Middleton one win from title

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Storm Murphy and Middleton's boys basketball team are one win away from their first Big Eight Conference title in 15 years./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

The long drought is almost over. And for Middleton’s boys basketball team, the end can’t come soon enough.

Middleton routed Beloit Memorial, 66-43, last Friday. The Cardinals are now just one win away from clinching at least a share of the Big Eight Conference title for the first time since the 2000-’01 season.

The Cardinals improved to 18-3 overall and 14-3 in the league. Middleton shares the top spot of the conference with Sun Prairie (17-4, 14-3). Beloit fell to 6-11, 8-13.

Junior forward Tyree Eady led the Cardinals with 15 points, while junior guard C.J. Fermanich recorded a ‘double-double’ with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Sophomore forward Brogan Brunker added eight points, seven rebounds and three steals, while senior guard Kevin Ripp and junior Jack Smith chipped in with six points each. Junior guard Storm Murphy added five assists and three steals.

It was Middleton’s annual ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ awareness and fundraiser night, and the Cardinals started fast. Six different Middleton players combined for seven first half three-pointers as the Cardinals raced to a 40-26 lead at the break.

Eady led Middleton with eight first half points and two three-pointers. Fermanich added seven points, while Brunker had six.

“Any time you can share the ball and spread the scoring around it’s a good sign,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “Regardless of who scores the ball, player movement is key in any offense.

“When we pound it too much we get stagnant. It’s been a process from day one, and when we get into actions and then let it come back around, we are so much better. Hopefully it continues.”

Middleton’s second half defense was terrific, as it allowed Beloit just 17 points. The Cardinals also forced 23 turnovers and committed just 12 of their own.

“We did give up way too many offensive boards, especially in the first half,” Bavery said. “It’s something we continue to harp on and work on daily. Guys are getting used to the rebound ‘bubble’ we put over the basket, and have to assume every shot is going to be missed and find a body to block out.

“When we allow penetration and have to rotate to stop the ball, we become more vulnerable to deep offensive rebounds. So defensive rebounding usually starts with containing the ball, making the individual task of blocking out much easier. We have to square up on the ball better if we want to finish out the regular season the way we want and to have a quality run at tournament time.”

• On deck: Middleton hosts Janesville Craig Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in its final regular season game. The Cardinals then host Kenosha Bradford in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal on March 4 at 7 p.m.


Feb. 19

Middleton 66, Beloit Memorial 43

Beloit Memorial ……………… 26 17 — 43

Middleton …………………… 40 26 — 66

BELOIT MEMORIAL — Betancourt 1 0-0 3, Farr 1-4 1, Freitag 2 0-0 5, Johnson 3 0-0 6, Long 6 0-0 14, McClendon 1 3-3 5, Patton 2 0-0 4, Pegeese 1 3-5 5. Totals 16 7-16 43.

MIDDLETON — Ashford 1 0-0 3, Bacon 1 2-2 4, Brunker 2 3-4 8, Eady 6 1-2 15, Fermanich 3 3-4 10, Murphy 1 2-2 4, Ripp 2 0-0 6, Sigmon 1 0-0 2, Smith 3 0-0 6, Spears 1 0-0 3, Thomas 2 0-0 5. Totals 23 11-15 66.

3-point goals — MID 9 (Ashford 1, Brunker 1, Eady 2, Fermanich 1, Ripp 2, Spears 1, Thomas 1), BM 4 (Betancourt 1, Freitag 1, Long 2). Total fouls — MID 17, BM 14.


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