Last season was a struggle for Janesville Parker’s boys basketball team.
The Vikings limped home with a 4-19 overall record.
A new season has brought renewed optimism to the program.
Parker got halfway to its win total from a year ago Tuesday night with a 77-64 nonconference win over Palmyra-Eagle.
The Vikings improved to 2-2 on the young season and could easily be 4-0 if not for close losses at Edgerton and East Troy.
Robert DeLong and Brenden Weis scored 26 points each Tuesday as the Vikings pulled away over the final five minutes for the double-digit win.
“I truly believe that we are at a stage right now where we can compete and play hard with anyone,” Parker coach Matt Bredesen said. “It’s going to come down to learning how and being able to finish. Hopefully we took a couple of steps forward tonight with finishing.
“But if we want to be successful and get to that next level, which I think we can, we have to do the little things on both ends of the court. And we’ve got to play better defensively than we did tonight.”
Parker led 42-34 at half and built the lead to 61-50 with 9:15 left on DeLong’s 3-pointer.
Palmyra-Eagle (0-2) answered with a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to two with 7:45 to play.
After the teams traded baskets, Parker went on a 14-4 run to take control. Weis had nine of the Vikings’ 14 points during the stretch.
DeLong and Weis both made four 3s, with Weis scoring 17 points in the second half and DeLong 14 in the first.
DeLong said his team has played well all season on the offensive end but needs to shore up things defensively.
“When we play together as a team, I really think we can compete with anybody,” DeLong said. “But defensively, we’ve got to do a better job on the help side and rotating over.”
Matthew Hartwig added 14 points for Parker, while senior forward Aiden Calderon paced Palmyra-Eagle with 25.
Parker plays at Beloit Turner on Thursday.
PARKER 77, PALMYRA-EAGLE 64
Palmyra-Eagle (64)—Calderon 10-4-25; Joyner 6-0-15; Webber 1-0-2; Carpenter 2-1-5; Hammond 5-0-12; Harris 1-0-2; Holcomb 1-0-3. Totals: 26-5-64
Parker (77)—Thompson 1-4-6; DeLong 11-0-26; Hartwig 6-2-14; Weis 7-8-26. Totals: 25-14-77
Palmyra-Eagle 34 30—64
Janesville Parker 42 35—77
3-point goals—PE 7 (Joyner 3, Hammond 2, Calderon, Holcomb), JP 8 (DeLong 4, Weis 4). Free throws missed—PE 7, JP 6. Total fouls—PE 15, JP 13. Fouled out—Hammond