Boys basketball team set for big week

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Jack Smith battles for a loose ball during the Cardinals’ win at Madison La Follette last Friday./Photo courtesy of Mary Bavery

Middleton’s boys basketball team took care of business last Friday.

Now, the Cardinals must do the same this week to fulfill their dreams of a Big Eight Conference championship.

Middleton rolled past Madison La Follette, 80-58, and snapped its two-game losing streak. The Cardinals now face a week that will likely decide the eventual Big Eight Conference champion.

Middleton, which is tied for the Big Eight lead at 11-2 and sits at 15-2 overall, heads to third place Sun Prairie (13-4, 10-3) Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Middleton is then at Big Eight co-leader Madison Memorial (11-2, 12-4) Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“Clearly a pivotal week ahead, but we’ll try to win at practice and take it day by day from there,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “It's really the only mentality you can have. Sun Prairie and Madison Memorial are both playing very well.”

The Cardinals won their first 14 games of the season before losing two straight. But Middleton hopes it got its groove back against the Lancers (0-13, 2-15).

Junior forward Tyree Eady led the way with 27 points and four steals, while junior point guard Storm Murphy added 19 points and three steals.

Junior guard C.J. Fermanich had 17 points, seven rebounds, five steals and four assists. Sophomore forward Brogan Brunker added three blocks and four rebounds, while juniors Jack Smith and Myron Ashford both had five rebounds.

Middleton built a 43-33 halftime lead and gradually pulled away throughout the second half.

“It was good to get back on track,” Bavery said. “La Follette has great quickness and scoring ability from the guard spot and some crazy athletic leapers on their front line.

“I really can't believe they haven’t won a few games since they got a few key players back that didn't play against us in the first round. So I was very pleased with our effort.”

Middleton had eight players score against the Lancers, as Bavery substituted more liberally than he had in recent games.

“Against La Follette, we trusted our rotations, even when the game was tight early,” Bavery said. “We've found that we have to find key rest for our main scorers and handlers, and believe that over the course of an entire game we will get bursts from a number of potential lineups.

“Sometimes, it’s from our backcourt, sometimes from our wings and frontline players, and sometimes it comes from defensive scrappers who we like to call our ‘rabbits,’ who can wreak havoc with their energy. Against the Lancers, we got a little bit of all that, and when that happens it's a beautiful thing to be a part of.”

Middleton will need to bring its ‘A’ game on the road this week, as well.

Middleton defeated Sun Prairie, 69-61, on Dec. 17. Eady had 20 points that night and Fermanich added 19.

Middleton then defeated Madison Memorial two nights later, 71-63, behind 26 points from Murphy.

The Spartans have won or shared 10 straight Big Eight Conference titles. And if Middleton hopes to snap Memorial’s string of dominance, it must be at its best this week.

“We’re likely to see different defenses out of Memorial,” Bavery said. “We tried shrinking our rotations a bit against both Verona when the game got tight as well as against East, and it didn't turn out well.

“As hard as we play and extend, we need our depth, so we all have to trust it heading into each game. We are still a long ways from playing our best game and are still the ‘wolves climbing the hill.’ This week we have a chance to eat twice. The food is there if we want it.” 

 

Feb. 5

Middleton 80, Madison La Follette 58

Middleton ....................... 43 37 — 80

Madison La Follette ......... 33 25 — 58

MIDDLETON — Bacon 1 0-2 2, Eady 10 6-7 27, Fermanich 7 1-1 17, Markel 2 0-2 4, Murphy 5 7-8 19, Ripp 3-4 3, Smith 1 0-0 2, Thomas 3 0-2 6. Totals 29 17-26 80.

MADISON LA FOLLETTE — Berg 3 1-2 7, Hannah 4 1-2 10, Miller 7 3-5 19, Turner 7 2-2 16, West 3 0-0 6. Totals 24 7-11 58.

3-point goals — MID 5 (Eady 1, Fermanich 2, Murphy 2), ML 3 (Hannah 1, Miller 2). Total fouls — MID 16, ML 22.

 

 

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