December 2016

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Girls hoopsters roll at Franklin

FRANKLIN — Alexis Thomas — and the rest of the seniors on Middleton’s girls basketball team — have enjoyed a great deal of success during their memorable careers.

They have collected two Big Eight Conference titles in three years. There was a trip to the 2015 WIAA Division 1 state tournament. And the Cardinals have won more than 84% of their games since the start of the 2013-’14 campaign.

In that time, though, the Cardinals have lost three straight first round games at the Christine Rathke Memorial Tournament held every holiday break at Franklin High School.

“We’ve always come out sluggish here,” Thomas said. “We wanted to change that.”

Mission accomplished.

Middleton unleashed its sensational full court pressure defense and used it to force 35 Franklin turnovers Tuesday afternoon. That, and an efficient offensive attack, helped the Cardinals rout the host Sabres, 85-56, in the first round of the tournament.

Tue
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Boys basketball team takes Big 8 lead

There’s still a long ways to go.

But Middleton’s boys basketball team has jumped to the front of the Big Eight Conference race.

The Cardinals rolled past host Madison La Follette, 76-44, last Tuesday. Middleton followed that with a 96-29 pasting of visiting Janesville Parker last Thursday.

The Cardinals are now 7-1 overall and lead the Big Eight at 6-1. Janesville Craig, Sun Prairie, Beloit Memorial and Madison Memorial are all one game back at 4-2 in the conference.

Senior forward Tyree Eady led Middleton with 26 points in its win at La Follette. Senior guard Storm Murphy added 14 points, while senior wing Myron Ashford Jr. added eight points.

Junior sparkplug guard Alan Roden added six points on 3-of-3 shooting, and led the Cardinals with eight rebounds and four assists.

Wed
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Middleton KO's Verona

Angie Murphy knows a thing or two about championship teams.

Murphy led Verona to the 2016 WIAA Division 1 girls basketball title in March. And as Murphy left Middleton High School Tuesday evening, she realized her Wildcats might have just faced their eventual successors.

Middleton, ranked fourth in the latest wissports.net poll, dominated the defending champs from start to finish and posted an impressive 58-38 win. The Cardinals improved to 5-0 both overall and in the Big Eight Conference, while eighth-ranked Verona fell to 4-1, 5-2.

“I think they do,” Murphy said when asked if the Cardinals have the look of a championship team. “They have a target on their back and that was us last year.”

There’s no doubt, 2015-’16 was the year of the Wildcats. Verona used its rare blend of size, skill and experience to become the Big Eight’s first state champion since Janesville Parker in 2001. Perhaps the 2016-’17 Cardinals will make it two in a row for the league.

Sun
18
Dec
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Q and A with author (and Middleton Times-Tribune sports editor) Rob Reischel

Q: What made Wayne Larrivee a choice for one of your books? Why do you think he resonates with the Packers fan base?

 

A: Triumph Books, the publisher of the majority of my books, has a nationwide series going right now in which many national play-by-play men are telling their stories. Having Wayne give his thoughts from the booth after nearly 20 years of calling Packers games was a natural fit.

Wayne is the ultimate pros-pro. He does his homework. He’s thorough. He’s smooth. He misses next to nothing. I think Packers fans really appreciate how lucky they are to have him.

 

Q: What sort of access does Wayne have that others may not? Is he treated like a journalist around the team?

 

A: Wayne flies on the team plane and stays in the team hotel. He certainly sees and hears things most others don’t.

Thu
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Dec
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Boys basketball team heating up

Deep. Gifted. Resilient.

If ever there was a time Middleton’s boys basketball team proved they were all of the above, it was last week.

The Cardinals rolled to a pair of impressive Big Eight Conference wins against two teams that frustrated them at times last season.

First, Middleton defeated Madison West, 76-44, last Tuesday avenging a postseason loss to the Regents from last March. Then the Cardinals belted Janesville Craig, 78-56, in a game where point guard Storm Murphy (illness) didn't play.

Middleton improved to 4-1 overall and is 3-1 in the Big Eight Conference. The Cardinals remained tied for second in the league with Sun Prairie, one game behind conference leader Madison Memorial (4-0, 4-0).

Middleton’s win over Madison West was extremely impressive.

The Regents returned a solid core from last year’s team, which reached the sectional finals. But Middleton jumped to a 47-19 halftime lead and cruised to an easy win.

Thu
15
Dec
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Verona topples hockey Cardinals

Middleton and Verona have dominated the Big Eight hockey landscape the past seven years. The Cardinals have won four conference titles in that time and the Wildcats have notched three.

If their first match-up is any indication of how the battle for the top will be this season, hockey fans are in for a real treat.

Verona got the best of Middleton last Friday night, surviving a late rally by the Cardinals to win 4-3 in overtime at the Verona Ice Center.

Middleton provided theatrics in the third period, scoring two goals in the final eight minutes, including the game-tying goal by forward Connor Julius with 2:45 remaining in the game.

It wasn’t enough for the Cardinals, as Verona capped off the win in dramatic fashion, scoring the winning goal just 21 seconds into the bonus period.

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MHS swimmers have high hopes

Danny Lynam has high hopes, big goals.

And by the looks of it, Middleton’s first-year boys swimming and diving coach could see those lofty expectations come to fruition.

The Cardinals went to the 14-team Nicolet Invite last Saturday and finished first among a gifted field. Middleton finished with 450 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Verona-Mount Horeb (246).

“Our win at Nicolet has helped to show the depth we have on the team this year,” Lynam said. “Almost all of the guys placed top-16, with a number of younger guys stepping up to fill some weaknesses we have had in the line-up in the past.”

Middleton had several terrific performances at Nicolet.

The Cardinals won the 400-yard medley relay, the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 500-yard freestyle relay.

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