Fourth-quarter run sends Verona past Parker
JANESVILLE—Struggles with the little things spelled doom for Janesville Parker on Saturday afternoon.
The Vikings boys basketball team struggled from the free-throw line and, at times, transition defense in a Big Eight loss to Verona.
The Wildcats scored 11 straight points during a spurt early in the fourth quarter, which propelled them to a 66-59 victory.
“We were stuck on 45 for what seemed like five minutes,” Parker coach Ryan Masterson said of the stretch where his team's 45-43 lead quickly turned into a 54-45 deficit. “It's just little breakdowns. Transition defense was poor; sometimes we didn't get back. And then we missed free throws, and that hurt our momentum.”
Parker fell to 2-14 in the Big Eight and 5-15 overall heading into a WIAA Division 1 tournament seeding meeting today. Verona improved to 8-9 and 11-10.
The teams traded blows in the first half.
The Vikings built up an eight-point lead midway through the second quarter, but Verona stormed back and had a three-point edge at halftime.
“I think we were successful when we were very patient on offense and ran it through,” Masterson said. “We kind of got away from that in the second quarter, and then for whatever reason we couldn't finish around the basket.”
Parker held Verona to just seven third-quarter points to regain the lead, and Cullen Osmond's tip-in for an old-fashioned three-point play had the Vikings up by two with 6:53 remaining.
But it was all Verona for the next three minutes.
For the most part, the Vikings got decent looks on offense during that spell, but their shots would not fall. And those struggles were compounded when the Wildcats turned the missed buckets into transition layups or trips to the free-throw line.
They made 26 of 32 free throws and Will Kellerman scored eight of his 15 points during that fourth-quarter run.
“They were lights-out from the line and did what they had to do to win, and that was the difference,” Masterson said. “It's disappointing, because we really wanted this game, and the kids played hard. But there were just too many breakdowns.”
Just five Verona players scored, but four were in double digits, including Cole Schmitz who had 17.
Osmond hit four 3-pointers and led the Vikings with 15 points, while J.J. Scott added 14. Parker went just 11-for-23 from the stripe.
The Vikings close out their regular season by hosting Madison West on Tuesday and playing at Sun Prairie on Saturday.
VERONA 66, PARKER 59
Verona (66)—Schmitz, 4-5-17; Flora, 1-4-7; Tackett, 4-4-13; Toman, 4-6-14; Kellerman, 4-6-15. Totals: 17-26-66.
Parker (59)—Scott, 4-5-14; Thompson, 3-2-9; Treinen, 3-0-6; Cu. Osmond, 5-1-15; Shepler, 2-0-5; Empereur, 1-0-2; Co. Osmond, 2-0-5; Brooks, 0-3-3. Totals: 20-11-59.
Verona 11 23 7 24—66
Janesville Parker 13 18 11 17—59
Three-point goals—Verona 6 (Schmitz 4, Tackett, Kellerman), Craig 8 (Scott, Thompson, Cu. Osmond 4, Shepler, Co. Osmond). Free throws missed—Verona 6, Parker 12. Total fouls—Verona 22, Parker 26. Fouled out—Tackett, Kellerman, Treinen.