Janesville Parker’s boys basketball team welcomed a new program-leading scorer this season and banded together to play its best ball at the end of the year.
Senior guard Tre Miller scored his 1,013th career point this season to put him atop of the Vikings’ record book. He not only because the program’s highest leading scorer in history, but he also set the single-game record with 45 points against Madison West in February.
“He’s obviously a very talented player,” Parker coach Matt Bredesen said. “He’s had two seasons where he’s been our leader at the point guard spot. When we needed big shots, he was the guy that took big shots. A lot of it was earned through the skill development and work that he’s putting in outside of the season.”
Miller finished his season third in the Big Eight Conference in scoring with 22.5 points per game. As the season progressed, Miller was able to find new ways to score effectively.
“It was a combination of us changing a lot of different things and giving him opportunities to score in different ways,” Bredesen said. “It was also him executing and him using his skills to obviously take advantage of that.”
Miller’s running mate, 6-foot-5 junior forward J.J. Douglas, added to his resume with another successful season. Douglas averaged 17 points a game, shot 58% from the field and led the conference with 15.4 rebounds per game.
With these two leading the way, Parker found itself in several close games this season but struggled to close them out at the beginning of the year. The Vikings’ started their season with a 4-14 record and by the end of the year had lost 10 games by single digits.
“Experience,” Bredesen said about the team’s struggles to win close games. “The only guys that played major minutes (before) and that were consistently playing (this year) were J.J. and Tre. They were dealing with lots of full court pressure, lots of traps and doubles. You got to put your guys that haven’t played a lot of varsity basketball in that situation where they’re facing that pressure. We have a lot of guys that this was their first real experience at playing basketball at that level.”
After gaining more experience as the season progressed, Parker did adapt and finished the season playing its best basketball.
The Vikings closed their season with a 4-3 record, including a three-game winning streak against Madison La Follette, Madison West and Beloit Memorial in February. Parker also played an extremely competitive game against Middleton, who was ranked second in state, in a 62-53 loss.
Parker finished its season with an 8-17 record and fell to Waukesha South 58-55 in regional play in a game where Douglas injured his ankle after just two minutes.
“They got more comfortable,” Bredesen said. “Kadin Babbitt was averaging 12 points a game during that stretch. His emergence at the end of the year was a huge difference for us because it gave us another scorer.”
By season’s end, Babbitt emerged as a reliable scorer for the Vikings and finished his season scoring 6.9 points per game and shot 38% from behind the arc. Senior forward Sam Bess scored 12.5 points per game.
“I don’t think that you’ve seen a lot of teams that would have come back and finish the season how we did after they’d lost a bunch of close games like we did,” Bredesen said. “I think that the resiliency points to toughness and points to culture change. It was still, as far as Parker goes, a season that had positives to it.
“Obviously, we didn’t win some of the games that we wanted to win. Could it have been better? Absolutely. But that’s something that we hope will become a driving force to our guys getting in the gym in the offseason.”
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