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Parker snaps Middleton’s 26-game Big Eight winning streak

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JOHN N. BARRY
December 8, 2011
— The streak is over.

Middleton High School’s girls basketball team came into Wednesday night’s Big Eight clash against Janesville Parker with a 26-game conference-winning streak.


The Vikings said enough of that.


Julia Dement scored 17 points, and Ashley Hartwig added 16 as Parker pulled away in overtime for a 67-62 victory.


Despite 29 turnovers and 12 missed free throws, Parker found a way thanks to seven three-point baskets, including a crucial three from Jackie Shepler in overtime.


“A very rough game, but I think that’s more an indication of how hard both teams played,” an exhausted Parker coach Tom Klawitter said afterward. “Neither team had much flow offensively, but fortunately, we made a couple of shots when we had to.”


No shot was bigger for Parker (3-0, 2-0) than Shepler’s high floater from beyond the arc that gave the Vikings the lead for good at 60-59 with 2:17 left in OT. Hartwig made four straight free throws to push the lead to five with a minute left, but the fourth-ranked and three-time defending conference champion Cardinals wouldn’t go away.


Mika Passini, who led all scorers with 18, made it 64-60 with 50 seconds left. Freshman Morgan McCulloch’s free throw with 27 seconds left pushed the lead back to five, but Leah Wolff answered with a runner in the lane to make it a one-possession game with 17 seconds left. McCulloch sealed the deal with two free throws with 14 seconds left.


“Our free-throw shooting wasn’t the greatest, but we made a couple of big ones when we had to,” Klawitter said.


“Shepler’s shot was big, too. But she’s capable of doing that off the bench for us.”


The Vikings raced to 7-point lead after one quarter thanks to Dement and junior Dani Fugate. They combined for four three-pointers in the first and each had eight points.


Middleton (1-1, 1-1) never let Parker get away. The Cardinals hung tough and eventually took the lead for the first time early in the fourth. Neither team led by more than four in the fourth, but Parker saw a 56-52 lead with 1:27 left disappear as Middleton scored the last four points of regulation. Middleton played for the last shot in regulation but could only manage an off-balance jumper by Kirsten Gunderson that bounced off the rim.


Parker, which received votes in the Division 1 state ratings, has now knocked off two top-five teams this season. The Vikings host second-ranked Milwaukee Vincent on Tuesday night.


“It’s too early in the season to worry about where we’re at now or how good we might be,” Klawitter said. “We’ve got to get ready for Saturday night (Beloit Memorial), and realize we still have a lot of things to work on.”


One thing Parker doesn’t have to work on is finding a way to beat Middleton. The Vikings worked overtime to figure that out.


PARKER 67, MIDDLETON 62 (OT)

Middleton (62)—Passini, 7-2-18; Gunderson, 2-5-9; Staples, 2-4-8; McCauley, 2-2-7; McMahon, 4-1-9; Wolff, 1-0-2; Bunyan, 3-3-9. Totals: 21-17-62.


Parker (67)—Schumacher, 2-1-5; Fugate, 5-2-14; Dement, 6-2-17; Hartwig, 4-8-16; McCulloch, 0-4-4; Chesebro, 2-0-4; McDonald, 1-0-3; Shepler, 1-0-3; Thompson, 0-1-1. Totals: 21-18-67.


Middleton 11 15 16 14 6—62


Parker 18 10 15 13 11—67


Three-point goals—Middleton 3 (Passini 2, McCauley), Parker 7 (Dement 3, Fugate 2, McDonald, Shepler). Free throws missed—Middleton 12, Parker 12. Total fouls—Middleton 28, Parker 22. Fouled out—Passini, Gunderson, Staples.


Sophomores—Middleton 46, Parker 42 (OT).




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