In his first season as Milton High’s boys basketball coach, Alex Olson won’t let losing define his team.
Despite an 0-18 record, Olson said the positives far outweigh the negatives when it comes to the current state and the future of a program in the midst of a 22-game losing streak.
“There is no such thing as failure,” Olson said. “I try to look at it more as facing adversity and how you learn from it.
“People may look at our record and say we’re not growing or improving, but anyone that has seen us play will tell you that is not true. The effort and energy are there each and every day. Not playing hard is not an option.”
Keith Miller is also going through the growing pains at Janesville Parker.
The Vikings entered the season losers of 36 straight games and the streak reached 44 before beating Beloit Memorial on Dec. 19. Parker is currently 2-16 overall.
“My job is to try and get as much as I can out of each and every guy and to build relationships,” coach Miller said. “It’s about a lot more than just basketball. There are things in life far more important than wins and losses.
“And as a team, we’ve tried to set short-term goals that are attainable. By doing that, and then going out and achieving them, it gives you something to celebrate.”
Milton is being outscored by an average of 22 points a game, and only two of the 18 losses have been decided by less than 10 points.
Olson said a variety of factors have led to the long losing streak, the biggest being a roster that features only one senior in Chance Nelson.
“In high school, it’s a senior-driven league and that’s how you win games,” Olson said. “We have one senior, who has done everything we’ve asked of him, and five juniors. The rest are sophomores and freshmen.
“So right now, we’re picking little battles to try and win,” the Milton coach said. We may not win a lot of them, but we’re learning from them.”
for the program. The freshman team, despite two in the class on the varsity team, has 15 wins already. The junior varsity team has won 14 games.
Although many would expect the Red Hawks to file this season away and look to the future, Olson said that’s not fair to the team, especially the lone senior Nelson.
“Our mantra from Day 1 has been to win the day,” Olson said. “I don’t care how small of a percentage it might be, just go out and win the day. And that shows in our practices. They’re very competitive and there’s no let-up.
“We’ve also been going by the hashtag #chasemarch. Only one team wins a conference title; after that the season resets. There’s no reason we can’t surprise some people in March and win a couple games.”
Here’s a look at three area games today, with one likely deciding the Big Eight boys championship:
Janesville Parker (7-11) at Waunakee (13-6), girls, nonconference, 7:15 p.m., today—This is the Vikings’ last chance to pad their postseason resume before Sunday’s seeding meeting. Parker has beaten only two teams with winning records all season.
Waunakee is coming off a conference loss to Beaver Dam, the top-ranked team in the state in Division 2.
CiCi Rindy and Maddie Farnsworth are both averaging double figures in scoring, while defensively the Warriors are holding opponents to less than 50 points per game.
Parker picked up a big win last week over crosstown rival Janesville Craig but followed it up with a 24-point loss at Middleton.
Junior center Julia Hartwig continues to lead the Big Eight in scoring at 19.5 points and 15.7 rebounds per game.
The Vikings have not won a road game since Jan. 4.
Best guess: Waunakee 58, Parker 54
Sun Prairie (16-1, 13-1 Big Eight) at Madison Memorial (14-4, 11-3), boys, 7:30 p.m., today—The Spartans’ quest for a 15th straight conference title could be in jeopardy. A loss would drop Memorial three games behind Sun Prairie with three to play.
The second-ranked Cardinals have been on a roll since super sophomore Jalen Johnson returned from a leg injury. The 6-foot-6 swingman, who is currently the sixth-ranked prospect in the 2020 class according to ESPN, is second in the Big Eight in scoring at 19.5 points per game.
Sun Prairie has won 12 in a row since suffering its only defeat to Memorial on Dec. 16, a game in which Johnson did not play.
The Spartans are getting it done on the defensive end, allowing only 48.2 points per game. Cade Ellingson leads the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game.
Best guess: Sun Prairie 73, Memorial 57
Janesville Craig (9-10, 6-9 Big Eight) at Madison Memorial (9-9, 8-6), girls, 7:30 p.m., today—The Cougars can get back to .500 overall and likely move up on the postseason seeding chart by beating another team with an above-.500 conference record.
Memorial won the first meeting between the teams 73-69 after overcoming a 14-point halftime deficit.
Sophomore forward Leilani Kapinus, who already has collegiate offers from Wisconsin and Marquette, leads the Spartans in scoring at 13.9 points per game.
Cassie Goswick and Emily Pierson are combining to score more than 28 points a game for Craig, while freshman Claudia Fieiras continues to play well off the bench in raising her scoring average to 9.6 points per game.
Best guess: Memorial 63, Craig 56
BOYS AREA SCORING LEADERS
Name Yr. School Average Season High
Zach Mielke Sr. Evansville 20.3 32
Blake McCann Sr. Craig 20.1 32
Logan Eischeid Jr. Big Foot 18.1 28
Eli Hoscheit Jr. Parkview 16.9 29
Chris Galvan Sr. Parker 16.5 31
Caleb Gracyalny Sr. Clinton 16.3 30
Daniel Fuller Sr. Whitewater 16.3 24
Zach Krause Sr. Clinton 15.7 26
Dai’Vontrelle Strong So. Turner 14.5 32
Jacob Fox Sr. Edgerton 14.2 29