Jennah Hartwig likes to play on opening night.
The Janesville Parker head coach prefers her team to get a game under its belt before heading straight into Big Eight Conference play.
The biggest story Tuesday night, however, wound up being about who was not on the floor.
Parker senior Julia Hartwig, a UW-Green Bay recruit coming off an all-state junior season, is out of action to start the year due to an injury. That means the Vikings must search for new offensive catalysts to replace 17 points and 13 rebounds per game.
They made just eight baskets Tuesday, falling 65-38 to visiting Waunakee in a nonconference opener for both teams on the first night games were played across the state of Wisconsin.
“We have to find a way to put the ball in the basket with some consistency,” Jennah Hartwig said. “And the scoring has to come out of our offense, not just a random decision to shoot.
“It does hurt not having Julia, because she does a nice job of helping everyone get set up in what they’re doing. And they’ve learned over the years how to play off her.
“When she comes back, that’ll help. But until then, we have to score.”
Julia Hartwig entered the season with 1,188 career points in 69 varsity games over the past three seasons.
She suffered a shoulder injury in practice last week, and Jennah Hartwig—her coach and mother—said she’ll return to the doctor for further evaluation early next week.
For now, the Vikings will need the supporting cast to step into a bigger role. On Tuesday, they shot just 21.1 percent from the floor and never led against the Warriors.
“We have girls that can score, they just have to go strong to the basket,” Jennah Hartwig said. “We just have to get better and play with a little more confidence.”
Parker suffered from 16 first-half turnovers yet trailed just 21-14 with less than six minutes remaining before halftime.
Waunakee scored the final six points of the half then buried two consecutive 3-pointers—after going 1-for-15 from beyond the arc in the first half—in the first three possessions of the second half.
A 10-0 run gave the Warriors a 37-14 lead, and the Vikings never got closer than 19 the rest of the way.
Waunakee’s Maddie Farnsworth led all scorers with 15 points.
Parker senior Brooke Graesslin hit three 3-pointers on her way to 11 for the Vikings, while junior Jena Forrestal added 10.
Parker opens Big Eight play Friday at Verona.
“I wanted to make sure we had a game in before we start conference. We didn’t last year, and I just didn’t think it was good for us,” Hartwig said. “Will we get better? Yes. Sooner rather than later? I hope so.”
WAUNAKEE 65, PARKER 38
Waunakee (65)—Dotzler 0-3-3, Ehle 1-0-2, Murray 2-0-5, Meeker 1-0-2, Watson 2-0-5, Maier 2-5-10, Kesilewski 0-5-5, Kenas 2-1-6, Schmitt 4-0-8, Farnsworth 6-2-15, Miller 1-0-2, Ryan 0-2-2. Totals: 21-18-65.
Parker (38)—Shelton 1-3-5, J. Forrestal 2-4-10, Burdick 1-0-3, Porter 0-4-4, Graesslin 3-2-11, Luek 1-2-5. Totals 8-15-38.
Waunakee 27 38—65
Janesville Parker 14 24—38
3-point goals—Waunakee 5 (Murray, Watson, Maier, Kenas, Farnsworth), Parker 7 (Graesslin 3, Forrestal 2, Luek, Burdick). Free throws missed—Waunakee 11, Parker 12. Total fouls—Waunakee 25, Parker 20. Fouled out—Maier, Ryan.