Boys basketball team wins first two

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Tyree Eady and Middleton's boys basketball team won their first two games of the season./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Start fast. Finish strong.

Middleton’s boys basketball team did both last week and won its first two games of the season.

The Cardinals opened the year with an 82-73 road win at Janesville Parker last Thursday. Middleton followed that with an impressive 79-65 win over visiting Verona last Saturday.

Junior forward Tyree Eady scored a game-high 25 points in Middleton’s win over Parker. Junior guard Storm Murphy added 24 points and six rebounds, while junior guard C.J. Fermanich added 12 points.

Junior forward Myron Ashford added seven points, while junior Daydrian Spears added six points.

“(Parker) had two games under their belts,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said of the Vikings. “They are big, physical and athletic with a prolific shooting guard. Any time you travel on a weeknight to Janesville or Beloit and come away with a Big Eight Conference victory you are pleased.”

Middleton used 13 players in the first half and grabbed a 41-35 lead at the break.

“It's a feeling out process, and we have players out who will come back and likely absorb some minutes,” Bavery said. “Guys have to understand that whether they get one minute or 16 minutes or anything in between, they really have to embrace that role with a team-first mentality.

“Minutes will ebb and flow throughout the season and we need those warriors willing to go in and run their tail off and be sound if we want to maximize our potential.”

Middleton took control of the game with a 14-0 run early in the second half.

“We definitely have the ability to have bursts and flurries where we create with our defensive pressure and have the skill to convert inside and outside,” Bavery said. “With that said, I thought there were several times we were going to put the game away only go give up four- or five-point swings where we should have finished on one end and then allowed a run out or open three-pointer on the other end. Parker definitely hung around.”

But Middleton put the game away from the foul line, where it shot 23-of-33 (69.7%). Murphy led the way going 8-for-8.

“We definitely were missing a lot of the details needed on both ends of the court,” Bavery said. “But the energy is there and it's good to have a lot to fix and still come out with the victory.”

The Cardinals followed that with an impressive win over Verona.

Middleton trailed, 39-35, at halftime. But the Cardinals scored the first 14 points of the second half and outscored the Wildcats, 44-26, after intermission.

Verona had averaged 99.5 points per game while starting 2-0. So Bavery and the Cardinals were extremely pleased with their second half performance.

“To go on a 44-26 second half (run) against a team that was averaging 99.5 points per game had a lot to do with our depth and players willing to take short one-to-two minute shifts and embrace those roles,” Bavery said. “We will likely get some consistent scoring out of certain players with others that can get into double figures from game to game as well. But it will be different guys on different nights.

“If our guys understand that some night they might play eight-to-10 minutes and not score, but are still really contributing, and other nights they might play more and score more and that it doesn't matter either way, then we have a chance to have a pretty nice team before it's all over.”

Eady again led the way with 24 points, while Fermanich added 17. Sophomore Brogan Brunker and Murphy both chipped in with 12.

“We're on that fine line of having high energy on our press and in our fast break vs. being reckless and overzealous,” Bavery said. “We need to keep up the abandon and the pace, but we need to play with our feet better, so we don't allow so many splits in our traps. We need stop reaching and bailing our opponent out with fouls when we get them in a tough situation.

“Chesting up in the post without reaching, closing out with high hands to take away the shot, but playing the drive, squeezing traps, communicating on both ends of the court, 'shattering the glass' when we go to the offensive board, and so on. Lots of areas to improve on. But it's a nice problem to have a lot of things to fix and still be able to come out with a victory against a quality opponent.”

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