Janesville Parker basketball hopes on the rise
Parker won only six games in Masterson’s first two seasons, but rattled off nine wins last year.
The Vikings opened this season with an impressive nonconference win over Delavan-Darien, but open up Big Eight Conference play Thursday night against defending Division 1 state champion Madison Memorial.
“That’s certainly a good measuring stick,” Masterson said of opening conference play against the Spartans. “It gives you an opportunity to see where you’re at as a team at this point of the season.
“In years past, I’ve thought we’ve gone in there and been intimidated. That’s the one thing I’ve stressed to the team this week, is to go in there, play hard and play physical. We’ve got the athletes to compete with them.”
Andrew Somerville heads the list of returnees for the Vikings. The 6-foot senior point guard has been a three-year starter for Masterson and All-Big Eight honorable mention a year ago. Somerville had 20 points and 10 rebounds in Parker’s opener.
“Andrew’s a quiet leader, but a great leader,” Masterson said. “The best thing about Andrew’s game is that he values the ball and does a great job of setting up our offense. I would suspect that he would have a very good year for us.”
Senior Erik Albeck, an all-state first-team football selection, is the other returning starter. The 6-3 guard/forward is one of the most explosive players in the Big Eight.
“I’ve seen a real maturity in Erik this year, and I think a lot of that has to do with all the success he had on the football field,” Masterson said. “He’s by far the most athletic kid I’ve ever been around.”
Senior Decker Thompson will join Somerville in the backcourt, while 6-9 senior center Charlie Grafft provides an inside presence in the post.
“Decker’s a strong kid that’s not going to get pushed off the ball,” Masterson said. “Charlie got a little taller from last season, and slimmed down, as well. He does a lot of things well, but is most effective for us when he stays inside and stays in the post.”
Tanner Smith, a 6-3 junior forward, will get the other starting nod. Senior Shawn Bohler, along with sophomores Adam Thompson and Mitch Treinen will be the first players off the bench. Senior Evan Thompson is also expected to provide bench depth.
Although the Vikings are athletic and have good size, Masterson is worried about a couple of areas.
“We’re inexperienced on the front line, and we’re not super deep,” Masterson said. “And we can’t continue to turn the ball over as much as we did against Delavan, even though we won the game.
“But the goal when I came here was to try and compete year in and year out. And we’re getting to that point.”
(7:30 p.m. starting time unless indicated)
DECEMBER: 1—At Madison Memorial; 2—Middleton; 6—DeForest; 9—At Beloit Memorial; 10—At Madison East; 15—Madison West; 17—At Verona.
JANUARY: 3—Lake Geneva Badger; 6—Sun Prairie; 12—At Janesville Craig; 14—Madison La Follette; 20—Madison Memorial; 21—At Middleton; 24—At Milton; 26—Beloit Memorial; 28—Madison East.
FEBRUARY: 3—At Madison West; 9—Verona; 11—At Sun Prairie; 17—Janesville Craig; 23—At Madison La Follette.