Girls basketball team set for sectionals

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Makenzie Hodson and Middleton’s girls basketball team face Janesville Craig in the sectional semifinals Thursday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

For nearly a year now, the goal has been earning a trip back to Green Bay.

Since Middleton’s girls basketball team dropped a 50-49 heartbreaker to Bay Port in the WIAA Division 1 state finals last March, the Cardinals have been focused on returning to state.

Middleton will take aim at that this week when it heads to the Beloit Memorial Sectional.

The top-seeded Cardinals face fourth-seeded Janesville Craig in a sectional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. at Beloit Memorial High School.

If the Cardinals win there, they’ll meet either second-seeded Madison Memorial or third-seeded Waunakee in the sectional finals. That game is currently scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m. at Beloit Memorial.

“It’s always fun at this time of the year,” said Middleton coach Jeff Kind, whose team is ranked No. 1 in the state. “You get that next week and that’s always a fun week.”

Middleton has eight seniors on its roster and seven among its top eight players. That group is hoping to end their careers in style.

“It’s definitely a lot more personal for us as seniors, and we’re so senior heavy,” senior guard Evie Coleman said. “This could be it and none of us want that.”

Middleton has rolled past Craig in both meetings this season.

The Cardinals won at Craig, 73-54, on Jan. 3. Middleton then rolled past the visiting Cougars, 60-40, on Feb. 14.

In the first meeting, University of Loyola recruit Sitori Tanin led all scorers with 19 points. And after the Cougars opened the game in a 2-3 zone, Middleton shot them out of it with seven three-pointers.

Craig began the second game in a 2-3 zone again, but senior guard Josie Lemirande drilled three first half three-pointers and scored 11 of her 13 points. Senior post Karina Bursac and Tanin also played a magnificent high-low game that carved up the Cougars’ zone.

“We’ve been playing together for so long, we know each other’s favorite moves, where each other is going to cut and where the other one will be,” Bursac said that night. “So, it's just easier to know where they’re going to be.”

Added Tanin: “I think we match up pretty good against (Craig). They don't have as much height.”

If Middleton topples Craig, a third game with No. 2 Madison Memorial likely awaits. Both the Cardinals and Spartans are 23-1 and have handed each other their only loss of the year.

Memorial defeated Middleton, 67-51, on Dec. 13. Since then, the Cardinals have won 18 games in a row, including a 77-68 win over the Spartans on Jan. 31.

In that game, Tanin had 17 points and 21 rebounds and Middleton finished the game on a 13-4 run to prevail.

“They’re mostly seniors, so I would expect that out of them.” Kind said of his team that night. “They’ve been there before. They’ve been in atmospheres like this before. It was awesome.”

This week could be awesome for Middleton, as well.

The Cardinals have been waiting for 12 months for a chance to return to state. Now, that opportunity is here.

“It’s really exciting,” Tanin said. “Getting back to state is what we’ve wanted all year and now we have a chance to go and do it. It’s going to be a fun week.”



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