Parker Fetherston and her Jefferson girls basketball teammates began talking about the possibility of winning a Rock Valley Conference championship last summer.
The Eagles are now a week and a half away from capturing their first conference title in nine years.
Fetherston, a senior guard, scored a career-high 30 points, and Jefferson’s defense completely stifled Whitewater in the second half of a 58-31 RVC victory Tuesday night in Jefferson.
The Eagles, in winning a makeup game from last month, improved to 18-1 overall and 14-1 in league play and swept the season series with the Whippets (13-6, 11-4).
“Our motto going into the game was, ‘Want it more than they do,’” said Fetherston, who was 10 of 15 from the field, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. “It was a slow start, but we just kind of had to re-energize and get ourselves together.”
Jefferson didn’t score for the first four minutes and had just one basket in the first eight minutes before Fetherston provided the spark. She had 27 of her points from that moment forward, including a bank shot with less than eight minutes left in the half that gave the Eagles a 14-12 lead that they never relinquished.
They led just 24-22 at halftime, but Whitewater scored just nine second-half points. Fetherston banked home a 3-pointer with just under 12 minutes left that ended a 14-1 Jefferson run to go up by 15 points, and the Whippets got no closer than 13 the rest of the way.
“Typical Whitewater (this) year: We don’t show up for a half,” Whippets coach Judy Harms said. “They have good defense, I’ll give them credit, but our shooting was horrid. You can’t beat anyone scoring nine points.
“My guards kept driving, and they needed to knock down 3s. By the time they started shooting 3s, it was desperation. We shot a lot of bad shots tonight.”
The Whippets were 2-for-25 from the field in the final 18 minutes. They were 0 of 13 from beyond the arc in the game.
“Our plan was to clog down—respect the shooters but mostly clog the lane and help off the ball,” Fetherston said.
Fetherston, who recently went over 1,000 points for her career, is averaging nearly 18 points per game. It was her second straight game setting a career high after scoring 29 in a nonconference win over Westosha on Saturday.
“We tried a couple things on her—tried diamond-and-one on her at one point,” Harms said. “It just wasn’t a good game for us, second half. ... They just outplayed us big-time tonight.”
Jefferson plays at Beloit Turner on Thursday and still has a home game against McFarland and a road game against Edgerton remaining.
“It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully we grind it out and get the championship,” Fetherston said.
JEFFERSON 58, WHITEWATER 31
Whitewater (31)—Heckert 0-8-8, Grosinske 3-0-6, Carollo 3-0-6, Ketterhagen 3-2-8, Henneman 0-1-1, Reynolds 1-0-2. Totals: 10-11-31.
Jefferson (58)—Ganser 1-2-4, Morrison 2-2-6, Luengas 3-0-7, Fetherston 10-7-30, Peterson 1-2-4, Truman 1-2-4, Howard 1-0-3. Totals: 19-15-58.
Whitewater 22 9—31
Jefferson 24 34—58
3-point goals—Whitewater 0, Jefferson 5 (Fetherston 3, Luengas, Howard). Free throws missed—Whitewater 4, Jefferson 9. Total fouls—Whitewater 17, Jefferson 19. Fouled out—Becker (J).