Middleton rebounds, tops Arrowhead

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Tyree Eady eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in his Middleton career during the Cardinals' win over Hartland Arrowhead last Saturday./Photo courtesy of Mary Bavery

MILWAUKEE — C.J. Fermanich was part of just three regular season losses over the last two years as a Middleton football player.

Each time, though, Fermanich had to wait seven days before getting a chance at redemption.

“Yeah, that’s a long time,” Fermanich said.

Basketball season provides an opportunity to get back on the horse much faster. And that’s just what Fermanich and his Middleton teammates did last weekend.

The Cardinals suffered an 85-81 loss to Big Eight Conference foe Beloit Memorial last Friday. Just 24 hours later, though, the Cardinals erased some of that disappointment with an impressive 85-78 win over Hartland Arrowhead at the Al McGuire Center on the Marquette campus.

Middleton improved to 9-2 overall and is now tied for first place in the league with Madison Memorial at 6-2. Arrowhead, one of the more physically talented teams Middleton will see this year, fell to 7-4.

“It’s better to play back-to-back I think because you don't have that feeling of losing a game sitting with you all week,” Fermanich said. “Yes, we lost (Friday) night, but we came here ready and focused and got the win.”

Middleton did exactly that.

The Cardinals built an early 14-point lead, held off a late charge by the extremely gifted Warhawks, and notched one of their more impressive wins of the season.

Senior forward Tyree Eady didn't start the game as punishment for receiving a technical foul the previous night in Beloit. But Eady led the Cardinals with 22 points and eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier in his Middleton career.

Eady pushed his MHS total to 1,016 points, which is the most since Kevin Bavery took over as coach in 2006.

Senior point guard Storm Murphy added 16 points, while senior forward Ben Jackson knocked down 3 three-pointers and had 16 points. Fermanich was also huge, scoring 14 points and limiting Arrowhead leading scorer Trevell Cunningham to 12 points — eight under his average.

“C.J. just has that football toughness,” said Middleton assistant coach Tim Simon, who doubles as the Cardinals’ football coach in the fall. “That’s what I love about the guy. He doesn’t care if he scores points or not. He just wants to win.”

Middleton used an early run — and some clutch plays late — to make sure winning was in the cards.

The Cardinals used an early 13-2 burst to grab a 20-10 lead and establish control of the game. Murphy hit a pair of three-pointers in the run and Fermanich scored five points.

Arrowhead crept within 35-31 late in the first half. But Eady drove for a basket, then stuck a three-pointer to give Middleton a 40-31 halftime lead.

“They’re such a tough matchup,” Bavery said of Arrowhead. “They pretty much returned everybody and so did we. So it was a great test.”

Middleton’s lead was 49-42 early in the second half when Jackson went on one of the more unexpected tears of the Cardinals’ season.

Jackson entered the night with 20 total points on the season. But in a matter of just 1 minute, 51 seconds, Jackson erupted for 11 points and the Cardinals’ lead grew to 60-48.

First, Jackson hit a mid-range jumper, then he drilled a three-pointer 30 seconds later. Jackson drained another three-ball 16 seconds after that and hit another three-pointer less than a minute later.

When Bavery sent in a substitute for Jackson, the boisterous crowd groaned in disapproval.

“He’s one of our better shooters,” Bavery said of Jackson. “But he had never done anything like that in a game. It was pretty neat.”

Arrowhead wouldn’t go away, though, and pulled within four points twice in the final four minutes. But each and every time, Middleton had an answer.

When the Warhawks clawed within 75-71 with 3:45 left, Eady had a huge basket and Middleton pushed its lead back to eight. And when Arrowhead came within 82-78 with 17 seconds left, Myron Ashford Jr. drilled a pair of big free throws.

“(Friday) night was a big disappointment,” Bavery said of the Beloit loss. “It was a tough trip and an emotional loss. So to come out and play well against a really, really good Arrowhead team is big.”

The Cardinals weren’t nearly as big against the Purple Knights the previous night.

Middleton fell behind by as many as 18 points early and trailed, 51-39, at halftime. The Cardinals came as close as two points in the second half, but never could get over the hump.

Bavery, one of the more mild-mannered coaches in the sport, received the first technical of his 26-year varsity career. And Eady received a technical foul, as well, which led to him not starting the next night.

Murphy led the Cardinals with 30 points, while Eady had 27 and Fermanich added 11.

And while the Beloit loss was tough to stomach, Middleton’s response 24 hours later was an enormous positive.

“To win the Big Eight, you’re going to take blows,” Fermanich said. “But you just have to get up. I think we’ve taken our blows, and hopefully we can start throwing some punches now and really separate ourselves.”

• On deck: Middleton hosts Madison East Thursday at 7:30 p.m., then hosts Madison Memorial Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

 

Jan. 7

Middleton 85, Hartland Arrowhead 78

Middleton ……………………….. 40 45 - 85

Hartland Arrowhead …………. 31 47 - 78

MIDDLETON — Ashford 1 2-4 4, Eady 7 6-7 22, Fermanich 4 3-4 14, Jackson 6 1-2 16, Murphy 4 6-8 16, Roden 2 1-1 5, Roquet 2 0-0 4, Smith 1 2-4 4. Totals 27 21-30 85.

HARTLAND ARROWHEAD — Cunningham 3 6-6 12, Durand 3 1-2 8, Hamilton 7 2-4 16, Seefeld 9 5-6 23, Marko 2 1-2 7, Pulvermacher 2 0-1 4, Given 4 0-0 8. Totals 30 15-20 78.

3-point goals — MID 10 (Eady 2, Fermanich 3, Jackson 3, Murphy 2), 3 (Durand 1, Marko 2). Total fouls — MID 15, 17.

Jan. 6

Beloit Memorial 85, Middleton 81

Middleton ………………………… 39 42 — 81

Beloit Memorial ………………. 51 34 — 85

MIDDLETON — Ashford 2 1-3 5, Eady 9 7-8 27, Fermanich 3 5-6 11, Murphy 7 11-14 30, Roden 3 1-1 7, Smith 1-2 1. Totals 25 26-34 81.

BELOIT MEMORIAL — Betancourt 7 1-1 19, Brown 2 3-4 8, Fair 1 0-0 3, Farr 3-4 3, Freitag 2 5-6 10, Johnson 8 3-4 19, McClendon 2 0-0 4, Pegeese 6 4-4 19. Totals 28 19-23 85.

3-point goals — BM 10 (Betancourt 4, Brown 1, Fair 1, Freitag 1, Pegeese 3), Mi 7 (Eady 2, Murphy 5). Total fouls — BM 24, Mi 24.

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