Janesville Parker girls basketball off to fast start

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Gazette staff
Thursday, December 1, 2011
— If first impressions mean anything, Janesville Parker’s girls basketball team is headed for another stellar season.

The Vikings opened up the 2011-12 season with an impressive 80-76 victory over fourth-ranked Milwaukee King.

Parker has won at least 15 games each of the last eight seasons, including 20-win seasons or more in 2004, 2005 and 2007. Don’t look for things to change this season.

“We probably haven’t had what I would call a signature win the last couple of seasons, but I think beating King was exactly that,” longtime coach Tom Klawitter said. “It proved to these girls that we can play with the best teams.

“It’s only one game, and every opponent we face is going to present different challenges for us, but it was a great way to start the season.

Parker probably won’t be putting up 80 points a game, but Klawitter likes the diversity and options he has offensively between his starters and a strong bench.

Ashley Hartwig, an All-Big Eight second-team selection a year ago, leads the group of returnees. The 5-foot-11 junior had 24 points in Parker’s win over King.

“Ashley works hard and has a real inner drive to do well,” Klawitter said. “And with the kids we can put around her, teams aren’t going to be able to just key on her.”

Senior Julia Dement joins Hartwig in the post. The 5-9 forward is a fourth-year varsity player.

“I think Julia is going to have a good year,” Klawitter said. “The key for her is consistency, and just being able to relax and play the game the way she’s capable of.”

Senior Courtney Schumacher and junior Dani Fugate start in the backcourt. Schumacher has battled injuries, but is close to 100 percent, according to Klawitter. Fugate is the team’s top shooter.

“Courtney has worked as hard as anybody, and is very proud to contribute and be a part of this program,” Klawitter said. “Dani’s just a scorer. She finds a way to get to the basket, and every team needs that. And she has fairly good size (5-9) for a kid that plays out on the perimeter but still rebounds pretty well.”

Seniors Brianna Washington, Natalie McDonald and Kayce Chesebro provide quality depth off the bench, along with junior Jackie Shepler. Freshmen Morgan McCulloch, Paige Smith, Jessica Thompson and Kathryn Dubanowich are also expected to contribute. Chesebro had 12 points in the win against King, while McCulloch added seven.

“The one thing I’ve been trying to tell this group is that every game is going to be different,” Klawitter said. “Every girl has to understand her role because we’re gonna need each and every one of them at some point during the season based on matchups.

“I’ve got 12 solid girls that can all play, but they have to understand that it doesn’t matter how old you are or what grade you are in. It’s about becoming a team.”

Parker’s remaining schedule:

(All games 7:30 p.m. starting time unless indicated)

DECEMBER: 2—At Madison Memorial; 7—Middleton; 10—Beloit Memorial; 13—Milwaukee Vincent; 16—At Madison East; 22—Madison West; 27—At La Crosse Logan Tournament; 28—At La Cross Logan Tournament.

JANUARY: 5—At Verona; 7—At Sun Prairie; 13—At Janesville Craig; 21—Madison Memorial; 24—Madison La Follette; 27—At Middleton.

FEBRUARY: 2—At Beloit Memorial; 4—Madison East; 10—At Madison West; 16—Verona; 18—Sun Prairie; 24—Janesville Craig.

MARCH: 1—At Madison La Follette.

Last updated: 7:12 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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