girls basketball coach Tom Klawitter isn’t one of them.
When the postseason seedings were handed out, Klawitter wasn’t thrilled that his team received the top seed in its region and had to sit around and wait to play after a first-round bye. Rust, Klawitter feared, would become the Vikings’ enemy.
It took two shots from sophomore guard Savannah Shepler on Saturday to ease Klawitter’s concerns.
Leading a three-point barrage for the Vikings by canning a pair of threes right off the bat, Shepler led Parker to an early 10-0 lead against eighth-seeded Kenosha Bradford in a WIAA Division 1 regional final at Parker, and the Vikings never looked back on their way to a breezy 50-33 win.
Parker drilled eight three-pointers on the game, including seven in the first half. Shepler made four threes on her way to 15 points, while Catie O’Leary also made four threes in scoring a game-high 20.
For Shepler, it was a huge confidence-booster after her shot deserted her at the end of the regular season.
“She went into a little bit of a slump the last couple weeks, and I hope this will give her confidence to go out and hit that shot now,” Klawitter said.
Indeed, nailing those first two threes was exactly what Shepler needed.
“It felt really good just to get two threes right off the bat and get the quick lead,” she said. “It felt really good having my shot back after those bad three weeks.”
O’Leary, a Loyola University of Chicago recruit and the two-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year, was equally happy for Shepler.
“That was great,” O’Leary said. “You definitely (saw) her confidence shoot straight up when she hit those shots, and it was good for her to come out and have a strong game.”
In search of its 13th state tournament appearance and its first since 2006, the Vikings will face fourth-seeded Lake Geneva Badger in a sectional semifinal 6 p.m. Friday at Beloit College’s Flood Arena.
Parker’s precision on both ends of the floor was impressive Saturday, as the Vikings dished out 11 assists on 16 field goals, committed just nine turnovers and allowed Bradford (9-13) to attempt only five free throws.
Parker led 19-6 after the first quarter and used a 10-2 run to close out the first half for a 35-15 halftime lead.
“It feels really good, because we’ve worked so hard to get here,” sophomore guard Danielle Flood said of playing into March. “It’s our biggest goal, and now we’ve accomplished it.”
PARKER 50, BRADFORD 33
Bradford (33)—Wenberg, 7-0-14; Young, 3-3-10; Fuhrer, 1-0-2; Dix, 1-0-2; Hardy, 1-0-3; Roberts, 1-0-2. Totals: 14-3-33.
Parker (50)—Shepler, 5-1-15; O’Leary, 6-4-20; Zinn, 3-2-8; McDonald, 1-0-2; Flood, 1-3-5. Totals: 16-10-50.
Bradford 6 9 7 11 — 33
Parker 19 16 13 2—50
Three-point goals—Bradford 2 (Young, Hardy), Parker 8 (Shepler 4, O’Leary 4). Free throws missed—Bradford 2, Parker 4. Total fouls—Bradford 16, Parker 14.
n Badger 65, Elkhorn 49—The Badgers bombed the Elks with seven three-point baskets to gain the regional final victory.
n Lake Geneva Badger (14-7) will face Janesville Parker (16-5) in a Badger Sectional semifinal on Friday at Beloit College’s Flood Arena.
Gina Ambrose, a 5-foot, 7-inch junior guard, scored 17 points, including four three-point baskets for Badger. Leah Rembert added 12 points.
Kasey Reeves scored 16 points and Ashlyn Anderson added 14 points for Elkhorn. The Elks finish 12-9 for the season.
BADGER 65, ELKHORN 49
Elkhorn (49)—Entwistle, 3-0-7; Larsen, 1-4-6; Reeves, 5-6-16; Anderson, 2-10-14; Weiler, 1-0-2; May, 1-2-4. Totals: 13-22-49.
Badger (65)—Stewart, 2-0-6; Ruess, 2-0-6; Ambrose, 6-2-17; Fronberry, 2-1-5; Rempert, 2-8-12; Schulting, 2-0-4; Toledo, 3-2-8; Ketchpaw, 2-3-7. Totals: 21-16-65.
Elkhorn 11 11 14 13—49
Lake Geneva Badger 19 15 13 18—65
Three-point goals—Elkhorn 1 (Entwistle), Badger 7 (Stewart 2, Reuss 2, Ambrose 3). Free throws missed—Elkhorn 13, Badger 8. Total fouls—Elkhorn 18, Badger 25