Janesville Parker’s boys basketball team was without its leading scorer Tuesday night.
Points, however, were not an issue.
In an entertaining back-and-forth battle with visiting Madison West, the Vikings simply did not take care of the ball well enough to earn a Big Eight Conference victory. They turned the ball over 22 times, and the Regents scored five of the final six points in the last 92 seconds to grab a 71-70 victory at Parker.
West got its first league win, and both teams now sit with 2-13 overall records and 1-10 marks in Big Eight play.
“Any team that turns the ball over 22 times isn’t going to win many games, if any,” Parker coach Keith Miller said. “I also think I could have done a better job of getting them in the right situation down the wire at the end of that game.”
There were seven ties and five lead changes in the final 15 minutes of the game. The Vikings were up three, 69-66, with less than two minutes left, but the Regents tied it when senior Keishawn Shanklin (16 points) buried an NBA-range 3-pointer with 1:32 remaining.
After getting a defensive stop, West, which went just 8 of 23 from the free-throw line, got a pair of free throws from junior guard Cliff McCary, who led all scorers with 25 points.
Parker sophomore Brady Biba, who led the Vikings with 18 points, made 1 of 2 free throws on the ensuing possession to make it 71-70 with 22.1 seconds left.
This time, McCray missed both of his free-throw attempts, and Parker called timeout with 10.4 seconds remaining to draw up a final attempt at a victory.
West knocked the ball away on Parker’s first setup, leaving less than five seconds left. The Vikings then settled for a long inbound pass from in front of their bench to the far corner of the baseline, and they only mustered a couple desperation heaves that didn’t draw iron.
“I think we were just a little too stagnant and thought the first look (we drew up) would be there,” Miller said. “And then it was just a little bit of late-game jitters, rushing, not knowing how much time is on the clock, which, again, is my fault.”
Miller certainly could not fault his team’s effort.
The Vikings were without senior Chris Galvan, who ranks fifth in the Big Eight in scoring at 17.4 points per game, due to an injury. No other player averages more than 8.4 points, so Parker’s players knew they needed to step up to fill the void.
Biba finished 7 of 8 from the field, point guard Kavion Ellison added 16 points, and Tremar Curry and 12 of his 14 points in the second half.
“I think it’s a good sign for Brady, because we’ve known that he can do it and see it in practice. He’s a very capable scorer,” Miller said. “And we know Tremar can bring it every night. He’s getting better and better.”
Parker is back in league action Thursday when it travels to Madison East.
WEST 71, PARKER 70
West (71)—Brown 1-0-3, E. Thompson 2-0-6, Benforado 0-2-2, McCray 10-2-25, Shanklin 6-2-16, Grosse 0-1-1, Armwald 6-1-13, D. Thompson 1-0-2, Berry 1-0-3. Totals: 27-8-71
Parker (70)—Dahlke 2-2-7, DeLong 2-0-5, Biba 7-4-18, Thompson 0-2-2, Ellison 6-2-16, Curry 6-2-14, Stricklin 2-2-8. Totals: 25-14-70
Madison West 39 32—71
Janesville Parker 36 34—70
3-point goals—West 9 (McCray 3, Shanklin 2, E. Thompson 2, Brown, Berry), Parker 6 (Stricklin 2, Ellison 2, Dahlke, DeLong). Free throws missed—West 15, Parker 6. Total fouls—West 16, Parker 24.