A declining enrollment and playing in a conference where it was easily the smallest school took a toll on Orfordville Parkview’s athletics program.
And though all programs were affected in some way, no program may have felt it more than boys basketball.
The Vikings haven’t had a winning season on the hardwood since 2009-10 and have a 28-86 record over the last five seasons.
That may finally be turning around in 2017-18. Parkview is 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Trailways South Conference heading into Monday’s conference game at Deerfield.
Second-year coach Mike Striegl said a couple of things have factored into the fast start.
“First of all, we’ve got a very athletic group and a strong junior class,” Striegl said. “These kids have been playing together for a while now.
“And although I don’t know everything about all the teams because we’ve only played two conference games so far, I have to believe that playing now in a conference where schools are similar in size to us is also making a difference.”
Parkview joined the Trailways in football in 2016 and in all other sports for the 2017-18 school year.
The Vikings rolled to wins over Madison Country Day and Abundant Life/St. Ambrose in their first two conference games. Their only loss is to Belleville in a nonconference game.
Junior Eli Hoscheit is third in the conference in scoring at 18.5 points per game, but Striegl said he’s had plenty of support.
“I like to run what I call a half-court set on offense, and the guys have bought into it,” Striegl said. “But we’re also fast enough and athletic enough that we can get out and run our transition break.
“We’re a little height-challenged, so my job is to try and get the most I can out of them. We’ve rebounded well despite our lack of size.”
Juniors Justin Balch and Ayden Campbell have been major contributors to the early-season success, along with seniors Riley Carroll, Sam Nelson and Nate Mohr.
Striegl knows there’s a lot of season left, but the Vikings have already surpassed their win total from each of the last three seasons.
“We’ve got a big conference game with Deerfield on Monday,” he said. “We’ll know a little bit more about ourselves after that.
“But we’ve gotten off to a good start. It’s fun to be a part of.”
Here’s a look at three key area high school basketball games over the next couple nights:
Janesville Parker (0-6, 0-4 Big Eight) at Janesville Craig (2-3, 1-3), boys, 7:30 p.m., today—The Cougars have won four straight against their crosstown rival and have dominated the all-time series.
Parker is in the midst of a 42-game losing streak dating back to the 2015-16 season. The Vikings’ last win was a 74-69 nonconference victory over Delavan-Darien on Jan. 5, 2016.
Despite four straight double-digit losses to start the Big Eight season, Parker showed signs of life in its last game against Sun Prairie. The Vikings cut a 15-point halftime deficit down to nine before the fourth-ranked Cardinals pulled away late.
“I think the Sun Prairie game, especially the second half, opened our eyes as to how we want to play as a team and how we’re capable of playing,” Parker coach Keith Miller said. “Now, we just have to put a full game together.”
Senior forward Chris Galvan is averaging 16.8 points per game and is 10th in the conference in scoring.
“I think Chris is a tough match-up for them because of his ability to go inside and out,” Miller said. “That’s why it’s important to get him going early.”
Craig has lost two straight after winning two of its first three games to start the season.
Senior Blake McCann is sixth in the Big Eight in scoring at 18.8 points per game, while Jacob Ngobi sits seventh at 17.8.
Craig coach Ben McCormick said that despite being a heated rivalry game, he wants his team to treat it as any other game.
“I know they’ll be a lot of fans there, and the game itself means a lot to those involved because of who’s playing, but I want our focus to be on correcting the mistakes we’ve made and working on becoming a better basketball team,” McCormick said.
“As far as Parker goes, we know that Galvan can score the basketball, so we’ve got to be strong defensively.”
Best guess: Craig 72, Parker 55
Milton (4-1, 3-1 Badger South) at Madison Edgewood (4-2, 3-1), girls, 7:15 p.m., Friday—The Red Hawks hit the road to take on the defending Division 3 state champs.
Milton suffered its first loss of the season last Saturday against Oregon.
Chloe Buescher is averaging 16.4 points per game for the Red Hawks, while Kailey Harbort is also in double figures in scoring at 10.6.
Caitlin Link and Ella Foti are averaging more than 28 points combined per game for the Crusaders.
Edgewood’s only conference loss was to Stoughton, which Milton beat.
Best guess: Edgewood 58, Milton 51
Beloit Turner (4-1, 2-1 Rock Valley) at Brodhead (3-2, 2-1), 7:15 p.m., today—Both teams are a game behind first-place East Troy.
Turner is coming off a buzzer-beating win over Evansville on Steve Dillard’s 3-pointer as time expired. Dillard is fifth in the conference in scoring at 18 points per game.
Brodhead is led by Justice Tway. The senior is second in the Rock in scoring with a 21.3 average. Teammate Brekan Day is eighth in the Rock at 16.3 points per game.
Best guess: Turner 64, Brodhead 56
John Barry is a sports writer for The Gazette. Contact him at email@example.com