The streak is over.
Janesville Parker’s boys basketball players and coaches don’t have to hear about it anymore.
The Vikings snapped a 44-game losing streak Tuesday night.
Kavion Ellison hit a critical 3-pointer with 4:35 left, and Chris Galvan made 9 of 10 free throws in the second half to lift Parker to a 58-55 Big Eight Conference win over Beloit Memorial.
How big was it to finally find the win column? Big enough for the Parker student section to storm the court afterward. The Vikings had not won a game since January of 2016.
“I’m so proud of these guys, especially my seniors, Kavion and Chris,” Parker coach Keith Miller said. “It’s not easy to come to practice every night with loss after loss. And yet those two come in and set the tone each and every night.
“These kids never settle. Some teams get set in their ways and settle for where they’re at. These kids don’t because they know they can compete, and tonight they were rewarded for that.”
Things started poorly for the Vikings. They trailed 17-2 with 10:11 left in the first half.
A timeout by Miller seemed to right the ship. Parker went on a 25-8 run to end the half and took a 27-26 lead into the locker room.
Connor Stricklin had six points off the bench for Parker in the first half and Ellison had nine points, including a 3-pointer with one minute left that gave Parker the lead for good.
“It basically came down to Xs and Os,” Miller said of the slow start. “That’s what we talked about during the timeout. We know the game plan coming in, but you still have to go out and execute it. We weren’t doing that.”
Parker led most of the second half but never by more than seven. Ellison’s 3 with 4:35 left pushed Parker’s lead to 51-44, but Beloit hung tough and got within two three times—the last coming at 57-55 on a free throw from Chamer White with 14 seconds left.
Galvan was fouled with 12 seconds left and made the first of two attempts. Beloit had the ball with a chance to tie, but White’s 3 from the corner with time expiring was off the mark, setting off a wild celebration from the Parker faithful.
Ellison, who led Parker with 14 points, said his team never lost confidence during the losing streak.
“We knew coming in that we could beat Beloit if we went out and executed,” Ellison said. “We had a slow start, but after that we settled down and played our game. We were all tied of losing. None of us cared how many in a row it was, we just wanted to win.
“It was back and forth, but once I made that 3-pointer, I knew we were going to win. We needed this, and now we want to get more wins.”
Parker will need to wait more than a week to return to the court, but it will look for back-to-back victories when it faces Milwaukee Carmen in the Southside Shootout at Cudahy on Dec. 28.
PARKER 58, BELOIT 55
Beloit (55)—Fair, 4-1-10; Rodriguez, 3-4-10; White, 0-2-2; Hereford, 0-1-1; Ranger, 3-4-10; Payne, 1-1-4; Cook, 6-4-16; Roberts, 1-0-2. Totals: 18-17-55.
Parker (58)—Dahlke, 1-2-4; Biba, 0-2-2; Galvan, 2-9-13; Thompson, 3-1-9; Ellison, 4-4-14; Curry, 3-4-10; Stricklin, 3-0-6. Totals: 16-22-58.
Beloit Memorial 26 29—55
Janesville Parker 27 31—58
Three-point goals—Beloit 2 (Payne, Fair), Parker 4 (Thompson 2, Ellison 2). Free throws missed—Beloit 13, Parker 7. Total fouls—Beloit 24, Parker 20.