Middleton tops Parker in 2 OTs

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Dennis Semrau/Special to the Times-Tribune
Alexis Thomas and Middleton's girls basketball team defeated Janesville Parker in double overtime Tuesday night./File photo

Middleton senior post player Cole Jordee was forced to watch the closing minutes of the Cardinals’ thrilling season- and Big Eight Conference-opening girls basketball game from the bench on Tuesday night.

Jordee picked up her fifth foul in the final minute of regulation, and like fellow starter Grace Douglas who had fouled out earlier in the fourth quarter, had to flip the switch from participant to cheerleader.

However, that just made the Cardinals’ heart-stopping 85-80 victory in double overtime over Janesville Parker that much more exciting for Jordee and her teammates.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking. I wanted to be out there at the end,” said Jordee, who finished with six points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. “But I had to stay positive and cheer them on and be encouraging.”

The defending conference champion Cardinals took a 53-50 lead into the fourth quarter and neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way until the final seconds, when Middleton iced the victory at the free-throw line.

“Both teams made a lot of mistakes, it being our first games. But I told them in the locker room, just keep playing hard,” said a relieved Middleton coach Jeff Kind, who broke into a wide grin. “Enough good things happened and we never gave up.”

Alyssa Lemirande scored 14 of her team-high 21 points in the extra sessions and her sister, Bria Lemirande, added 15 points, including two free throws in the final seconds. That made it a memorable evening for the family of triplets, which includes sister Carlee, who is on Middleton’s JV team.

“It was a little stressful, but it was exciting and we found a way to win” Alyssa Lemirande said. “We just tried to keep the pressure on.”

Bria Lemirande, who scored six points in the fourth quarter to provide a late spark and help send the game to overtime, agreed.

“This was a very big win. It’s a great way to start the season,” said Bria Lemirande, who finished 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. “Our team just kept on believing the whole time. We never gave up.”

Janesville Parker coach Tom Klawitter was concerned before the game that the Vikings were opening the season and conference play on the home court of the defending conference champion without the benefit of a non-conference game.

However, Klawitter said it didn’t take long for both teams to provide the intensity of a conference championship matchup.

“The girls played well. We played hard, we played better than I thought we would,” Klawitter said of the Vikings’ season debut. “But then once you get that opportunity to win, boy, it hurts to lose in overtime.”

Parker senior Paige Smith finished with a game-high 36 points and scored at will except from the free-throw line where she converted just one of her first nine attempts before finishing 10-of-20.

“With her, it came down to teamwork and the ability to play help defense,” Bria Lemirande said. “We all knew she was the one to stop. We had to communicate a lot.”

Bria Lemirande’s layup tied the game at 66 with 48 seconds left in regulation and neither team could convert several scoring opportunities in the final seconds of the period to force overtime.

Smith then sank four consecutive free throws in the first overtime to give Parker a 74-72 lead. But Alyssa Lemirande split the Parker defense and sank a driving layup with a minute left to forge a 74-74 tie.

“She just took control and took it to the basket,” Kind said.

Bree Porter, who finished with 18 points, had a chance to give the Vikings the lead when she was fouled with 2.9 seconds left, but was unable to convert either attempt, which forced a second overtime.

That provided more motivation for the Cardinals, who didn’t want to waste their good fortune.

“When she missed those free throws, we decided to come out and be strong and win the game,” Bria Lemirande said.

Porter sank a layup and Kaitlyn Foster converted the second of two free throw attempts to give Parker a 77-74 lead in the opening minute of the second overtime.

After Alexis Thomas made the second of two free throws, Porter countered with another layup to extend the Vikings’ lead to 79-75.

But Alyssa Lemirande drained a three-pointer and added a beautiful layup off a spin move with 2:11 left to play to give Middleton the lead for good at 80-79. Bria Lemirande then drained two free throws with 9.8 seconds left to ice the game.

Senior guard Elizabeth Norregaard finished with 16 points, including three 3-pointers, while Thomas added 15 points for the Cardinals, who displayed their depth early and often.

“I knew we could do it. I gave them both big hugs after the game it was so awesome. They’re both really good players,” Jordee said of the Lemirande sisters. “We have a lot of people who can get the job done. That’s a lot of fun.”

Nov. 25

Middleton 85, Janesville Parker 80 (2 OT)

Janesville Parker ……………. 13  20  17  16  8  6 — 80

Middleton ……………………… 14  21  18  13  8  11 — 85

JANESVILLE PARKER — Porter 18, Smith 36, Foster 1, Ka. Dubanovich 16, McCulloch 9. Totals 26 23-39 80.

MIDDLETON — Norregaard 16, A. Lemirande 21, Hibner 3, Douglas 6, Thomas 15, Bergum 3, Jordee 6, B. Lemirande 15. Totals 27 22-34 85.

Three-point goals – JP 5 (Smith 2, Ka. Dubanovich 2, McCulloch), M 9 (Norregaard 3, A. Lemirande 2, B. Lemirande, Thomas, Hibner, Bergum). Total fouls – JP 26, M 30. Fouled out – Douglas, Jordee, Ka. Dubanovich.



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