Girls basketball team fights off Parker

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Abbey Webber and Middleton’s girls basketball team are ranked No. 2 in the state./Photo courtesy of Mary Bavery

In many ways, this was the perfect scenario and the ideal outcome for Middleton’s girls basketball team.

Getting there, though, was anything but easy.

The Cardinals defeated visiting Janesville Parker, 84-74, in overtime last Friday.

Just six weeks earlier, the Cardinals routed the Vikings by 36 in Janesville, and some Middleton players admitted they thought the sequel might be similar to the original.

Instead, the Cardinals learned a valuable lesson about overlooking teams. The good news, though, is it didn’t cost them a game.

“I think we just kind of expected to show up and win the game, especially with how the first game went,” Middleton junior forward Carlee Lemirande said. “But we have to come into games acting like it’s the state championship.”

Middleton junior guard Alyssa Lemirande added: “I think we learned a lot tonight about not taking anybody lightly.”

Middleton improved to 10-0 in the Big Eight Conference, 12-2 overall and remained in first place in the league. Parker fell to 9-5, 5-5.

Middleton trailed by 10 points midway through the second half, but rallied to force overtime. The Cardinals then scored the first nine points of overtime and pulled away.

“They’re such competitors,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said of his team. “There were a lot of times we could have cashed it in. But that’s not something they’d do.”

Cardinals junior guard Alexis Thomas finished with a team-high 18 points, while junior guard Bria Lemirande added 17. Carlee Lemirande knocked down five second half three-pointers on her way to 15 points, while freshman forward Hannah Flottmeyer had 14 points and Alyssa Lemirande added 11.

Parker standout freshman Julia Hartwig had a game-high 22 points and 14 rebounds.

“Every one in the league is getting better,” Alyssa Lemirande said. “And the teams that have already lost to you are more fired up to play you.”

That was evident throughout, as Parker overcame an early 10-point deficit and led the entire second half.

The Vikings held a 66-62 lead, when Flottmeyer and Alyssa Lemirande notched consecutive steals in a 7-second span. Both led to layups by Bria Lemirande, the second one tying the game at 66 with 1:18 left.

Parker immediately countered with a basket from Bree Porter (14 points) with 1:01 remaining. But Thomas had a rebound basket that forced overtime, deadlocked at 68.

“I think that comeback shows how passionate we all are,” Alyssa Lemirande said. “We all really wanted to win.”

That was evident in the overtime.

Middleton had a pair of offensive rebounds on its first possession. Flottmeyer converted the second one to give the Cardinals a 70-68 they wouldn’t relinquish.

Alyssa Lemirande followed with a steal and a lay-up, then Carlee Lemirande drained her fifth three-pointer of the night. Alyssa Lemirande added two free throws with 1:28 remaining to give Middleton a 77-68 lead.

From there, the Vikings never came closer than seven.

“I was so proud. We played a great game,” Parker coach Jennah Hartwig said. “We had them, and we probably should have won in regulation.”

Hartwig may have a point.

Middleton shot just 1-of-15 from three-point land in the first half (6.7%) and led just 26-25 at the break. The Cardinals made 10-of-23 (43.5%) from inside the arc in the first half, but settled for far too many three-pointers.

“We can’t live and die with the three so much,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “Especially because we were doing a nice job getting to the basket and finishing in there.”

Parker used a 9-2 run early in the second half to take a 38-31 lead. And the Vikings eventually extended their lead to 51-41.

“We just didn’t have great energy,” Kind said.

But Carlee Lemirande helped change all of that.

First, she drilled a three-pointer with 8:43 left to trim the Vikings’ lead to 51-44. Claire Staples added a three-pointer just 27 seconds later to pull Middleton within 51-47.

After a Parker basket, Carlee Lemirande knocked down another three-pointer, then Thomas and Bria Lemirande scored in the lane.
When Middleton’s 13-2 run had ended, it held a 54-53 lead.

“Carlee really got us going,” Kind said. “She got really hot there for us. She’s a streaky shooter, but also probably our best shooter.”

Parker answered with a 9-0 run of its own to take a 62-54 lead with 4 minutes left. That forced the Cardinals to play uphill the rest of the way, which it did with aplomb.

Carlee Lemirande and Thomas knocked down three-pointers, and Bria Lemirande drove the baseline for a basket that pulled Middleton within 64-62 with 2:45 left. That helped the Cardinals force overtime, where they played their best basketball of the night and stayed atop the Big Eight Conference.

“All the teams in the league keep getting better, and we need to do the same thing,” Carlee Lemirande said. “This was a big win for us.”

• On deck: Middleton hosts Madison East Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
 

 

Jan. 15

Middleton 84, Janesville Parker 74 (OT)

Janesville Parker ………. 25 43 6 — 74

Middleton ………………. 26 42 16 — 84

Parker — Blaser 1-1-3, Porter 7-0-14, Richards 1-0-2, Foster 4-2-13, Brewster 2-1-5, Graesslin 4-0-11, Nabor 2-0-4, Hartwig 11-0-22. Totals: 31-4-74.

Middleton — A. Lemirande 3-5-11, Hibner 1-0-3, Thomas 7-3-18, McDonald 1-0-2, Anderson 0-1-1, Staples 1-0-3, Flottmeyer 6-2-14, B. Lemirande 7-3-17, C. Lemirande 5-0-15. Totals: 31-14-84.

Three-point goals — Parker 6 (Foster 3, Graesslin 3), Middleton 8 (Hibner, Thomas, Staples 1, C. Lemirande 5). Total fouls — Parker 23, Middleton 17. Fouled out—Porter.

 

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