Girls basketball team wins twice

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MTT News Desk's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Natalie Staples and Middleton’s girls basketball team bounced back last week from a season-opening loss. Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

What a difference a week makes.

Middleton’s girls basketball team, which struggled immensely in its season-opening loss to Kimberly, rebounded in a big way last week.

First, the Cardinals rolled past visiting Madison Memorial, 58-45, last Tuesday. Middleton followed that up with a 77-53 pasting of host Beloit Memorial last Friday.

Middleton improved to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big Eight Conference.

“We played at a much better pace the last two games,” said Cardinals coach Jeff Kind, whose team scored just 17 points in its season-opener. “I think we’re starting to realize how hard we have to play to compete. We have a long way to go, but we’re making progress.” 

Middleton got 14 points from junior center Anna Bunyan and 12 from sophomore forward Cole Jordee in its win over Madison Memorial. Senior guard Natalie Staples added eight points, while senior guard Leah Wolff and sophomore forward Jenna Blair both had six.

The Cardinals raced to a 20-10 lead after the first quarter, before Madison Memorial began picking away. Middleton’s lead was trimmed to 32-26 by halftime and was 45-39 heading to the fourth.

But the Cardinals came up big in the fourth quarter, played terrific defense and pulled away.

“Defensively, we’re forcing the pace a little better, but we still have to learn positioning on the press and how to recover without giving up an easy basket,” Kind said. “It will take some time before everyone is on the same page defensively.”

Middleton was never in any danger against Beloit Memorial. Staples led all scorers with 20 points, Blair added 15, and both senior guard Shannon McCauley and Jordee scored 12.

Middleton raced to a 22-10 lead after the first quarter and extended that advantage to 44-28 by halftime. Beloit closed within 57-46 after three quarters, but Middleton outscored the Purple Knights, 20-7, in the fourth.

“On offense we are seeing improvement as well,” Kind said. “A little better passing, a little more aggressive on drives, a little quicker with our shots, a little better going to the boards. All those factors help contribute to scoring more points.”

• On deck: Middleton, which has won at least a share of six straight Big Eight Conference titles, hosts perennial power Janesville Parker Thursday at 7:30 p.m. 

The Vikings are the consensus favorite this season. But of course, the path goes through Middleton.

“Parker will be a big challenge, because they will be very sound both offensively and defensively,” Kind said. “We have still struggled to keep teams off the offensive glass and taking care of the ball. Parker is the type of team that makes you pay for those weaknesses. We’ll see if we’ve made significant progress.  

• From the infirmary: Middleton junior forward Liz McMahon, a second-team preseason all-state player, has missed the first three games of the year with a broken finger. McMahon was scheduled to visit a doctor Tuesday with hopes of being cleared.

“We’re hoping for good news,” Kind said.

 

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