MHS stars hope to exit in style

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Storm Murphy (10) and Tyree Eady (in background) hope to lead Middleton's boys basketball team on a postseason run./Times-Tribune photo by Rob Reischel

Middleton’s dynamic duo had just finished their final regular season game as Cardinals in memorable fashion.

In a thrilling 71-67 win over Madison East last Thursday, Tyree Eady and Storm Murphy — Batman and Robin if you will — went bongos.

Murphy, the Cardinals’ brilliant senior point guard, erupted for 30 points, including 19 in the second half. In the process, Murphy eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier for his MHS career and now sits at 1,029.

Eady, a silky smooth senior wing, exploded for 15 of his 24 points after intermission. Eady pushed his career point total to 1,275, which is believed to be the most in school history.

Middleton had never had a pair of 1,000-point scorers at the same time — until last week.

Afterwards, the two Middleton standouts took a minute to reflect on their outstanding nights. Then they quickly turned the page forward.

“We were just in the locker room talking and we were like, ‘That was just incredible,’ ” Eady said. “Storm’s like one of my brothers and we’ve been together pretty much our whole lives.

“He looks at me out there and I’m smiling. I look at him and he’s smiling. We’re just having a good time out there. But now we want the good times to keep going.”

That will be the challenge Middleton’s terrific tandem faces in the days ahead.

Middleton, the No. 3 seed in its sectional, begins the postseason Friday when it hosts 14th-seeded Kenosha Bradford in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. If the Cardinals win there, they’ll host either sixth-seeded Janesville Craig or 11th-seeded Oconomowoc in a regional final Saturday at 7 p.m.

If Middleton advances, No. 2 seed Madison Memorial — which swept two games from the Cardinals during the regular season — looms as the likely opponent in the sectional semifinals on March 9. A battle with top-seeded Sun Prairie could take place in the sectional final on March 11.

Middleton hasn’t been to the state tournament since the memorable 1998 team came within a whisker of hoisting a gold ball. But the Cardinals haven’t had a pair as deadly as Eady and Murphy, and perhaps this is finally the year Middleton ends its drought.

“I think going to the playoffs, I’m not worried about too much,” Murphy said. “If we bring the right attitude every single night, we’ll be good.

“Play as hard as we can. We are very talented, and if we’re coachable, have a good attitude I don’t know who can beat us.”

Eady agreed.

“I feel really good,” Eady said. “We know it’s go time. It’s time to get our run going and we’re just ready to go. We’re ready to go for our last hurrah.”

Middleton has gone an impressive 53-17 over the last three seasons. But in each of the last two years, the Cardinals fell in a regional final.

Murphy and Eady hope to change that in the days ahead. And if any duo seems capable, it’s this pair that has played together since the fourth grade.

Eady, a North Dakota State recruit, was named first-team all-Big Eight Conference for a second straight year earlier this week. Eady leads the Big Eight in scoring at 22.6 points per game, has shot 54.2% from the field this year (168-of-310) and 77.7% from the free throw line (115-of-148).

Eady averages 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Eady has also scored 1,275 career points, which is believed to be the most in school history.

If opponents try going with a smaller, quicker player on the 6-foot-5 Eady, he can punish them inside or simply shoot over them. If foes try going with a bigger defender, Eady’s quickness is typically too much to handle.

“Tyree is a complete scorer,” Bavery said. “He can shoot the three, get to the rim and get to the free throw line.

“Sometimes people say 'natural scorer', but there's no such thing. No one becomes a great scorer without putting in an extraordinary amount of time and effort.”

Eady’s effort in the classroom is just as impressive.

Eady carries a 3.87 grade point average and has had just one ‘B’ in his four years at MHS. In the first semester, a time many seniors begin to coast, Eady did the opposite and posted a 4.0 GPA.

“No slacking off near the end of his high school academic career because he knows it’s important for success at the next level,” Bavery said of Eady.

Murphy’s numbers — on and off the court — are equally impressive.

Murphy, a Wofford College recruit, was also named first-team all-conference for the second straight season. Murphy is averaging 19.9 points per game, which is the third-highest total in the conference, and leads the Cardinals with 4.8 assists per game.

In addition, Murphy is averaging 2.0 steals and 2.9 rebounds per game, has shot 76.7% from the free throw line and 40.6% on three-pointers (58-of-143).

Murphy’s a deadly long-range shooter who can also blow by foes and attack the rim.

“Storm has an amazing skill set and probably has the most passion of any player I've ever had,” Bavery said. “Sometimes that passion gets him in a little trouble on the court so we have to reel it in, but it comes from a place of loving the game and loving to compete.”

Murphy has been a model citizen in the classroom, as well.

Murphy carries a 3.79 grade point average, and like Eady, has never had a grade lower than a ‘B.’

“Both of them don't miss classes and they are engaged when they are in class,” Bavery said. “You can't be a great athlete, a scholarship athlete, without having the academic piece being a high priority.

“They are two incredible kids who are the role models you want younger community members and students to look up to.”

Now, Eady and Murphy want to leave their final imprints on a program they’ve given their blood, sweat and tears, too. And if last week’s game against gritty, gutty Madison East was an indicator of what’s to come, Middleton could be in for a thrilling postseason ride.

Few teams anywhere play as hard as the Purgolders. But Middleton matched that intensity, and with Murphy and Eady leading the way, the Cardinals closed out a 17-5 regular season.

During one point in the second half, Murphy and Eady combined to score 31 consecutive Middleton points. The duo finished with 54 of the Cardinals’ 71 points (76.1%) and showed once again they are capable of taking games over.

“Honestly, if we get the best look on offense, Tyree can score it, I can score it, someone else scores it, it doesn’t matter,” Murphy said. “It doesn’t matter at all. All that matters is we score.

“But that was a lot of fun. We’ve been doing that since fourth grade. And every game we have moments like that and we just cherish them.”

Middleton’s terrific tandem knows time is short now. And they want to make their final moments in a Middleton uniform their best yet.

“We know we’re going to have to play so hard to get where we want to get,” Murphy said. “We are so talented and so deep, all the way around. So if we just play hard, good things will come.”

Added Eady: “This is fun. This has all been really fun. I’m going to miss this. I just hope we’re still going in (two) weeks.”

When it comes to this pair, anything and everything seem possible.

 

Feb. 23

Middleton 71, Madison East 67

Middleton ………...…….. 34 37 — 71

Madison East …….…….. 29 38 — 67

MIDDLETON — Ashford 4 0-0 8, Brunker 1 1-2 3, Eady 9 5-7 24, Fermanich 2 0-0 4, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Murphy 9 6-8 30. Totals 26 12-17 71.

MADISON EAST — A. Washington 3 0-0 6, Cratic 2 0-0 7, D. Washington 0 2-2 2, Dat. Thompson 1 2-2 4, Jones 3 0-0 6, Justice 7 6-7 23, Oby 0 0-0 3, Saffold 2 0-0 4, Wooten 2 5-6 12. Totals 20 15-17 67.

3-point goals — MID 7 (Eady 1, Murphy 6), ME 4 (Cratic 1, Justice 1, Oby 1, Wooten 1). Total fouls — MID 21, ME 19.

 

 

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