Parker girls target Resch Center
JANESVILLE For 36 years, Madison was home to the WIAA Girls State Basketball Tournament.
And in those 36 years, only one program had more success in Madison than Janesville Parker. The Vikings made 12 state appearances and won three state titles under Tom Klawitter.
Now with the state tournament moving to the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon, Klawitter and the Vikings are hoping to start a new trend.
Parker opens the season Saturday against state power Milwaukee Vincent as part of the Brookfield Central Holiday Tournament.
"We're going to go over there (Brookfield) and see what we need to see as far as size and speed, and I think they will show us what we need to get better at," Klawitter said.
"We're kind of at where we want to be right now. It's just a matter of everybody getting on the same page and learning their roles. These kids have played together long enough to know what's best for our team."
Heading the list of returnees is Ashley Hartwig. The senior and three-year starter was an All-Big Eight performer a year ago, who just missed averaging in double figures in both scoring and rebounding.
"We've just got to get Ashley to slow down a little bit and let it happen," Klawitter said. "Ashley knows she has good teammates around her that she can rely on."
Joining Hartwig in the frontcourt will be Dani Fugate. The 5-foot-11 senior gives the Vikings a solid inside/outside threat.
"Dani's a good player. The key for her is that she has to keep moving so that she fits into the framework of our offense," Klawitter said.
Jackie Shepler, a 5-8 senior, will also start. Klawitter has been impressed with Shepler's energy and aggressiveness.
Rounding out the starting five will likely be sophomores Paige Smith (5-11) and Morgan McCulloch (5-9), but Klawitter said all 11 players on the roster would see the court.
"We don't have ideal size, but when our starters are out there, we have real good length," Klawitter said. "That's why everyone is excited about the season because they will all get the call at some point."
Sophomores Jess Thompson and Kathryn Dubanowich saw extensive varsity minutes a year ago, while sophomore Grace Randles, and juniors Taylor Wyss, Paiton Foster and Addie Mayfield give the Vikings quality depth off the bench.
Klawitter, now in his 23rd year at Parker, said this time of the year is exciting for everyone in the program.
"Any time you have a young team, it adds to the excitement," Klawitter said. "It's just nice to go to practice every night knowing that each kid wants to be there and is working hard to get better."
(7:30 p.m. unless indicated)
Nov: 24—vs. Milwaukee Vincent (Brrokfield Central Tournament), 11:45 p.m.; 27—Madison La Follette; 30—Madison Memorial.
Dec: 6—At Middleton; 14—Beloit Memorial; 20—Madison East; 22—Madison West; 27—At La Crosse Logan Tournament, noon; 28—At La Crosse Logan Tournament, noon.
Jan: 3—Verona; 5-At Sun Prairie; 11—Janesville Craig; 17—At Madison La Follette; 19—At Madison Memorial; 25—Middleton; 31—At Beloit Memorial.
Feb: 2—At Madison East; 8—Nadison West; 9—Milwaukee Riverside, 2:45 p.m.; 14—At Verona; 16—Sun Prairie; 21—At Janesville Craig.