Janesville Parker’s girls basketball team has been part of its share of close games this season.
The Vikings had enough of coming out on the wrong end of them.
After seeing a nine-point second-half lead evaporate at Janesville Craig on Saturday night, the Vikings dug deep. Junior Julia Hartwig had a steal and three-point play to regain the lead with 1:46 remaining, and the Vikings held on to beat the Cougars 58-55 in a Big Eight Conference game on Bob Suter Court.
Parker is 2-3 in conference and 2-4 overall. Craig is 2-3 in both.
“It’s really exciting; we kept our composure really well,” said Hartwig, who finished with 22 points. “We needed a win to lift our spirits.”
Parker used a 9-0 run at the end of the first half to forge a 30-30 tie and another 9-0 run to start the second to seize control.
But, behind a sizzling 3-point shooting performance, Craig clawed its way back. Sophomore guard Cassie Goswick drilled eight 3s, including two in a row that gave the Cougars a 52-50 lead with 2:54 remaining.
“It was a hard-fought game, and our kids busted their butts,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “We knew Julia would get her points, and they had a couple players step up and hit some big shots.
“Cassie has been shooting really well I’m practice. She’s looked really good.”
It was 52-51 on the next possession, and with three starters with four fouls, the Cougars spaced the floor to force the Vikings out of their 2-3 zone defense.
Hartwig moved out to the high post and forced a turnover. At the other end the Vikings lobbed the ball inside to her for a layup. She was fouled and made the ensuing free throw for a 54-52 lead.
“We were trying to get the girls to match up, and it’s loud in there so it took a second for us to switch our defense,” Parker coach Jennah Hartwig said. “But I thought when she (Julia) did that, it really fired our whole team up.
“It was nice to see the girls play with some resiliency and come through.”
Craig got back within a point twice in the final 1:40.
But Parker sophomore Tina Shelton made a drive to the basket to regain a three-point lead with a minute left, and senior Jacy Benway made a pair of free throws with 8.6 seconds left.
“Jacy played a heck of a game,” Jennah Hartwig said. “She’s taking that senior leadership role.”
Craig could not get a clear look at the buzzer.
Benway finished with 13 points, while Jena Forrestal had 11.
Goswick finished with 24 all on 3-pointers, and Emily Pierson had 11.
Parker hosts Middleton on Friday, while Craig is at Beloit Memorial.
PARKER 58, CRAIG 55
Parker (58)—Benway 4-2-13, Shelton 3-3-9, Forrestal 4-0-11, Veguilla 0-1-1, Hartwig 8-6-22, Fenrick 1-0-2. Totals: 20-12-58.
Craig (55)—Goswick 8-0-24, Pierson 3-2-11, Parkhurst 2-0-4, Elgas 1-1-3, Fieiras 2-1-7, Dunleavy 3-0-6. Totals: 19-4-55.
Parker 30 28—58
Craig 30 25—55
3-point goals: Parker 6 (Benway 3, Forrestal 3), Craig 13 (Goswick 8, Pierson 3, Fieiras 2). Free throws missed—Parker 11, Craig 4. Total fouls—Craig 19, Parker 10. Fouled out—Dunleavy.