One made free throw might have made a big difference for Janesville Parker’s girls basketball team Thursday night.
The final score will show a 21-point loss. But the difference in the game was a 13-0 first-half run by visiting Madison East, a stretch where the Vikings had six missed free throws that could have softened the blow.
Instead, the Purgolders built a 15-point lead by halftime that was never threatened in a 72-51 Big Eight Conference victory at Parker.
The Vikings lost their sixth straight game to fall to 6-12 overall and 3-11 in league play.
“We missed 11 free throws in the first half ... and now we’ve had a couple games lately where we haven’t shot well, and I’m not sure what that is about,” Parker coach Jennah Hartwig said. “I knew pushing the ball on them would be risky, because they want to play fast. But it’s how I wanted us to play, and I thought they were more tired than we were at the end of the game.
“But we just didn’t put the ball in the basket tonight. The shots just weren’t falling.”
Parker’s game plan was working just fine early on.
It trailed just 12-11 with 10 minutes left in the first half and 17-13 when Paisley Booth made a jumper with 7:27 to go before the break.
But East scored 13 consecutive points in the next three and a half minutes to take command.
Parker had a trip to the free-throw line to potentially get within two points but missed both attempts. It missed two more when it was 19-13.
The Purgolders scored on seven of nine possessions, capping their 14-point surge with Kalena Bentley’s transition layup with about four minutes left.
“We had some fantastic looks there in the first half, and if we make a couple more, I think we would’ve had a little more confidence,” Hartwig said.
Parker finished 5 of 14 from the stripe in the first half and trailed 36-21.
The Purgolders quickly stretched their lead to 20 out of halftime, and the margin remained right around that mark through a sloppy and choppy second half plagued by 24 fouls.
Alonna Harvey-Williams led East with 14 points, while Bentley and Nevaehia Boston each had 13.
Parker senior Tina Shelton led all scorers, scoring 16 of her 20 in the second half. Booth had 10 in the first on the way to 14 total.
“We’re young, so we’re going to keep working ... and we’ll get better,” Hartwig said. “I thought they (our players) didn’t give up and they played hard. That will continue to help us get better, that attitude of don’t quit and work hard.”
Parker hosts Middleton on Tuesday night.
EAST 72, PARKER 51
East (72)—Bentley 5-3-13, Alston 3-1-8, McCullers 3-2-8, Jones 0-1-1, Hicks 2-2-6, Gottschalk 1-0-2, Boston 6-1-13, Fadele 3-1-7, Harvey-Williams 5-4-14. Totals: 28-15-72.
Parker (51)—Rosga 1-0-3, Ayers 0-3-3, Shelton 8-3-20, Booth 6-2-14, Egger-Ahrens 1-2-4, Blum 2-3-7. Totals: 18-13-51.
Madison East 36 36—72
Janesville Parker 21 30—51
3-point goals—East 1 (Alston), Parker 2 (Rosga, Shelton). Free throws missed—East 11, Parker 17. Total fouls—East 24, Parker 19.