Green, white and yellow lights flashed around the darkened gym as the Janesville Parker High girls basketball team made its way onto the court for pregame warmups.
Then, the Vikings lit up Beloit Memorial.
Two big runs provided plenty of cushion and Parker’s energetic defense did the rest Tuesday as the Vikings continued their decade of dominance against the Purple Knights with a 68-36 Big Eight Conference win at Parker High.
Parker (8-12, 6-10 Big Eight) won its 23rd straight game over rival Beloit Memorial (2-18, 0-16 Big Eight), which is stuck in an 83-game conference losing streak.
Nine players scored for the Vikings, led by Julia Hartwig’s 17 points and 11 rebounds. The junior did not start and played about 16 minutes as the Vikings emptied their bench.
“It was kind of nice we were able to get everyone playing tonight,” Parker coach Jennah Hartwig said. “That was our plan. We were able to get a lot of kids rest.”
That rest could be quite beneficial for the Vikings as the end of their regular season arrives in a hurry. Parker hosts Madison Memorial on Thursday and travels to Madison West on Saturday. Then, its playoff time.
Both teams cooled off after quick starts Tuesday. Parker’s Jena Forrestal connected on her first two 3-point attempts and Beloit’s Aniah Williams answered with five points in the opening minute.
Leading 15-14, the Vikings finally broke away with a 14-0 run over a three-minute span. Jacy Benway and Forrestal opened the spurt with back-to-back 3-pointers and three different players made a pair of free throws.
Forrestal finished with 12 points and four 3s while Benway added 10 points.
“It was nice because everyone got engaged shooting-wise,” Jennah Hartwig said. “I thought our defense was actually good tonight. I thought we were pushing the ball on offense. When we do those things the shots seem to fall a bit more, and it’s an easier game when the ball goes in the basket.”
The Vikings made their first five shots of the second half—Brooke Graesslin hit two 3s and Forrestal added another—and went on a 19-2 run to take a 51-25 lead. Beloit Memorial never got closer than 20 over the final 14 minutes, and shot just 20 percent during the second half.
“We played with a lot of intensity and we’ve been missing that in some of our last couple games,” Jennah Hartwig said. “We played with such defensive intensity that (it) just carried over to the offense.”
Parker tied its season high with eight 3-pointers while shooting 41.4 percent from the field, including 53.6 percent after halftime.
Williams scored 15 points to lead the Purple Knights.
JANESVILLE PARKER 68, BELOIT MEMORIAL 36
Beloit (36)—Carter 4-0-8, Williams 6-0-15, Owens 0-2-2, Peppers 1-0-2, Drucker 3-3-9. Totals: 14-5-36.
Parker (68)—Benway 3-3-10, Shelton 1-2-4, Forrestal 4-0-12, Porter 1-3-5, Dooman 1-0-3, Fenrick 1-0-2, Graesslin 4-0-10, Veguilla 2-1-5, Hartwig 7-3-17. Totals: 24-12-68.
Beloit 21 15—36
Parker 32 36—68
3-point goals—Beloit 3 (Williams 3), Parker 8 (Forrestal 4, Graesslin 2, Benway 1, Dooman 1). Free throws missed—Beloit 1, Parker 6. Total fouls—Beloit 17, Parker 10.