Sports

Thu
21
Mar
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Softball Cards hope for bounceback season

The 2018 season certainly wasn’t the norm.

And Middleton girls softball coach Perry Hibner doesn’t believe it will become the new norm.

The Cardinals finished 9-14 overall and seventh in the Big Eight Conference at 8-10. But Middleton brings back an experienced, talent-laden group that Hibner believes can challenge for a top-three spot in one of the state’s elite conference.

“We certainly weren't happy with our record last year,” said Hibner, whose team opens its season in Florida next week. “We lost a lot of close games. We were younger than we have been in past years, but we don't make excuses. The girls expect more of themselves and the coaching staff does as well."

Four of Middleton’s losses were by three runs, or less, last year. Now, Hibner is hoping the combination of a veteran group and some gifted newcomers helps the Cardinals become one of the league’s most improved teams.

Tue
19
Mar
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Murphy, Wofford hope to keep dream season alive

Storm Murphy has always brought great passion, energy and vitality to the basketball court.

These days, Murphy brings the same liveliness to his interviews. And it’s easy to see why.

Murphy, a former Middleton High School standout who’s currently a sophomore point guard on Wofford’s men’s basketball team, has helped the Terriers produce the finest year in school history.

Wofford is 29-4 this season and has set a school record for wins. The Terriers have also won a school record 20 straight games and went a perfect 18-0 in the Southern Conference.

Wofford received a No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament — the highest seed in school history — and will meet 10th-seeded Seton Hall (20-13) Thursday at approximately 8:40 p.m. CST in Jacksonville, Fla.

Murphy, an endless ball of energy during his days at MHS, is bouncing off the walls again over the Terriers’ remarkable regular season and their chances for postseason success.

Tue
19
Mar
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Eady, NDSU surprise guests in NCAA Tournament

It’s spring break right now at North Dakota State.

And even with campus less congested than usual, this school of 15,000 students in Fargo, N.D. has been buzzing.

That’s because the Bison — which include former Middleton High School standout Tyree Eady — qualified for the NCAA Tournament last week. NDSU, the No. 4 seed in the Summit League, got hot at the perfect time, won the conference tournament and earned the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

“The entire community is extremely excited,” Eady said Monday. “Everywhere we go people notice and congratulate us. It's a very exciting time in Fargo.” 

With good reason.

NDSU (18-15) received a No. 16 seed in the East Region and faces North Carolina Central (18-15) in a First Four game Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. If the Bison win their opener, their reward is a date with No. 1 overall seed Duke on Friday in Columbia, S.C.

Wed
13
Mar
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Middleton's girls had unforgettable season

ASHWAUBENON — When they showed up for work just more than four months ago, the questions easily exceeded the answers?

Could anyone make outside shots?

Was there a point guard on the roster?

Could the post players improve?

Was the first round playoff exit in 2018 a hiccup or a sign of things to come?

By the time the year ended, Middleton’s magical, memorable girls basketball team had taken their faithful on an unforgettable joyride. And were it not for one painful, excruciating, unbearable inbounds play, the Cardinals would have brought a gold ball — and not a silver one — back to Middleton.

Bay Port’s Emma Nagel scored the game-winning basket with 2.4 seconds left lifting the Pirates to a 50-49 victory over the Cardinals in last Saturday’s state title game. And while Middleton’s players went through every available Kleenex in the Resch Center afterwards, they also realized what they accomplished was awfully unique.

Tue
12
Mar
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Middleton falls in state title game

ASHWAUBENON — In the moments immediately following the toughest loss of their collective lives, it took someone with great perspective, attitude and maturity to somehow look at the glass — and see it as half full.

Meet Charlotte Dunn.

Dunn, a senior point guard for Middleton’s girls basketball team, and the rest of the Cardinals just had a state championship ripped from their grasp at the Resch Center last Saturday night. Bay Port’s Emma Nagel broke free on inbounds play and scored with just 2.4 ticks left — a basket that eventually gave the Pirates a 50-49 win in one of the most dramatic and memorable WIAA Division 1 state title games in history.

