Girls basketball team wins sixth straight

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Gregg Hammill/For the Times-Tribune
Tavi Tanin and Middleton’s girls basketball team have won six straight games./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

With stellar play on both ends of the court, Sitori Tannin provided just the spark Middleton’s girls basketball team needed.

Down by one point late, the sophomore scored on back-to-back possessions, then blocked a shot to help the Cardinals regain control and rally for an impressive 52-45 Big Eight Conference victory over rival Madison Memorial last Friday night.

“When it’s getting intense, I’ve got to go out there do my thing and get stuff done for the team,” said Tannin, who also blocked another Memorial shot down the stretch. “When we were down by one, it was like, ‘I’ve just got to get out there and get us some baskets and get us back up again.’

“I always try to step up my defense and my offense when it gets down (toward the end), but I’m trying to keep that throughout the whole game. I know, when coach needs me, I’m going to go in there do my thing.”

With its sixth consecutive victory, Middleton gained sole possession of third place in the conference with a 7-3 league mark and improved to 9-5 overall. Memorial dropped to 6-4 and 7-7.

“With a lot of them we’re basically gutting them out and coming up with wins, but we make it so hard on ourselves,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “We’ve got to learn to take care of the ball and do the little things to make the games a little bit easier.”

Indeed, the Cardinals didn’t make it easy on themselves committing 20 turnovers and missing their first 12 free throws while shooting just 3-for-16 overall at the line. Senior Haley Dunn connected on the team’s first free throw with just 19.8 seconds remaining in the game.

“They’re not going to stop playing, and with our ball security issues, we can let a team back into the game real quickly if we’re not taking care of it,” Kind said. “We missed a few nice, easy shots and I think we started out 0-for-13 on free throws so you put all those things together and you let a team back into the game.”

Still, the victory was a positive step for a young team that features six sophomores on its roster, five of which saw significant action against the Spartans.

“We’ve taken huge steps and it’s getting a lot better and I’m excited for the rest of the season,” sophomore Karina Bursac said.

“It feels good to get these wins and get some more confidence back,” added Tannin.

After a slow start, the Cardinals went on a 16-2 run and led 28-15 at halftime. Bursac and junior Hannah Flottmeyer both had four points during the surge, while senior Tavi Tannin and sophomore Josie Lemirande had three-pointers Sitori Tannin added a basket.

Middleton extended its lead to 15 after a putback by Flottmeyer to start the second half, but the Cardinals hit a dry spell. Memorial eventually knotted the game, 37-37, on a free throw by Daiysha Brown and then took a 39-37 lead on a layup by Brown.

“They started pressing on the ball, so I think that was really hard and we just couldn’t get the ball in the basket,” Bursac said. “We started shooting a little bit more which opened things up, but it was still pretty hard.”

Tannin said the Cardinals struggled on defense in the second half.

“Our defense really wasn’t doing so well,” Tannin said. “We let them have a lot of threes and drive on us. We were playing our 1-3-1 and we were just not playing as hard as we were in the first half.”

Middleton’s Megan Schwartz drilled a three-pointer to put the Cardinals back in front, 40-39, with six minutes remaining in the game.

“(Schwartz) hit a big three-pointer for us,” Kind said. “She played a nice game for us. She got some nice assists in a game where they’re playing man-to-man and trying to press a little bit that kind of fits into her style of play a little bit.”

After Memorial’s Maya White-Eagle answered with a bank-shot to make it 41-40 at the 4:45 mark, Sitori Tannin went to work. Tannin converted a pair of layups off feeds from Schwartz and Bursac to put Middleton ahead, 44-41, then blocked a shot by Memorial’s Liliana Garcia.

After a timeout, Dunn drilled a three-pointer, sophomore Evie Coleman converted a layup and, after another blocked shot by Tannin, Dunn made two free throws to put the game away.

“Sitori did a nice job because she had some huge blocks and rebounds underneath,” Kind said. “She was dominant at the end of the game.”

After connecting on just 1-of-7 shots from three-point range in the first half, Memorial made 4-of-8 three-pointers in the second half.

“We weren’t getting up on our 1-3-1 quick enough and we let them get some open looks and we let them get the ball into the high post a little bit too easily,” Kind said. “When that happens then they can kick those out and it’s hard to cover for the three. We switched to a little bit more of straight man-to-man.”

Bursac led the Cardinals with 10 points, all coming in the first half, and added nine rebounds. Dunn and Flottmeyer added eight points apiece.

“I definitely went in aggressive,” said Bursac. “I know they play man-to-man and we’re used to playing against a 2-3, so I just saw some gaps to go in.”

Middleton senior Charlotte Dunn missed the game with shin injury and will likely be out several weeks, according to Kind.


January 12

Middleton 52, Madison Memorial 45

Middleton.…………………………..28  24 – 52

Madison Memorial……..….15  30 - 45

MIDDLETON – Christina Schauer 1-2 0-2 2, Claire Staples 1-4 0-0 3, Tavi Tanin 1-3 0-0 3, Karina Bursac 5-10 0-0 10, Haley Dunn 2-3 3-5 8, Evie Coleman 1-8 0-0 2, Megan Schwartz 2-4 0-4 5, Josie Lemirande 2-3 0-0 5, Sitori Tanin 3-9 0-2 6, Hannah Flottmeyer 4-9 0-3 8. Totals 22-55 3-16 52.

MADISON MEMORIAL – Leilani Kapinus 3-8 0-0 7, Daiysha Brown 3-10 1-2 8, Emmoni Rankins 5-11 0-1 10, Maya White-Eagle 2-6 0-2 5, Cynthia Rosales 1-5 2-2 4, Garcia 0-5 1-2 1, Brooke Peters 4-10 0-0 10. Totals 18-55 4-9 45.

3-point goals – M 5 (Lemirande, Dunn, Staples, T. Tanin, Schwartz), MM 5 (Peters 2, Kapinus, Brown, White-Eagle). Total fouls – M 10, MM 15. Fouled out – White-Eagle.



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