Parker girls stay in first place
Admittedly frazzled, Ashley Hartwig and her teammates hung on long enough Thursday night.
Trailing 48-35 entering the fourth quarter, Madison La Follette unleashed its trapping defense to frustrate first-place Janesville Parker and rallied back in the final minute. The Lancers managed to pull within 56-54 with 49 seconds remaining, but could not overtake the eighth-ranked Vikings.
Hartwig made four consecutive free throws sandwiched around a steal in the final 39 seconds as the Vikings held off the Lancers for a pivotal 62-56 Big Eight Conference win.
"We were frazzled," said Hartwig, who had six of her eight points in the fourth quarter. "We started rushing everything. It was hard to get it to the middle against that trap. We eventually got out of it a couple times."
Despite the turnover bug hitting at the wrong time, Parker was able to make its early advantage stand up. Parker (11-1 overall, 9-0 in the Big Eight) jumped out to a 22-10 lead behind four first quarter three-pointers, with two each from Dani Fugate and Morgan McCulloch.
Fugate finished with 17 points, while Paige Smith came off the bench to make all four of her first quarter shots and added 15 points.
Amelia Grahn led La Follette (8-4, 7-2) with 30 points. The junior added eight steals and nearly rallied the Lancers with seven fourth quarter points.
Grahn pulled the Lancers within 27-25 on a three-pointer with 3:01 left in the first half as La Follette took advantage of eight Parker second-quarter turnovers. Parker regrouped with an 18-8 run and pushed its lead 50-35 with 7:34 left until falling prey to the Lancer trap.
"Bottom line, we need to take care of the basketball better," Parker coach Tom Klawitter said. "But it was a pretty good win. We had a hard time containing (Grahn) for a couple years now, so we'll try and do better on her next time."
The Vikings coughed up five fourth-quarter turnovers to help the Lancers pull within 56-54 with 49 seconds left following a runner by Erica Olson and two free throws from Ali Smith. But after two free throws from Hartwig, the senior forced a turnover on the defensive end and closed out the Lancers from the line.
"I know these girls and I know they don't give up," La Follette coach Liz Hrodey said. "Even when we got down 13, I was still feeling all right. We know we can play with this type of a team now. We just didn't take care of it in the first half."
PARKER 62, LA FOLLETTE 56
Parker (62)—Shepler, 7; Smith, 15; Fugate, 17; Thompson, 6; Hartwig, 8; McCulloch, 9. Totals: 19-16-62.
La Follette (56)—Olson, 2; Grahn, 30; A. Smith, 2; Meiller, 10; Neuman, 10. Totals: 23-8-56.
Parker 22 9 17 14—62
La Follette 10 15 10 21—56
Three-point goals—Parker 8 (Fugate 3, McCulloch 2, Thompson, Smith), La Follette 2 (Grahn, Neuman). Free throws missed—Parker 7, La Follette 5. Total fouls—Parker 17, La Follette 21. Fouled out—McCulloch, Olson.
Sophomores—Parker 46, La Follette 42.