Middleton girls down Verona

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Carlee Lemirande and Middleton's girls basketball team defeated Verona, 65-57, last Thursday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

VERONA — No words were necessary.

There wasn’t a pre-game speech or a lengthy pep talk.

Middleton senior leaders Bria Lemirande, Alyssa Lemirande, Alexis Thomas and Carlee Lemirande are fully cognizant that their careers are quickly coming to a close. And this quartet wants nothing more than to exit in style.

Last Thursday, this fearsome foursome combined for 55 points and powered Middleton’s girls basketball team to a 65-57 win over host Verona in a Big Eight Conference showdown. The Cardinals, who also defeated Janesville Parker two days later, are 16-2 overall and tied with Sun Prairie for first place in the league at 13-2.

Verona (12-6, 11-3) and Madison East (14-4, 12-3) are one game back in the loss column.

“It kind of goes unsaid,” Bria Lemirande said of what was needed from Middleton’s senior leaders. “But the whole team together just really wants it. We were like, ‘Guys we really need this win.’ Everybody was really on the same page before that win.”

Middleton’s Fab Four certainly led the way on this night, though.

Alyssa Lemirande made 6-of-7 fields goals, knocked down both of her three-pointers and finished with a team-high 16 points. Bria Lemirande shot 5-of-7 from the floor, had a team-high eight rebounds, added three steals and finished with 15 points.

Thomas had 10 of her 13 points in the second half and made a pair of huge three pointers. And Carlee Lemirande had 11 points and helped hold Verona standout Alex Leuhring — a UW-Green Bay recruit — to a season-low nine points.

“We’ve been playing together for so long and we have that special connection that we know when we need to go, we can go,” Alyssa Lemirande said of the seniors. “And I’m really proud of all of them. It’s a really special thing when you’ve played together that long and become good friends.”

The first half was a rock fight and Middleton led, 25-15, at the break. The Cardinals held the Wildcats to just 5-of-18 (27.8%) shooting and forced 13 turnovers in the first 18 minutes.

Middleton’s lead was 12-11 with 5 minutes left in the half when the Cardinals went on a 10-0 run to grab control.

Bria Lemirande started the fun with a lay-up, was fouled and drilled the free throw. After a Katrina Anderson free throw, both Halle White and Alyssa Lemirande knocked down three-pointers to push the Cardinals’ lead to 22-11.

“That run definitely changed the momentum,” Alyssa Lemirande said. “Everyone was just way more hyped and way more pumped. We kind of said, ‘This is how we need to play if we’re going to get that conference title or anything else.’ ”

Middleton shot 8-of-20 in the first half (40.0%) and was 3-of-7 on three-point attempts (42.9%). Alyssa Lemirande led the Cardinals with seven points, while both Bria Lemirande and Carlee Lemirande added five points.

“The last couple of games I could just feel like it wasn’t our team,” said Bria Lemirande, whose team had dropped two of three games before defeating Verona. “It wasn’t us. And tonight it felt like we were back in the swing of things. It felt really nice.

“I feel like the past few games, we didn’t have the energy we need. But tonight I thought we had energy on defense, which got us going on offense and that helped us a ton.”

Middleton opened the second half on a 15-3 run to grab a 40-18 lead — its largest of the night — with 11:45 left.

The Cardinals scored on their first three possessions of the half and seven of 11. Meanwhile, Verona shot just 1-of-5 and had five turnovers in that stretch.

Bria Lemirande had eight of Middleton’s points in that run, while Alyssa Lemirande had four.

“We just needed to want it more and have energy on the floor and on the bench,” Alyssa Lemirande said. “And we kind of brought it. We knew we had to step up our game if we want to win anything.”

Middleton coach Jeff Kind agreed.

“We shot the ball better (Thursday),” Kind said. “We did a pretty good job with that. Now we just have to be a little bit smarter not letting a team get momentum on us when we get a lead.”

Verona certainly got some momentum, using an 8-0 run to pull within 50-39 with 5:46 left. But Carlee Lemirande and Thomas both drilled huge three-pointers as Middleton extended its lead back to 56-42.

The Wildcats pulled within 58-50 with 1:38 remaining. But in the final 1:11, Carlee Lemirande, Alyssa Lemirande and Thomas combined to shoot 7-of-8 from the line.

Middleton shot a whopping 13-of-20 from the field in the second half (65.0%) and 21-of-40 for the game (52.5%).

Meanwhile, Verona shot 40.5% (17-of-42) on the night and Carlee Lemirande and her pals limited Leuhring to just seven shots.

“That was really good coming from Carlee,” Bria Lemirande said. “For her to step up and be really strong like that against a player as good as Alex (Leuhring) was big for us.”

The win was certainly big for the Cardinals, as it kept them on track to win the Big Eight Conference for a second straight year and the third time in four seasons.

“There’s going to be some tough games coming,” Kind said. “But it makes you tested.”

Bria Lemirande agreed.

“We definitely have to stay focused,” Bria Lemirande said. “We still have a lot of winning to do here if we want to meet our potential. Hopefully we can keep getting better from this.”


Feb. 2

Middleton 65, Verona 57

Middleton ………………. 25 40 — 65

Verona …………………… 15 42 — 57

MIDDLETON — A. Lemirande 6 2-3 16, Anderson 0 1-3 1, B. Lemirande 5 3-4 15, Bursac 0 1-2 1, C. Lemirande 3 3-4 11, Tanin 0 1-2 1, Thomas 4 3-3 13, White 3 0-1 7. Totals 21 14-22 65.

VERONA — Bainbridge 7 4-4 21, James 1 2-4 4, Luehring 4 0-0 9, Mitchell 3 6-8 14, Schraufnagel 2 5-5 9. Totals 17 17-21 57.

3-point goals — M 9 (A. Lemirande 2, B. Lemirande 2, C. Lemirande 2, Thomas 2, White 1), V 6 (Bainbridge 3, Luehring 1, Mitchell 2). Total fouls — M 17, V 21.



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