Middleton falls to Beloit in OT

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton coach Kevin Bavery was not happy with the Cardinals' effort in an overtime loss to Beloit Memorial last Friday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Kevin Bavery calls them “jersey tuggers.”

They are the players they work so hard and give such terrific effort that they eventually pull on their jerseys to get a quick break.

Right now, Bavery doesn’t believe his Middleton boys basketball team has enough of those.

“We need a lot more jersey tuggers than we have,” Bavery said. “If we’re going to go anywhere in the next three weeks, we need to work a lot harder.”

Bavery was irate following Middleton’s 67-66 overtime loss to Beloit Memorial last Friday. Purple Knights senior Jequan Pegeese drilled three-pointer from the elbow at the buzzer for the win.

Middleton, which entered the game with a mathematical chance to tie for the Big Eight Conference title, fell to 16-5 overall and 12-5 in the league. That left the Cardinals two games behind conference co-leaders Sun Prairie and Madison Memorial, who are both 18-3, 14-3.

Beloit Memorial, which defeated Middleton for a second time this year, improved to 14-7, 11-6.

“This is our biggest win of the year,” Beloit Memorial coach Jay Bryant said afterwards.

Despite the loss, Middleton wound up with the No. 3 seed in its WIAA Division 1 Sectional. The Cardinals will host 14th-seeded Kenosha Bradford in a regional semifinal March 3 at 7 p.m. If Middleton wins there, it would host either sixth-seeded Janesville Craig or 11th-seeded Oconomowoc in a regional final on March 4 at 7 p.m.

The sectional semifinals are March 9 and the sectional finals are March 11.

As expected, Sun Prairie and Madison Memorial landed the top two spots in the sectional. Middleton was third, followed by Muskego, Beloit Memorial, Janesville Craig, Mukwonago, Madison East, Watertown, Kenosha Indian Trail, Oconomowoc, Verona, Madison West, Kenosha Bradford, Madison La Follette, Kenosha Tremper, Badger and Janesville Parker.

“It didn’t cost us the No. 3 seed,” Bavery said of losing to Beloit Memorial. “But they’ve got us twice now and it’s really all about effort.”

Bavery listed a handful of things the Cardinals didn’t do well against the Purple Knights.

It began with blocking out and included defending ball screens better and running hard in defensive transition.

Middleton had done all of the above with aplomb in a 30-point win over two-time defending state champion Stevens Point just three days earlier. Against the Purple Knights, though, the Cardinals were lacking in all three areas.

“Maybe we were a little overconfident,” Bavery said. “As much as we want to complicate this game, it still comes down to, ‘Are you willing to play hard?’

“The tape doesn’t lie and it was pretty telling for us. Are you willing to get in a stance and compete? How are you going to handle ball screens? Are you going to run hard in defensive transition?

“We didn’t do any of those things. They went and got it harder than we did.”

Despite the lackluster performance, Middleton held a 31-26 halftime lead. Beloit Memorial chipped away though and held a 56-54 lead, before Cardinals senior wing Tyree Eady drilled two late free throws to force overtime.

Eady hit two more free throws with 20 seconds left in overtime to give Middleton a 66-64 lead. But Pegeese, who led the Purple Knights with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, saved his biggest shot for last.

Senior guard Storm Murphy led the Cardinals with 26 points and four assists. Eady added 23 points, two assists and two steals.

The Cardinals were outrebounded, 39-35, and gave up 14 offensive rebounds. That helped Beloit finish with a 17-7 advantage in second chance points.

“This one’s on them,” Bavery said of his team. “They didn’t compete.

“We’re good enough to go to the Kohl Center (for the state tournament). But if we play like that, we can also go out in the first or second round.

“I like our chances, but we’ve got to compete a lot harder than we did. The seniors are going to find out that when it ends, it hurts. It hurts a lot. So hopefully they can play for quite a while yet.”


Beloit Memorial 26 30 — 67

Middleton 31 25 — 66

BELOIT MEMORIAL — Betancourt 1 0-0 8, Brown 5 3-3 13, Farr 4 0-0 8, Freitag 0 0-0 6, Johnson 4 0-2 8, McClendon 4 0-0 8, Pegeese 1 2-2 16. Totals 19 5-7 67.

MIDDLETON — Ashford 1 1-2 3, Brunker 0 0-2 3, Eady 6 8-9 23, Fermanich 1 1-2 3, Jackson 1 1-1 6, Murphy 6 5-7 26, Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 16-23 66.

3-point goals — BM 8 (Betancourt 2, Freitag 2, Pegeese 4), Mi 6 (Brunker 1, Eady 1, Jackson 1, Murphy 3). Total fouls — BM 17, Mi 14.


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