Middleton too much for Parker
The senior capitalized on consecutive Viking turnovers with back-to-back layups to end a 10-0 Parker fourth-quarter run and hold off the Vikings, 59-51, to remain a half-game behind Madison West in the Big Eight Conference.
Turnovers again hurt the Vikings. Parker committed 19 against Middleton’s relentless full-court press, including 11 in the second half as they tried to rally from a 30-23 halftime deficit.
Middleton (11-4 overall, 10-1 Big Eight) couldn’t close out the Vikings, as it missed five of its 11 fourth-quarter free throws to finish 9 of 25 for the game.
“It was mistake after mistake and missed free throw after missed free throw in the fourth quarter,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “It was just kind of a war of attrition out there.”
Liz McMahon helped stop the Parker rally with 14 of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter. Kristen Gunderson added 11 for the Cardinals.
Julia Dement led Parker (9-6, 6-5) with 13 points before fouling out. Ashley Hartwig added 11, with five in the fourth quarter.
“Every basket counted,” Hartwig said. “We didn’t finish a couple short ones at the end.”
The loss was the Vikings’ fourth in six games.
Jackie Shepler and Morgan McCulloch capped the 10-0 fourth-quarter Parker run with consecutive three-pointers from the corner to pull Parker within 51-46 with a 1:52 remaining.
But just as quickly, Passini stole an in-bounds pass and raced coast-to-coast for a layup and then added another layup just 10 seconds later off another Parker turnover for a 55-46 Middleton lead with 1:10 left.
Hartwig countered with a three-point play, but the damage was already done as Middleton held a 55-49 lead with 1:01 left
“I was really happy with the way we battled,” Parker coach Tom Klawitter said. “There are just so many times you can keep climbing uphill before there is no more hill to climb.”
Hartwig added a basket underneath to cut the Middleton lead to 56-51 with :33 left, but Middleton scored the final three points of the contest to close out the eight-point victory.
“I thought we had the reeling a little bit, just because they missed some free throws,” Klawitter added. “We were right there. But the turnovers come with a little of the inexperience of our players. But, they certainly did more good things tonight than bad things.”
Middleton, which utilized its whole bench and hurt Parker early with fast-break layups, took control behind six first-half three-pointers, including three in the final 5:07.
Parker’s Morgan McCulloch made a runner in the lane to tie the contest at 18-18, but Gunderson answered with a three-pointer to start a 12-5 Middleton run to close out the half.
“Everyone comes in fresh and at the beginning we had a hard time with them because they would just run and run,” Hartwig said. “We had a hard time getting back on defense.
“But, this was a big step forward for us. We just need to keep playing with that intensity.”
MIDDLETON 59, PARKER 51
Parker (51)—Fugate, 1-3-5; Dement,5-2-13; Hartwig, 5-1-11; Shepler, 2-0-6; Washington, 1-1-3; Smith, 1-3-5; McDonald, 0-1-1; McCulloch 3-0-7. Totals: 18-11-51
Middleton (59)—Passsini, 3-1-8; McMahon, 9-2-20; Gunderson, 3-3-11; Staples, 2-1-5; McCauley, 2-0-5; Dean 2-2-8; Bunyan, 1-0-2; Totals 22-9-59.
Janesville Parker 9 14 12 16—51
Middleton 14 16 13 16—59
Three-point goals—Parker 4 (Shepler 2, Dement, McCulloch). Free throws missed—Parker 9, Middleton 16. Total fouls—Parker 22, Middleton 21. Fouled out—Fugate, Dement.
Sophomores—Parker 57, Middleton 54. Parker leading scorer—Kathryn Dubanowich 16.