Parker boys win again
But more importantly, the 6-5 forward came alive after a dormant first half as the Vikings edged visiting Madison La Follette, 62-59, to go 4-1 in the Big Eight Conference and 5-1 for the season.
With his senior standout get only one point in the first quarter, to go along with some turnovers, Parker coach Ryan Masterson put Knutson on the bench.
“I just needed to slow him down a little,” Masterson said. “He responded to that.”
Knutson picked the Vikings up near the end of the first half with six straight points to pull Parker to within 33-31 by halftime.
Fortunately for Knutson, there also was another half left to redeem himself, and he took advantage of it.
Knutson scored Parker’s first 12 points of the second half. By the time La Follette called a timeout, Knutson had a 12-4 advantage over the Lancers in the third quarter. He got 14 points in the quarter as Vikings outscored the Lancers 18-10.
In fact, Knutson hit a three-point goal to give Parker a 36-33 lead, which the Vikings never relinquished.
Knutson also sparked his teammates. With 50 seconds left in the third quarter, Parker’s Charlie Grafft put up a shot was headed out of bounds under the basket. Knutson dove for the ball, tipped it back in play, where Grafft pulled it out of the air and put it in for an easy two points.
The play ended the third quarter, with Parker holding a 49-43 lead.
“They did a good job of pressuring Creed, and we didn’t do a good job of getting him the ball,” Masterson said of the early action. “Also, he wasn’t aggressive enough, so I sat him down and talked to him a bit.”
Masterson said he had no doubt Knutson would adjust and be a factor in the game.
“I have all the admiration in the world for him.” Masterson said. “He’s a true leader for us, and he carried us in the second half.”
But the coach credits team chemistry for Parker’s early success.
“As you could see tonight, when Creed was off, his teammates picked it up for him,” Masterson said. “Those teammates kept us in the game so that Creed could come back.
“That’s the key to this team,” Masterson said. “They like each other, they like playing together as a team, and they hang together outside the gym as well.”
But the Lancers (1-5, 1-4) did not hand this game to Parker. La Follette junior guards Tedrin West and Matt Hunter kept pouring in baskets in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings were able to hang on for the win. Hunter scored 18, while West added 12.
Parker’s next Big Eight test is Tuesday when the Vikings host Sun Prairie in a makeup game.
PARKER 62, LA FOLLETTE 59
La Follette (59)—West, 3-7-12; Hunter, 7-2-18; Carlson, 1-3-5; Ampe, 3-0-6; Morgan, 2-3-7; Lamb, 2-0-4; Walker, 2-1-5; Drury, 1-0-2. Totals: 20-16-59.
Parker (62)—Somerville, 0-6-6; Knutson, 10-6-27; Lloyd, 0-6-6; Schroeder, 1-4-6; Albeck, 3-2-9; Grafft, 1-1-5; D. Thompson, 0-3-3. Totals: 16-27-62.
Madison La Follette 20 13 10 16—59
Janesville Parker 14 17 18 13—62
Three-point goals—La Follette 3 (West, Hunter 2), Parker 3 (Knutson, Albeck, Grafft). Free throws missed—La Follette 8, Parker 7. Total fouls—La Follette 26, Parker 21. Fouled out—Chamberlain (L), Schroeder (P).
Sophomores—La Follette 47, Parker 45. Parkers leading scorers: David Palan, 17; Michael Dubanowich, 11.