Shepler's two three-pointers lifts Parker girls
JANESVILLE Teams can live and die by the three-point shot.
A hot-shooting night from beyond the arc can propel a team to victory. Struggle from long distance and the game can slip away.
Jackie Shepler breathed life back into Janesville Parker on Thursday night.
Shepler hit back-to-back three pointers in the last 1:30 of regulation to lift the Vikings to a 44-40 Big Eight Conference win over Verona.
Parker (8-1, 6-0) struggled offensively, but relied on a suffocating defense and Shepler's heroics to remain in sole possession of first place.
"It's really neat to see a senior step up like that," Parker coach Tom Klawitter said of Shepler. "I was really happy for her.
"And I thought all our kids played hard. We bent a couple of times, but I've got to be happy with the way we executed when we had to."
Shepler's first three-pointer of the fourth gave Parker a 38-37 lead with 1:30 left. Verona responded on Marissa Mears' three-pointer with 46 seconds left to give the Wildcats (6-4, 4-2) a 40-38 lead.
Klawitter decided against a timeout to set up a possible game-winning play, and Shepler responded with a bomb from the left corner to make it 41-40 with 30 seconds left. Verona had a chance to take the lead on its next possession, but Parker junior Taylor Wyss—inserted for defensive purposes—forced a turnover. Morgan McCulloch got loose on an inbounds play for Parker with four seconds left and her basket and subsequent free throw sealed the win.
"Dani (Fugate) makes a great pass at the end, and Morgan finishes the play," Klawitter said. "That's what I'm talking about when I said we had a number of kids step up and make plays.
"This was a huge win for us, and hopefully, a catapult for us with another big game on Saturday."
Shepler was the only Viking in double figures with 11 points. Verona's Lexy Richardson led all scorers with 17.
Parker plays at Sun Prairie at 2:45 p.m. Saturday.
PARKER 44, VERONA 40
Verona (40)—Hintz, 1-2-4; Mears, 3-0-8; La Croix, 2-0-5; Richardson, 5-7-17; Kant, 1-4-6. Totals: 12-13-40.
Parker (44)—Shepler, 4-0-11; Smith, 0-2-2; Fugate, 2-0-4; Hartwig, 3-3-9; McCulloch, 3-1-8; Dubanowich, 2-0-6; Thompson, 1-1-4. Totals: 15-7-44.
Verona 11 11 5 13—40
Janesville Parker 11 13 7 13—44
Three-point goals—Verona , Parker. Free throws missed—Verona 4, Parker 3. Total fouls—Verona 16, Parker 14..
Sophomores—Verona 63, Parker 55.