Parker girls fight off Beloit
Special to the Gazette
Maybe it’s the musty smell of an old gym or the distracting Purple Knight fight song that’s played at almost every timeout that makes it tough for opponents to play in Barkin Arena at Beloit Memorial High School.
Whatever it is, Janesville Parker’s girls basketball team struggled to finish off the Purple Knights in the historic facility here Saturday.
Fortunately for the Vikings, their talent eventually overcame the tough environment en route to a physical, 64-44 victory over Beloit (3-9, 2-7).
Danielle Flood led the way with a game-high 19 points, while Savannah Shepler added 11 to help Parker (9-2, 7-1) keep pace with first-place Middleton (11-2, 8-1) in the Big Eight race.
With the conference up for grabs, Parker coach Tom Klawitter was content to get out of Beloit with a win.
“It’s never easy to win here,” Klawitter said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s the toughest place in the place in the conference to play. And they (the Knights) play very comfortable here. They play very hard and never give up, and I have to give them a lot of credit.”
Parker seemed to have things figured out early in the game when the Vikings closed out the first quarter with a 10-2 run. Flood led the charge with seven points, including five during the surge to put Parker up 18-10 after one quarter.
The Vikings built the lead to 24-10 midway through the second quarter and seemed poised to put the game out of reach by halftime.
But the Purple Knights cranked up the defensive pressure from there and held the Vikings to just three points the rest of the half, leaving Parker with a 27-16 halftime lead.
“They (the Knights) do a great job of creating pressure, and you’re not going to be able to run anything when you have that kind of pressure,” Klawitter said. “Now it’s simply coming down to the fundamentals of playing basketball, where you’ve got to pass, catch, and cut.”
Parker continued to struggle with fundamentals in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Beloit’s Megan Slavish scored eight of her team-high 15 points to keep the Knights in contention at 41-29.
Beloit, however, never cut the deficit any further than nine points in the fourth and eventually lost some its resolve late in the game.
The Vikings took advantage of their tired opponents, sinking 12 fourth-quarter free throws, including six from Shepler.
“I thought, for the most part, we did what we had to do,” Klawitter said. “Defensively, we’re just a work in progress, and hopefully we’ll get better each game.”
PARKER 64, BELOIT 44
Parker (64)—Flood, 5-7-19; Pernot, 1-0-2; S. Shepler, 1-8-11; Franklin, 3-0-6; Zinn, 2-1-6; Hartwig, 3-0-6; Green-Kenerson, 2-0-4; Dement, 0-1-1; Johnson, 0-2-2; Prokopec, 2-0-5; Larson, 1-0-2. Totals: 20-19-64.
Beloit (44)—Slavish, 6-3-15; Hai. Lawver, 1-0-3; Han. Lawver, 2-6-11; Heldt, 2-2-6; Mauel, 1-0-2; Marzette, 1-4-6; Hankins, 0-1-1. Totals: 13-16-44.
Janesville Parker 18 9 14 23—64
Beloit Memorial 10 6 13 15—44
Three-point goals—Parker 5 (Flood 2, S. Shepler, Zinn, Prokopec), Beloit 3 (Hai. Lawver, Han. Lawver). Free throws missed—Parker 16, Beloit 8. Total fouls—Parker 21, Beloit 23.
Sophomores—Parker 50, Beloit 39.