Afterwards, Dunn battled through the heartbreak and found a way to fixate on the positives.

Sat
09
Mar
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Middleton's girls one step from state title

ASHWUAUBENON — Their upset bid was on life support.

Middleton’s girls basketball team had watched its nine-point lead vanish against No. 1 Mukwonago in the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals held at the Resch Center Friday night. And with the game now deadlocked, 50-50, with 4 ½ minutes left, the Cardinals knew their “now or never” moment had arrived.

“We looked up at that (score)board and we just wanted it,” senior post Hannah Flottmeyer said. “And we knew that we weren’t playing to lose. We were playing to win and so we just came together and wanted it.”

And they proceeded to get it.

Middleton went on a stunning 12-0 run, which helped it shock Mukwonago, 62-53. The Cardinals, seeded fourth among the four Division 1 participants, won their 14th straight game and improved to 22-5. Mukwonago finished the year 24-2.

Sat
09
Mar
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Coleman's heroics help MHS reach title game

ASHWAUBENON — If Hannah Flottmeyer is anything, she’s honest.

And Middleton’s entertaining senior center outlined the Cardinals’ plan of attack during the second half of last Friday’s WIAA Division 1 state semifinals against Mukwonago.

“Just get Evie the ball,” Flottmeyer said. “That was pretty much it.”

Evie would be junior guard Evie Coleman. And getting her the ball was a brilliant strategy.

Coleman drilled 4-of-5 second half three-pointers and had 16 of her game-high 19 points after halftime to power Middleton to a 62-53 upset of the Indians.

“I’ve never shot like that. I can’t imagine I’ll ever shoot like that again,” Coleman said. “But hopefully I can do it (Saturday).”

Coleman’s previous career-high was 18 points against Verona on Nov. 20, 2018. And her career-high for three-pointers was four, something she had done three times this season.

Wed
06
Mar
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Middleton faces No. 1 Mukwonago at state

Overlooked? Been there.

Disrespected? Done that.

Underdogs? Oh well.

Middleton’s girls basketball team has traveled each of these paths this season and the Cardinals will do it again this weekend.

Middleton received the No. 4 seed at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay and will meet No. 1 seed Mukwonago in a semifinal game Friday at 6:35 p.m.

The winner of that game meets either second-seeded Kimberly or third-seeded Bay Port in the state finals Saturday at approximately 8:15 p.m.

For Middleton, being discounted and snubbed has been par for the course this season.

“I love being the underdog,” said senior point guard Charlotte Dunn. “We’ve kind of been that all season.

“We’re young, no expectations there. Coming off of last year, losing in the first round, it was kind of like ‘let’s see what they can do.’ We wanted to prove them wrong, and here we are. Now we’re going (to state).”

Wed
06
Mar
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Middleton's girls headed back to state

JANESVILLE — With 5.7 seconds remaining, Middleton senior point guard Charlotte Dunn stepped to the free throw line and broke into a huge grin.

No pressure.

Just finish off an impressive victory over a conference rival and let the party begin.

But first, Dunn made eye contact with fellow senior and co-captain Hannah Flottmeyer, who began to tear up as they shared a moment they will treasure the rest of their lives.

Dunn sank one of two free throws to put an exclamation point on an impressive 60-45 victory over Sun Prairie in a WIAA Division 1 sectional final held at Janesville Craig High School on Saturday afternoon.

Wed
06
Mar
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Middleton's girls rally past Memorial

VERONA — The tension was palpable, the gym deafening. Nearly everybody inside Verona High School was on their feet. 

During the final five minutes of last Thursday’s WIAA Division1 girls basketball sectional final between Middleton and Madison Memorial, the Big Eight Conference rivals traded blow after blow.

Thanks to smothering defense, though, and some clutch baskets down the stretch, the Cardinals rallied back from an eight-point deficit and downed the Spartans, 41-39.

The win was the 12th in a row for Middleton and improved its record to 20-5. The win also placed the Cardinals in their second sectional final in three years.

Memorial finished the year 19-6 and had its seven-game winning streak snapped.

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