JANESVILLE

Jennah Hartwig appreciated her team’s second-half effort Thursday night. And she was pleased that her Janesville Parker girls basketball team seemed peeved after another close loss.

But in the end, the Vikings are still trying to get over the hump.

They scored just 14 first-half points and could not finish off a comeback bid in the final minutes, as Madison La Follette edged Parker 45-42 in a Big Eight Conference game at Parker.

The Vikings have lost three of their last four games—by a combined 13 points—and are 6-8 overall and 4-7 in league play. La Follette is 8-6 and 5-6.

“I thought we really played hard and just had a little letdown in there and showed a little fatigue,” Hartwig said. “Our second half was so much better, so much more energy than the first half. I told them we are right there to winning all of these games.”

Parker’s offensive struggles seemed to pick up where they left off in a 29-27 loss to Verona.

The Vikings went just 5 of 23 from the floor in the first half against the Lancers, who weren’t much hotter and led 18-14 at halftime.

The second half featured five ties and four lead changes.

For 13 minutes, Parker junior Julia Hartwig seemed to be the team’s lone offensive option. She scored 16 straight points for her team at one point and finished with a game-high 27 overall on 10-of-21 shooting from the field and a 7-for-10 night from the line.

Hartwig had two free throws with just over eight minutes left that gave the Vikings a 31-27 lead.

“She was really disappointed after the Verona game, and she should have been,” Jennah Hartwig said of her daughter, a UW-Green Bay commit. “This week at practice, it just seemed like things began to click a little more. I was happy with her game and her aggressiveness. When she plays aggressive, her teammates play aggressive.”

But La Follette countered with a 14-3 run, forcing five turnovers during that stretch, to regain control. Sophomore Nyenhial Riak had eight of her team-high 17 points during that spurt, which gave the Lancers a 41-34 lead with less than four minutes remaining.

The Vikings answered, though, behind six quick points from sophomore Jena Forrestal, including a four-point play to get within two with 2:34 remaining.

Julia Hartwig’s turnaround bucket in the lane tied the game at 42 with 138 remaining, and the Vikings got the ball back with a chance to take the lead. But they suffered their 18th turnover of the night.

After a timeout, the Lancers broke through a full-court press, and junior Kaytlin Eder found senior Meryl Steele for a 12-foot jumper from the baseline. It rattled home to give La Follette the lead for good with 53 seconds left.

Parker suffered another turnover, and Eder went 1 of 2 from the line to put La Follette up three.

The Vikings called a timeout with 4.8 seconds left to set up a game-tying 3-point attempt. But they struggled to get an open shooter, and Hartwig was forced to attempt the game-tying shot, which came up short.

Sydni Olson scored nine of her 12 points in the second half to help La Follette to its second straight win.

Forrestal was the only other Parker player with more than three points, finishing with eight.

“We’ve got to figure out how to break through that threshold and win,” Jennah Hartwig said. “I said, ‘You guys get together and talk about it. What do we need? What’s it going to take to win these games instead of lose them? Talk about it, and bring it to practice tomorrow.’”

Parker travels to Madison East for a Big Eight game Tuesday night.

LA FOLLETTE 45, PARKER 42

La Follette (45)—Ingersoll 1-0-2, Eder 2-1-6, Steele 3-1-7, Riak 7-3-17, Walker 0-1-1, Olson 4-2-12. Totals: 17-8-45

Parker (42)—Benway 0-1-1, Shelton 1-1-3, Forrestal 2-3-8, Graesslin 1-0-3, Hartwig 10-7-27. Totals: 14-12-42.

Madison La Follette 18 27—45

Janesville Parker 14 28—42

3-point goals—La Follette 3 (Olson 2, Eder), Parker 2 (Forrestal, Graesslin). Free throws missed—La Follette 9, Parker 6. Total fouls—La Follette 17, Parker 17.

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