Boys basketball team moves to 12-0

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton boys basketball coach Kevin Bavery and his Cardinals are off to a 12-0 start./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

The I-90 trip is often littered with road blocks and potholes. And it almost always contains two gifted opponents.

This year was no different. But Middleton’s boys basketball team is better equipped than any time in recent memory to handle such trouble.

Middleton traveled to Beloit Memorial last Thursday and Janesville Craig last Saturday and dismantled both Big Eight Conference foes.

The Cardinals rolled past the Purple Knights, 81-72, then toppled Craig, 73-63. Middleton improved to 12-0 overall and 9-0 in the Big Eight Conference.

Both Madison Memorial and Sun Prairie are two games behind Middleton at the midway point of the conference season.

“Any time you make the back-to-back trips to Beloit and Craig it’s a difficult turn around,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “I thought our guys learned some things in a competitive game Thursday and applied them on Saturday. Craig was our best overall effort to date.”

Beloit Memorial raced to leads of 4-0 and 9-4. But Middleton used a 17-3 run to grab a 21-12 lead.

The Purple Knights answered back, though, with a 10-0 burst of their own and took a 22-21 lead. But that was Beloit Memorial’s last lead of the night.

Middleton led, 40-33, at halftime. But the Purple Knights opened the second half with a 10-4 run and closed within 44-43.

But Middleton went on a 19-4 burst to grab a 63-47 lead. From there, Beloit Memorial never came closer than six.

Junior forward Tyree Eady had 14 of his game-high 26 points in the first half. Junior point guard Storm Murphy added 17 points and five assists and sophomore forward Brogan Brunker scored 17 points.

“It was our 11th game, but it looked like our first,” Bavery said. “When we trust our actions, expend energy, and find bodies on blockouts we’re a tough out. When we don’t, we become very average quickly.

“You can’t ever play this game on reputation, and if a team is in middle of the pack in the standings, they will always come after that target on your back and you better be ready. There is a not a team in the Big Eight this season who isn’t capable of beating anyone on a given night. We still have a long ways to go … but our ball handling and free throw ability was clutch down the stretch when we needed it to finally put the game away.”

Middleton followed that with an impressive win over Janesville Craig.

Murphy had a game-high 23 points, four rebounds and three assists. Murphy also hit six of Middleton’s 12 three-pointers.

Eady added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists, while junior point guard C.J. Fermanich had 16 points and three assists.

“There's a good reason they’re undefeated,” Craig coach Mike Miller said of Middleton. “All their guys play extremely hard. I thought we played OK. We just ran into a real good team that shot the ball.”

Craig scored the first five points of the game. But Middleton answered with a 17-7 run and never trailed again.

Murphy had 12 of his points in the first half as Middleton built a 36-23 halftime lead. The Cardinals extended their lead to 73-56 before coasting home.

The Cougars have one of the state’s biggest frontlines, with a 6-foot-11 center and a 6-foot-9 forward. But the Cardinals handled that size and actually outrebounded Craig, 27-18.

“There are a lot of ways to win as well as a lot of ways you have to be able to win,” Bavery said. “We’ve shown an ability at the halfway point in conference play to be able to play smaller, quicker teams, teams with a special scorer or two, teams with size, as well as teams with balance.

“Comparative scores mean very little, so to be able to go in with your basic rotations game in and game out, and be able to adapt says a lot about the ability and depth of our team at this point.”

 

Jan. 16

Middleton 73, Janesville Craig 63

Janesville Craig ………. 23 40 — 63

Middleton ………………. 36 37 — 73

Middleton — Murphy 8-1-23; Eady 7-2-17; Markel 1-0-2; Fermanich 6-3-16; Brunker 2-0-5; Thomas 1-0-3; Spears 1-0-3; Raffel 1-0-3; Ashford Jr. 0-1-1. Totals: 27-7-73.

Craig — Payton 5-7-18; Lynch 0-3-3; Negus 6-4-18; Anhold 2-2-6; Jensen 2-1-5; Cramer 1-0-2; Gestrich 1-2-4; Brault 2-0-6; Badertscher 0-1-1. Totals: 19-20-63.

Three-point goals — Middleton 12 (Murphy 6, Brunker, Spears, Raffel, Fermanich, Eady), Craig 5 (Negus 2, Brault 2, Payton). Total fouls—Middleton 21, Craig 16.

 

 

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