Parker girls basketball team sets sights on state
JANESVILLE No girls basketball program, other than Cuba City, has made more state tournament appearances than Janesville Parker. The Cubans have 13 to the Vikings’ 12.
Under longtime coach Tom Klawitter, Parker is 15-9 at state, including state titles in 1993, 2000 and 2001.
The Vikings, however, have not been to state since 2006 and have not won a state tournament game since 2004.
Does the drought end in 2013? The Big Eight Conference champion Vikings hope so. Parker is ranked 10th in the state and has a favorable tournament schedule as part of the Division 1 Middleton Sectional. The second-seeded Vikings (19-3) have the opportunity to host their first three tournament games before the Saturday, March 9 sectional title game at Middleton.
State-wide tournament play begins Tuesday with a number of regional quarterfinal games in five divisions.
Fourth-ranked Mukwonago (21-1) is the No. 1 seed in the bottom half of the Middleton Sectional but would have to play at Parker in a sectional semifinal game on Thursday, March 7 if both teams win regional titles.
Verona and Madison La Follette are the top two seeds in the upper half of the bracket. Parker swept the season series from La Follette and split with Verona.
Janesville Craig (11-11) begins Division tournament play on the road at Muskego on Friday night and would then likely face top-seeded Mukwonago on the road in the regional title game Saturday. The Cougars battled injuries and the flu bug for most of the season but are capable of playing with any team in the sectional field.
The winner of the Middleton Sectional plays the winner of the Sheboygan South Sectional in the state tournament’s first semifinal game at 6:35 p.m. on Friday, March 15 at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon. Top-ranked De Pere is the heavy favorite in the Sheboygan South Sectional. The Redbirds are the defending Division 1 state champions and are 22-0 this season.
-- Best guess: Parker makes it back to state for the first time in seven years, along with De Pere, Milwaukee Riverside and Superior. De Pere beat Riverside by 18 in the first game of the season, but the Tigers are a much different team now. Look for Riverside, with its wealth of talent and Division 1 prospects, to dethrone De Pere for what could be a run of state titles.
New London is the two-time defending state champion in Division 2 and a serious threat to threepeat. The Bulldogs are 20-0 and riding a 62-game winning streak.
The Janesville Craig Sectional in Division 2 is wide open. Badger South Conference champion Monona Grove and Southern Lakes Conference champion Wilmot are the No. 1 seeds in the upper and lower half of the bracket, respectively. Monona Grove, with the father/daughter combination of coach Eric Nelson and point guard Taylor Nelson, won its first 14 games of the season before losing its only conference game to Madison Edgewood.
Milton’s Morgan Blumer and Whitewater’s Brooke Trewyn are arguably the two best players in the Craig Sectional and could meet Saturday at Whitewater in a regional final game.
Wilmot, under Delavan-Darien graduate and former UW-Whitewater football player Keiya Square, handed Parker one of its three losses at the La Crosse Logan Tournament.
-- Best guess: New London, New Berlin Eisenhower, Beaver Dam and Madison Edgewood punch their tickets to state. New London holds off New Berlin Eisenhower to reach the title game for the third straight year and completes the threepeat with a convincing win over Beaver Dam.
Neillsville is the defending Division 4 champion and the top-ranked team in Division 3 this season. Kewaunee is the defending Division 3 champion and ranked third. Brodhead and East Troy both hope to crash the party at the Resch Center.
Second-ranked East Troy finished the regular season 21-1, with its only loss to Division 1 Franklin. The Trojans, led by all-everything Breanna Gaspervich and one of the state’s top 3-point shooters in Rachel Atchison, are averaging 67 points per game. East Troy has made 150 3-pointers—a staggering 70 of those from Atchison. The Trojans lost to Oostburg in a state semifinal game a year ago.
Brodhead’s only blemish on its record was a Rock Valley crossover loss to East Troy, and the teams are paired in opposite sectionals. Among fifth-ranked Brodhead’s wins this season was a 3-point thriller over Cuba City, the state top-ranked Division 4 team. Carly Mohns leads a balanced Brodhead attack with a 13.2 scoring average.
-- Best guess: Neillsville coasts back to state, along with East Troy, Kewaunee and Brodhead. Neillsville spoils East Troy’s return to state in one semifinal, while Kewaunee puts an end to Brodhead’s magical season in the other. The Warriors of Neillsville prove that moving up a division isn’t as difficult as it seems as they earn a second straight state title.
There will be a new champion in Division 4 with Neillsville making the move to Division 3 this season.
Cuba City is gunning for a state record 10th gold ball. The Cubans ended the regular season 20-1, with the only loss to Brodhead.
-- Best guess: Cuba City makes its state-record 14th state appearance, along with Prairie School, Oshkosh Lourdes Academy and Colfax. Prairie School denies Cuba City its 10th state crown with a dominating performance in the title game.
Milwaukee Heritage Christian is the defending state champion but will be severely tested in its bid to repeat.
-- Best guess: Heritage Christian, Owen-Withee, Assumption and Newman Catholic make the state field.
The Patriots’ athleticism brings the school a second straight state title.