Boys basketball team knocked out of first

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton's Cam Maly (left) and Andrew Gardner (right) battle for a loose ball with Madison East's Deang Deang Thursday./Photo courtesy of Mary Bavery

It was 9:30 on Thursday evening.

The lights inside the Madison East gymnasium had already been turned off — then restarted. Aside from a few stragglers, the place was now empty.

One floor below, though, Middleton coach Kevin Bavery was still going strong. Nearly 30 minutes after the host Purgolders had manhandled the Cardinals, 64-48, Bavery was still giving his team an earful.

“He really wasn’t mad,” Middleton senior guard Kellan Schulz said of Bavery. “He tried to put it on a real level with us.

“He said, ‘I don’t know if they’re just flat out better than us,’ and guys were shaking their heads like, ‘No.’

“But we obviously got out-toughed. All the offensive rebounds were absolutely inexcusable. Beating us up the sideline. I mean, there’s things we’re good at. We have the energy, but I think it was effort.”

Whatever it was, it wasn’t pretty.

East outrebounded Middleton, 33-18, seemingly came up with every loose ball, and held a 19-8 advantage in second chance points.

Middleton shot just 14-of-40 from the floor (35.0%), while East hot 26-of-46 (56.5%).

East moved into a tie for first place in the Big Eight Conference with Madison Memorial at 9-3 and improved to 11-5 overall. Middleton slipped to third in the league at 8-3, 11-4.

“Obviously they’re a good team. We knew that coming in,” Bavery said. “But it really was about 50-50 balls. Our guys are looking at the officials for calls … like, ‘He pushed me.’ And I can guarantee you for anybody looking to play at the next level, that’s a complete non-issue. A complete non-issue.

“And when we did get a 50-50 ball, we weren’t strong with them. So maybe we’d turn around and throw a weak pass, maybe we don’t meet a pass. And against a team whose overall quickness and athleticism is better than ours, that’s not going to work.”

East junior guard Deang Deang was a force on both ends. Not only did Deang score 15 points, he added eight rebounds, four steals and locked down whoever he was defending.

“He’s tough,” East coach Matt Miota said of Deang. “He can guard a 5-8 point guard or a 6-4 wing. He’s tough to take off the floor.”

Bavery agreed.

“I like him because he competes with a great motor,” Bavery said of Deang. “He looks like he really enjoys the game in the moment and plays very loose and free.

“He has a ‘next level’ ability and will need to improve some areas, but he’s as complete as anyone in the Big Eight in terms of an all around game. He can take a game over by doing things himself or by drawing enough attention to make someone else better.”

East senior guard De’Shawn Burks and freshman guard Keshawn Justice both scored 15 points.

Middleton sophomore wing Tyree Eady had a team-best 13 points, while Schulz knocked down three three-pointers and added 12 points.

Middleton’s four losses this season have all come against high-level teams. But those defeats have also been by an average of 15.0 points.

Afterwards, Bavery was asked if he was concerned how his team was competing against the top teams.

“Yes!” he said emphatically.

Middleton hung around for the better part of three quarters, before East began to pull away.

The Cardinals trailed, 32-26, at halftime. But Middleton shot just 6-of-20 in the half and probably felt somewhat fortunate to be within six.

The Cardinals couldn’t get anything established in the halfcourt, but used an 11-4 advantage from the free throw line to stay in the game.

Burks led all scorers in the first half with 12 points, while Justice added 10. Middleton used 14 players, and both Eady and sophomore guard Storm Murphy had six points at the break.

East trailed, 7-4, with 4:17 left in the first quarter. But the Purgolders then embarked on an 18-5 run over the next six minutes and took a 22-12 lead.

East’s lead grew to as much as 28-16 midway through the second quarter, when the Cardinals went on an 8-1 run and pulled within 29-24.

Schulz scored the first four points in the burst, then C.J. Fermanich added a pair of free throws and Eady had a rebound basket.

“We talked a little bit about how big the game was and that we could control our own destiny,” Miota said. “And I thought we were OK in the first half, then a lot better in the second half.”

For sure.

Schulz, whose intensity and fire matched his counterparts from East, drilled a three-pointer late in the third quarter to pull the Cardinals within 42-36.

But over the next 3 ½ minutes, East went on an 11-2 burst to grab a 53-38 advantage and blow the game open.

Three times during the run, Middleton seemingly had possession of a loose ball. But the Cardinals either lost control or quickly turned the ball back over, only to see East convert.

“I felt we gave up a lot of four-point swings,” Bavery said. “We’re on our way for two points and it ends up being two the other way. Whether it was a steal and then not finishing and then fouling with them in the bonus, or stealing and then turning it over, or having a great trap only to allow a split and then watch the ball move ahead of our rotations ... all very big.

“All of those plays are mental deflators that are difficult to overcome. You put three or four of those in over the course of a game and it’s 10-12 points.”

Middleton closed within 13 following an Eady basket with 5:26 left. But East quickly ran its lead up to 20, and the Cardinals eventually left with a deflating loss.

“We’ve gotten our butts kicked two games in a row,” said Schulz, whose team also lost by 16 points to Stevens Point on Jan. 24. “We’ve got to prove ourselves again. We need to play with a chip on our shoulder again and get that mentality back.”


Jan. 29

Madison East 64, Middleton 48

Middleton ……………..……. 12 14 12 10 — 48

Madison East …………………….. 18 14 16 16 — 64

MIDDLETON — Schultz 12, Smith 3, Murphy 4, Thomas 2, Maly 3, Bacon 2, Eady 13, Markel 5, Fermanich 2, Collien 2. Totals 14 15-25 48.

MADISON EAST — Jones 2, Irby 7, Deang 15, Justice 15, Millon 6, Burks 15, Chester 2, Tomony 2. Totals 26 8-13 64.

3-point goals — Mi 5 (Schultz 3, Smith 1, Murphy 1), ME 4 (Justice 3, Irby 1). Total fouls — Mi 17, ME 20.



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