Middleton's boys BB team earns No. 2 seed

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Kevin Bavery and Middleton's boys basketball team earned the No. 2 seed in their sectional./File photo

Middleton boys basketball coach Kevin Bavery was on a local radio show last week when the host said he thought the Cardinals should be the No. 3 seed in the WIAA Division 1 Sun Prairie Sectional.

Bavery quickly quipped that he was glad the radio host wouldn’t be at Sunday’s seeding meeting.

Instead, Bavery brought enough firepower to the meeting and Middleton emerged as the sectional’s No. 2 seed. The Cardinals will open the postseason by hosting 15th-seeded Kenosha Bradford in a regional semifinal March 4.

Sun Prairie earned the No. 1 seed, followed by Middleton, Madison Memorial, Muskego, Madison East, Oconomowoc, Madison West, Janesville Craig, Verona, Watertown, Badger, Kenosha Tremper, Beloit Memorial, Kenosha Indian Trail, Kenosha Bradford, Janesville Parker and Madison La Follette.

Middleton and Sun Prairie share the Big Eight Conference lead with 14-3 records. Middleton is also 18-3 overall, while Sun Prairie is 17-4, although Sun Prairie defeated Middleton on Feb. 11.

“We felt we were the No. 1 seed,” Bavery said. “But it’s hard to argue when Sun Prairie has the same conference record and beat us in our most recent meeting.”

The 17 coaches in attendance ranked the schools from No. 1 through 16. Coaches could not vote for themselves.

Sun Prairie finished with nine first and seven second place votes. Middleton had seven firsts, eight seconds and one third place vote.

Oconomowoc head coach Kurt Melton voted Sun Prairie as the No. 1 seed, with Muskego and Middleton as his No. 2 and 3 teams.

“Oconomowoc was the only school of the 17 not to give us a No. 1 or a No. 2, and the majority of the Big Eight schools also gave us a No. 1,” Bavery said. “So it was schools outside of our conference who didn't show us much respect.”

Middleton began the year 14-0, but lost three of four games between late January and mid-February. The Cardinals’ losses came to Verona, Madison East and Sun Prairie.

“Had we beaten Verona or East or Sun Prairie we’re the clear No. 1 with no arguments from anyone,” Bavery said. “So it’s always on us.”

The regional finals are March 5, and if the seeds hold, Middleton would host seventh-seeded Madison West. The Cardinals edged the Regents, 71-70, on Feb. 16.

The sectionals semifinals are March 10 and the sectional finals are March 12. If seeds hold there, Middleton would meet third-seeded Madison Memorial in the sectional semis and top-seeded Sun Prairie in the sectional finals.

Middleton is trying to reach the state tournament for the first time since 1998.

“We really like our position, plus it’s nice to play someone from outside of the Big Eight for a change,” Bavery said of his first round matchup. “We have to focus this week on getting better each practice … and not focus on the tournament until the following week.”

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