Middleton boys get back on track

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MTT News's picture
Adam Hatlan/For the Times-Tribune
Davis Roquet and Middleton's boys basketball team notched a pair of big wins last week./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Janesville Craig encountered a Storm last Saturday night. In the process, Middleton’s boys basketball finally notched a win in a close game.

Middleton rallied in the second half and notched a 73-69 win over the Cougars. The Cardinals rallied from an 11-point first half deficit and a seven-point hole in the second half to prevail.

Middleton improved to 12-4 overall and 9-4 in the Big Eight Conference, two games behind league-leading Madison Memorial. Craig slipped to 10-5, 9-4.

The Cardinals got 23 points from senior guard Storm Murphy and 22 from senior forward Tyree Eady. Craig’s Adam Anhold led the Cougars with 23 points.

“It’s easy for people from the outside looking in to say ‘they should be better than that. They might be overrated,’ ” said Middleton head coach Kevin Bavery. “Our four losses (this season) combined for twelve points. We’re a handful of possessions away from being 15-0.

“One of our big themes is ‘don’t listen to any of the (outside) noise, just focus on what we’re doing.’ You like to be in (close games). At some point you need a (close game) where you win one.”

The second half featured six ties and lead changes, all happening within the final seven minutes. But Middleton was able to pull off the win.

Cardinals guard Storm Murphy made some huge shots in the second half, including a game-tying three-pointer with under six minutes to things, 52-52. Murphy also delivered a three-pointer from the corner with 1:41 remaining to put Middleton ahead for good at 66-63.

“Right before (the go-ahead shot), I told Tyree (Eady) ‘Hey, come my way. I’m drifting to the corner, I’m wide open,’” Murphy said of the late-game heroics. “And he listened to me. He drove right to my side, passed it in rhythm, and (I) knocked it down, just like in practice.”

Bavery loved what he saw from his senior point guard.

“I thought Storm had his best game of the year by far,” Bavery said. “He was disciplined in making the calls and feeding the post.”

Murphy shot 8-of-15 from the field, made 5-of-10 three pointers and added four assists and three rebounds. Eady shot 6-of-10 from the floor, had seven rebounds and four assists.

Anhold shot 7-of-9 from the field for Craig, while adding six rebounds and three assists. San’ Trell Payton added 17 points for Craig. 

Middleton had a rough first half and dug an early 11-point hole. But the Cardinals closed within 33-29 by the break.

Middleton shot 11-of-30 (36.6%) from the field in the first half and 5-of-17 (29.4%) from behind the arc. Craig was impressive in the first half, shooting 14-of-23 (60.8%) from the field and 5-of-9 (55.6%) from three-point range. 

“We changed our defense about halfway through the first half from a double to a single press,” Bavery said. “Our rotations were late and their guards are pretty good at beating traps or finding open people. We went to a safer single press and were a little more sound out of that.”

The second half was a different story for both teams as Middleton mounted its comeback.

The Cardinals shot 12-of-21 (57.1%) from the field and 6-12 (50%) from three-point land in the second half. Meanwhile, Craig struggled and shot 11-of-26 from the floor (42.3%) and 2-of-9 (22.2%) from beyond the arc.

The second half theatrics began at the 6:20 mark when Eady drew a shooting foul and sank two free throws to tie the game at 49.

A three-pointer by Craig’s Jake Negus gave the Cougars a 52-49 advantage, which led to Murphy’s game-tying three on Middleton’s next trip down the court.

Middleton trailed, 59-56, with 4:30 left when C.J. Fermanich’s three-point shot tied the game.

The teams traded two-point baskets, then Murphy hit a game-changing three-pointer and Middleton grabbed a 66-63 lead.

Anhold converted an and-1 to pull Craig within 69-68 with 30 seconds left. Murphy was fouled on the inbounds, and calmly sank two free throws to make it 71-68 with 27.9 seconds on the clock.

“I walked to the line and I honestly didn’t even know that the game was so close,” Murphy said. “I was ready to knock them down like they were just normal free throws. Knock them down and take the game home.”

Craig looked to tie it with a three, but Middleton’s defense clamped down and forced Jake Negus to miss a three-point attempt. Eady grabbed the rebound but stepped out of bounds, giving Craig another chance.

Middleton fouled on the inbound, sending Payton to the line. Payton sunk the first to make it 71-69, but intentionally missed the second. Middleton’s Jack Smith got the miss and passed to Fermanich, who was fouled and drained both free throws with 0.9 seconds to go.

“(Craig) is a quality opponent,” Bavery said. “Physical toughness and mental toughness can help us, and I think it helped us tonight.”

“Probably our best win of the year even though it was so close,” Murphy said. “Craig is a really good team. We knew they were going to come in here and try to beat us. It shows we can play with anyone and we can command the Big Eight.”

• Middleton 71, Madison West 47 — Eady scored 22 points and Murphy added 17 as the Cardinals routed the visiting Regents last Thursday.

• On deck: Middleton travels to Verona on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Cardinals are then off until Feb. 9 when they travel to Janesville Parker.


Jan. 28

Janesville Craig ……...…. 33 36 — 69

Middleton ……………… 29  44 — 73

Middleton — Murphy 8  2-2  23, Eady 6  8-10  22, Fermanich 2  2-2  7, Bunker 2  4-4  9, Jackson  2 0-0  5, Ashford, Jr  2  0-1  5, Roden  1  0-0  2  Totals: 23  16-19  73

Craig — Anhold 7  8-8  23, Payton  6  2-2  17, Negus  4  0-0  9,  Lynch  3  0-2  8,  Blomgren  2  2-2  6,  Ngobi  2  0-0  4, McCann  1  0-0  2  Totals: 25  12-14  69

3-point goals- Middleton  11 (Murphy 5, Eady 2, Ashford, Jr 1, Bunker 1, Fermanich 1, Jackson 1); Craig 7 (Payton 3, Lynch 2, Negus 1, Anhold 1)

Total fouls: M 17, JC 14


Madison West 28 19 — 47

Middleton 32 39 — 71

MADISON WEST — Armwald 1 0-0 2, Bradt 4 0-0 8, Carey 3 2-4 9, Manke 0 0-1 0, Miller 1 1-5 3, Parker 7 0-1 18, Shanklin 4 0-2 9. Totals 20 3-13 47.

MIDDLETON — Ashford 1 3-4 6, Brunker 2 0-0 4, Eady 8 4-5 22, Fermanich 3 0-0 7, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Murphy 6 4-4 17, Ragsdale 1 0-0 3, Roden 2 1-2 5, Roquet 1 1-2 5. Totals 25 13-17 71.

3-point goals — MID 7 (Ashford 1, Eady 2, Fermanich 1, Murphy 1, Ragsdale 1, Roquet 1), MW 6 (Carey 1, Parker 4, Shanklin 1).Total fouls — MID 16, MW 19. Fouled out — Carey.


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