Girls basketball team will look much different

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Tavi Tanin will be one of the key returnees for Middleton’s girls basketball team next season./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

It was a special senior class, a special team.

And that’s what made the end so hard.

Middleton’s girls basketball team saw its season end with a 49-47 overtime loss to DePere in the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals last Friday. And with it, the careers of seniors Bria Lemirande, Alyssa Lemirande, Carlee Lemirande, Alexis Thomas and Katrina Anderson came to a close.

That group played a large role in Middleton reaching the state tournament two of the past three years. And in the four years the quintet was in the program, the Cardinals won three Big Eight Conference titles and went 86-17 overall (.835).

This season, Middleton went 23-4 overall and shared the Big Eight Conference title with Sun Prairie at 16-2.

“It was a special class,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “Beyond the obvious statistical contributions, they were a joy to coach. They had a passion for the game and really enjoyed playing and competing. 

“The whole group of seniors had great attitudes, were great teammates and developed into strong leaders. They left their mark on the program winning three conference championships and making two state tournament appearances.

“It will obviously be tough to replace their scoring and defense, but hopefully their legacy will live on through the example they set for the players who played with them the past few years.”

Each and every senior made immense contributions to the program. But replacing point guard Bria Lemirande — a four-year starter — could prove extremely challenging.

Bria Lemirande finished as Middleton’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,223 points. She also collected more that 500 career rebounds, had more than 350 career assists and 250 career steals.

“Each of our five seniors contributed a great deal to the program in their own way and it was a great privilege to be able to watch them grow as players and people over the years,” Kind said. “I was honored to coach them during their varsity careers.

“I am usually pretty reserved about singling out individual accomplishments, but Bria's career warrants some special consideration. An amazing career!”

Middleton will have a lot of holes to plug next year. As always, though, there will be a surplus of candidates ready to step forward.

Junior center Halle White has been on varsity each of her first three years in the program and was fourth in scoring (5.8) and tied for second in rebounding (3.5) this year. Next season, White will undoubtedly be asked to shoulder more of the load.

Junior forward Claire Staples (5.3 ppg) came off the bench this year, but would have started on most teams. Sophomore post Hannah Flottmeyer (4.3 ppg, 3.5 ppg) and sophomore guard/forward Charlotte Dunn (4.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg) could both emerge as big-time players.

Junior guard Tavi Tanin (3.3 ppg) had flashes of excellence this year, while freshman forward Karina Bursac has immense potential.

Conference co-champ Sun Prairie and Madison East — led by Auburn recruit Erin Howard — will be the likely preseason favorites next year. Verona, Janesville Parker and Janesville Craig also figure to be formidable.

Middleton won’t have a gigantic target on its back like this year. But Kind believes his team could surprise.

“As far as us dropping off, we'll be coming into the season with fewer established positions than any year in the past five,” Kind said. “I think our style of play this past year will help with that because a lot of players did get significant minutes this year, so the cupboard’s not bare. 

“There should be some great competition to fill the roles of the departed seniors. I'm looking forward to seeing which of these younger players will work hardest and develop the most over the offseason to earn those minutes that we lost. The conference should be really tough again next year, so it will be a great challenge to remain in the mix.”

 

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