Boys basketball team knocks off New Berlin West

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Cole Toennies and Middleton’s boys basketball team defeated New Berlin West on Feb. 11./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

NEW BERLIN — Logan Raffel was dog tired.

“I’m definitely tired,” Middleton’s junior guard said. “But I can’t complain. This is a lot of fun.”

Kaden Fosdick was equally fatigued.

“It’s hard getting up the next day, that’s for sure,” said Fosdick, a sophomore forward. “But we’re getting to play basketball and that’s awesome.”

This merry band of travelers — known as Middleton’s boys basketball team — rolled into New Berlin West on Feb. 11 and toppled the host Vikings, 62-52. The Cardinals improved to 4-4 with the win, while West fell to 10-14.

Fosdick led an extremely balanced Middleton attack with 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had four steals. Raffel added all 10 of his points in the first half when Middleton raced to a 34-18 lead.

Sophomore guard Will Comerford had all nine of his points in the first half, while sophomore forward Collin Schremp added nine points and junior guard Nick Meinholz had eight.

This marked the third game in a wild week that saw the Cardinals play five road games and log approximately 1,020 miles round trip.

When Raffel was told a one-way trip to Disney World in Orlando was only about 1,300 miles, he said, “This is better than Disney.”

After Middleton spent months not knowing if it would have any type of season, they all agreed that this whirlwind was as much fun as a ride on Space Mountain.

“It’s a lot — for sure — and we’re all definitely a little worn out,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “But we’re trying to make the most of the opportunity that we were given.

“That obviously means a lot of long trips and late night bus rides. But each time we take the floor and each game we play you see a little more improvement.”

That was definitely the case against West, a team with solid athleticism and respectable size.

But Middleton jumped on the Vikings early, never trailed and held off a second half charge by West.

“I think we have a really good team,” Fosdick said. “We’ve already improved a lot since we started and I think we’re getting better every game. I think we can make a run.”

Raffel agreed.

“A lot of people look past us, but even going back to our time playing youth ball, we’ve done a lot of damage,” he said. “And I think we can do the same thing now. Even though it’s a short season, we’re getting better and improving every game.”

That was evident against West, as Middleton played arguably its best half of the year and raced to a 34-18 lead after the first 18 minutes. Raffel had 10 points in the first half and Comerford added nine.

The Cardinals used 13 players to stay fresh and that strategy seemed to pay dividends.

“Wearing the masks definitely makes a difference and tires us out faster,” Bavery said. “So to have the depth that we do is a real positive.”

Middleton held a 25-14 first half rebounding advantage and held West to 6-of-23 shooting (26.1%).

The Cardinals used an early 6-0 run — highlighted by a traditional three-point play by sophomore forward Gavyn Hurley — to take a 9-3 lead. Middleton hit West with a 7-0 burst — one that included lay-ups by junior guards Cole Toennies and Tanner Ballweg and a traditional three-point play by Schremp — to surge to a 21-9 lead.

Then with the Cardinals ahead 29-18, Comerford buried a three-pointer and Raffel had a nifty, driving lay-up with 2 seconds left in the half to give Middleton a 34-18 advantage at intermission.

“There are times we can look really good,” Bavery said. “And that’s exciting.”

There have also been times, though, the Cardinals have struggled immensely. And the second half featured a few of those.

Middleton pushed its lead to as many as 19 as Fosdick scored the Cardinals’ first seven points of the second half. The Cardinals still led, 50-31, after a nifty spin move by junior guard Matt Zimmerman with 11 minutes left in the game.

That’s when things got interesting.

West answered with a 13-2 run and pulled within 52-44 with 8:36 left and put all of the pressure squarely back on the Cardinals. Vikings guard Nate Jocz had 11 of his game-high 19 points during that run as West scored on five of six possessions to get back into the game.

“We just had to keep calm,” Raffel said. “We had some dumb fouls in that stretch and they got a lot of free throws … and we just had to settle down.”

They did.

First, Meinholz attacked from the left wing and scored, then he drove down the middle for a basket. Fosdick followed with a basket and Middleton’s lead was quickly back to 58-44 with 5:55 remaining.

From there, the Vikings never trimmed their deficit under 10.

Afterwards, the Cardinals had a quick meal in the West cafeteria — because they aren’t allowed to eat on their own bus. Then Middleton’s long, strange trip was back in full swing.

“It’s a lot of basketball in a short amount of time,” Fosdick said. “But there’s nothing I’d rather do.”

 

Feb. 11

MIDDLETON 62, NEW BERLIN WEST 52

Middleton …………….………. 34 28 — 62

New Berlin West …………… 18 34 — 52

MIDDLETON (fg ft-fta pts) — Raffel 4 0-0 10; Zimmerman 2 0-0 4; Fosdick 4 1-2 10; Meinholz 4 0-1 8; Toennies 1 0-0 2; Schremp 3 3-5 9; Ballweg 1 0-0 2; Comerford 3 1-1 9; Hurley 3 1-1 8. Totals 25 6-10 62.

NEW BERLIN WEST — Kelnhofer 2 2-4 6; Daniels 6 0-2 13; Jocz 3 12-16 19; Ruiz 1 2-3 4; Susek 1 2-3 4; Frackowiak 1 0-0 3. Totals 14 18-28 49.

3-point goals: M 6 (Raffel 2, Fosdick 1, Comerford 2, Hurley 1); NBW 3 (Daniels 1, Jocz 1, Franckowiak 1).

 

 

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