Girls basketball team tops East

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Bria Lemirande drives to the basket during the Cardinals’ win over Madison East last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

If there’s such a thing as the dog days of winter, Middleton’s girls basketball team is in the middle of them.

The Cardinals are in the midst of a 20-day stretch in which they won’t play a team with a winning record. And for three consecutive weeks, Middleton has just one game per week.

January doldrums? You bet.

But the Cardinals played well enough — for long enough — to post a 79-68 win over visiting Madison East last Saturday.

Middleton, ranked No. 2 in the latest poll, improved to 13-2 overall. The Cardinals also moved to 11-0 in the Big Eight Conference and maintained a ½-game lead over Verona atop the league.

“For the most part, I thought we played pretty well,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “We just have to learn how to finish. We’re not doing that right now.”

Middleton led by as many as 21 with 3 minutes left in the game. But East finished the game on a 12-2 run to make the final score more respectable.

“They did the same thing to us over there,” Kind said, referring to the Cardinals’ 64-51 win over Dec. 4. “They hit us with a big run like that late in the game. That’s just not how we want to close out games.”

Junior forward Alexis Thomas and junior guard Bria Lemirande both scored 16 points to lead Middleton. Sophomore forward Claire Staples added 12 points.

East, a young and improving team that plays a bevy of sophomores, got a game-high 17 points from sophomore forward Erin Howard.

East hung around early and trailed just 19-18 with 7:15 left in the first half. But Middleton used a 12-3 run over a stretch of 4:35 to take a 31-21 lead.

Bria Lemirande had four points in the burst, while senior center Samantha Ballweg, junior forward Carlee Lemirande, freshman forward Hannah Flottmeyer and Thomas all scored as well.

That run helped Middleton build a 37-28 halftime lead.

“They’ve got a good team and they play really hard,” Kind said of the Purgolders. “We really had to get after it.”

The Cardinals certainly got after it at the start of the second half, ripping off a 12-4 run over the first four minutes to take a 49-32 lead.

Bria Lemirande and Flottmeyer both had four points during the surge, while junior forward Taylor McDonald and Staples both scored two points.

The lead fluctuated between 13 and 21 points over the next nine minutes before the Purgolders’ late run. While Kind understands it’s human nature to let your guard down at times, that doesn't mean he likes it.

“It’s just one of those things where we have to keep finding things to get better at,” he said. “We need to keep working to get better, because we have to be a lot better the next time we play the teams in our league.

“The second time through the conference is always a lot tougher and we’re finding that out. So we can’t relax or it could hurt us down the road.”

• On deck: The Cardinals host Madison La Follette Friday at 7:30. Middleton then travels to Sun Prairie Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m.


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