Sports

Fri
06
Mar
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Tanin powers Middleton past Craig

BELOIT — Middleton’s girls basketball team often exchanges warm-up tops when they’re going through their pre-game drills.

For example, Karina Bursac might don Berkley Smith’s shirt, Smith might wear Lauryn Abezoid’s and Abezoid might put on Kendall Roquet’s.

Like the rest of her teammates, Sitori Tanin was in a different pre-game top Thursday night. When it was time for the real Tanin to step up, though, boy, did she deliver.

In Middleton’s WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal, Tanin had an enormous night with 26 points and 17 rebounds and powered the Cardinals to a 62-55 win over Janesville Craig at Beloit Memorial’s Barkin Arena. After a quiet first half in which she was plagued by fouls, Tanin erupted with 20 points and 11 rebounds in the second half alone.

Fri
06
Mar
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Metro Lynx advances to state title game

MADISON — It didn’t take long for junior forward Ava Jambor and her second-ranked Middleton co-op teammates to make a impact at Veterans Memorial Coliseum-Alliant Energy Center on Thursday afternoon.

Just 1 minute, 54 seconds actually.

That’s how long it took for Jambor to record the first goal for the Metro Lynx — made up of girls from Middleton, Madison Memorial, Madison West, Madison Edgewood and Verona — and ignite a 5-2 victory over the Beloit Memorial co-op in a WIAA prep girls hockey state semifinal game.

“I was actually kind of shocked,” said Jambor, who entered the game with four goals and seven assists this season for the Lynx, “ I just saw the puck, I shot it and I scored. Nothing major really goes through your head, you see the puck, you shoot it.”

Jambor, one of six Middleton girls on the Lynx roster, was the recipient of the first of two assists in the game from sophomore forward Kaya Pelton-Byce.

Thu
05
Mar
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Girls basketball team survives, advances

Sitori Tanin insists she wasn’t worried.

The same goes for Evie Coleman.

They might have been the only two inside Middleton High School last Saturday that weren’t nervous.

Host Middleton, the No. 1 ranked team in the state in Division 1, trailed upstart Verona, 56-53, with 6 ½ minutes left in their regional final. But the Cardinals answered with an 11-0 run and held on for a 68-65 win.

Middleton, the No. 1 seed in the sectional, improved to 23-1 on the year and now meets fourth-seeded Janesville Craig in a sectional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. at Beloit Memorial High School. Verona, the No. 8 seed in the sectional, finished the year 11-12.

“I wouldn’t say I was worried,” said Tanin, a senior post and a University of Loyola recruit. “But I’d say it definitely made us realize how we had to change the momentum there.”

Coleman, a senior guard, agreed with Tanin.

Thu
05
Mar
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Girls basketball team set for sectionals

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.”

Thu
05
Mar
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Metro Lynx headed to state

The Middleton co-op girls hockey team has made history.

The Metro Lynx — made up of girls from Middleton, Madison Memorial, Madison West, Madison Edgewood and Verona — reached the WIAA girls state hockey tournament for the first time in program history. The Metro Lynx defeated the Cap City Cougars, 3-0, in a WIAA sectional final held at the Sun Prairie Ice Arena last Friday.

Middleton is now the No. 1 seed at the state tournament and will play the fourth-seeded Beloit Memorial co-op Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum-Alliant Energy Center.

If the Metro Lynx wins there, it would advance to the state championship game Saturday at noon at the Alliant Energy Center.

“The girls have played really hard this season and have accomplished quite a bit thus far,” Lynx coach Mike McKersie said.

It’s been a historic season for the Lynx, and among their accomplishments are:

Thu
05
Mar
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Boys basketball team hopes to surprise

For the past four months, Middleton’s boys basketball team has spent most of its time battling the heavyweights inside the Big Eight Conference.

While the Cardinals’ WIAA Division 1 first round playoff matchup is a tough one, Middleton head coach Kevin Bavery is excited to see someone from outside the Big Eight.

The 11th-seeded Cardinals travel to sixth-seeded Oconomowoc Friday at 7 p.m. for a regional semifinal. If Middleton wins there, it would meet either third-seeded Madison Memorial or 14th-seeded Verona in a regional final Saturday night.

“We'll have our hands full, but we really like our matchups and the fact that we are playing someone from outside the Big Eight in the tournament opener,” Bavery said.

That certainly won’t be easy.

Thu
05
Mar
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Gymnasts fall short at sectionals

This wasn’t the result anyone expected.

And it certainly wasn’t the ending anyone was predicting.

Middleton’s girls gymnastics team finished third at its own WIAA Division 1 sectional last Saturday and failed to qualify for the state tournament for the first time in nine years. The top two teams at sectionals advance to state.

Madison Memorial won the nine-team sectional with a 138.375 team score, while Verona/Madison Edgewood was second (137.30) and Middleton was third (136.050).

“The girls were obviously disappointed after sectionals,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said. “It's the first time MHS hasn't qualified in nine years. However, the girls had a great season and a lot to be proud of, so we tried to stress that to all of them.”

The season isn't over for two Cardinals, however.

Sat
29
Feb
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Former hockey coach puts blame on MHS

Accountability and responsibility.

Steffon Walby wanted little part of either.

Walby, Middleton’s former boys hockey coach, sent a 1,001-word letter to several people in the district Friday claiming, “rumors, falsehoods and confusion” led to him and MHS eventually agreeing to “part ways.”

Middleton was disqualified from the postseason after using ineligible senior forward Joe O’Reilly in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal game on Feb. 18. That led to an investigation that showed O’Reilly had been ruled ineligible in Oct., 2019, meaning Middleton will likely have to forfeit all of its victories from 2019-’20.

The Times-Tribune first reported the story on Feb. 20.

Walby, though, claimed ignorance when it came to O’Reilly’s eligibility.

Fri
28
Feb
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Middleton, Walby agree to "part ways"

Middleton High School and boys hockey coach Steffon Walby have agreed to “part ways" following the use of an ineligible player.

Middleton asked the WIAA for an eligibility waiver for senior forward Joe O’Reilly in Oct., 2019, but that request was denied. But Walby played O’Reilly in 23 games, and he finished as the Cardinals’ third-leading scorer.

The WIAA received an anonymous tip about O'Reilly on Feb. 19, less than 24 hours after Middleton defeated Tomah/Sparta in its playoff opener. The Cardinals were then stripped of their playoff win, and Tomah/Sparta replaced Middleton in the regional final against Sun Prairie.

The Cardinals, who went 14-10 during the regular season, are also likely to be stripped of all their other wins.

After a week-long investigation, district administrators and Walby determined it was best for the program to start fresh.

Thu
27
Feb
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Middleton girls win Big 8 title

No. 11 was a tough one.

When Middleton’s girls basketball team lost to Madison Memorial back in December, Cardinals’ boss Jeff Kind knew his team might have to be flawless the rest of the year to win at least a share of the Big Eight Conference title.

They were.

Middleton notched two more league wins last week and grabbed a share of the conference title with Madison Memorial. Both the Cardinals and Spartans went 17-1 in the conference.

It marked Middleton’s 11th conference title since Kind took over in 1992, and all have come since the 2006-’07 season.

“It’s been a long, tough road to earn a share of the conference championship with Memorial, knowing we had to win every game since that first loss to Memorial,” said Kind, whose team is currently 21-1 overall and ranked No. 1 in the state. “I’m very proud of the way the girls were able to answer the bell every night.”

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