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Girls basketball team wins sixth straight

With stellar play on both ends of the court, Sitori Tannin provided just the spark Middleton’s girls basketball team needed.

Down by one point late, the sophomore scored on back-to-back possessions, then blocked a shot to help the Cardinals regain control and rally for an impressive 52-45 Big Eight Conference victory over rival Madison Memorial last Friday night.

“When it’s getting intense, I’ve got to go out there do my thing and get stuff done for the team,” said Tannin, who also blocked another Memorial shot down the stretch. “When we were down by one, it was like, ‘I’ve just got to get out there and get us some baskets and get us back up again.’

“I always try to step up my defense and my offense when it gets down (toward the end), but I’m trying to keep that throughout the whole game. I know, when coach needs me, I’m going to go in there do my thing.”

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Middleton rallies past Arrowhead

MILWAUKEE — Kevin Bavery faces a quandary every season.

Middleton’s boys basketball coach has just four non-conference games to work with each year. And after playing 18 games in the demanding Big Eight Conference, Bavery toys with the idea of scheduling lesser opponents to boost the Cardinals’ record and give his team an occasional break.

Inevitably, though, Bavery resists that urge and tries putting together the most demanding schedule possible for his team. Bavery’s belief is those games better prepare a team for the postseason than scheduling softer foes.

Middleton’s latest match-up on murderer’s row came Saturday, when the Cardinals met defending WIAA Division 1 state runner-up Hartland Arrowhead. Senior forward Brogan Brunker had a game-high 18 points and the Cardinals notched an extremely impressive 58-55 win over Arrowhead in a game played at the Al McGuire Center.

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Boys basketball team hammers Beloit

2018 started with a bang for Middleton’s boys basketball team.

The Cardinals took care of business in their first game of the new year, defeating Beloit Memorial, 78-53, in a Big Eight Conference game last Friday.

Middleton improved to 5-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big Eight. The Purple Knights fell to 3-8, 2-5.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Cardinals. Those three losses came against teams with a combined 21-5 record.  

“This game is one we needed,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “We were 4-3 in the league (coming in), with a lot of close games on both ends. We’ve been able to handle a couple of opponents that we felt we were a little bit better than. I think a lot of that was the case tonight.”

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Girls basketball team picking up steam

FRANKLIN — Health, happiness and prosperity.

These are wishes many have for the New Year.

Middleton’s girls basketball team is now finally healthy for the first time this season. Perhaps happiness and prosperity are soon to follow.

The Cardinals welcomed senior forward Claire Staples — who had been sidelined the past five weeks with a high ankle sprain — back to the lineup last week. And with Staples back in the fold, a young and inexperienced Middleton team once again has a branch of consistency to hold onto.

The Cardinals went to the Franklin Tournament and won two out of three games.

Middleton dropped an 80-67 decision to Germantown in last Wednesday’s opening round. But the Cardinals rebounded with a 76-46 win over Racine Case on Thursday and a 66-43 victory over Kenosha St. Joseph on Friday.

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Middleton's Top 10 sports moments of 2017

The years pass and the athletes change.

But things seem to stay the same when it comes to athletics at Middleton High School.

Conference championships are par for the course. State titles are commonplace throughout the athletic department.

It was more of the same in 2017 for one of the elite athletic programs in the state.

Here’s one person’s opinion of the top-10 Middleton sports stories of 2017.


1. Girls swimmers enjoy sweet repeat

After completing a thoroughly dominant season, Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team found itself in the unfamiliar role of underdog heading into the WIAA Division 1 state meet in early November.

According to a pre-race “mock meet” based on seedings from sectionals, Middleton was tabbed to finish second at meet, something that didn’t sit well with the Cardinals.

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Gymnasts gunning for a big year

Their numbers are large.

Their talent is impressive.

And their goals are sizeable.

Middleton’s girls gymnastics team began its season last Thursday with an impressive win over host Sun Prairie. And if first impressions are indeed the most telling, this could be another special season for Middleton’s gymnasts.

“As always, the goal is for a healthy and memorable season,” said Middleton coach Kari Steck, who has a team of 27 gymnasts, the largest in school history. “If a conference and/or sectional championship comes with that, we will be grateful. But that will only come with hard work and dedication, both of which this team has the potential for.”

Middleton lost one of the state’s elite gymnasts to graduation in Madeline Pflasterer-Jennerjohn. But Steck is optimistic she’ll have plenty of candidates to help fill that gigantic departure.

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Middleton girls edge Parker

Four weeks into the season, Jeff Kind knew a change was necessary.

Middleton’s girls basketball coach said good-bye to the run-and-gun style that has defined the Cardinals for years. Instead, Kind and the Cardinals downshifted a few gears from fifth.

The result? Middleton has begun playing far better basketball.

The Cardinals went to Janesville Parker and upended the Vikings, 57-53, last Friday. Middleton also dropped a 66-62 double overtime decision to Division 2 power Monroe last Tuesday.

The Cardinals are now 3-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Eight Conference.

“We had to get the fundamentals down before we crank things back up again,” Kind said. “This gives us our best chance. It does. It gets a little crazy for these youngsters with kids flying all over the place.”

Things got a little crazy for the Cardinals in their win over Parker. The good news for Middleton is it didn't blink.

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Roden powers Cards past Verona

VERONA — At first glance, Alan Roden might not look the part of a basketball standout.

Middleton’s senior swingman is 6-foot nothing. Roden has the body of a baseball catcher, which just so happens to be the position he’ll play at Creighton University a year from now.

But there’s no question, looks can be deceiving.

Roden is a surprising scorer, a rebounding force and an active defender. And all of those skills were on full display during Middleton’s impressive 71-42 shellacking of Verona last Thursday.

Roden grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds to go along with his seven points. Roden’s defense was also key as the Cardinals cruised to arguably their most impressive win of the young season.

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Boys basketball team rolls past Craig

Contributions came from up and down the lineup.

Three players scored in double figures. Three more had at least eight points.

And Middleton’s depth and balance eventually took a toll in its 67-53 win over Janesville Craig last Friday.

The Cardinals improved to 2-2 both overall and in the Big Eight Conference.

“No doubt our best game,” Middleton head coach Kevin Bavery said. “We shared the ball extremely well, created some turnovers, and overall did a pretty nice job defending their two prolific scorers.”

Senior forward Brogan Brunker led the Cardinals with 16 points, but he had plenty of help. Senior swingman Alan Roden added 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals, while senior guard Nick Michaels had 11.

Senior guard Joel Ticknor and junior guard Sam Close both scored nine points, while senior guard Chann Bowman added eight. Junior guard Jack Boyle had a game-high six assists, while Close, Michaels and Roden all added three assists.

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Brunker erupts for 36 in win over West

The records inside Middleton’s boys basketball program are sketchy.

They don’t go back as far as some other sports do. They lack detail and depth.

But it’s safe to say Cardinals’ senior Brogan Brunker had one of the finest nights in school history last Tuesday.

Brunker had 36 points — the most by an MHS player in at least 20 years — and powered Middleton to a 72-60 win over Madison West. Brunker shot 13-of-17 from the field, 5-of-7 from three-point range, grabbed nine rebounds, had three blocks and two steals.

Middleton improved to 1-2 in both the Big Eight Conference and overall.

“He took the ball to the rim on the drive, hit threes, plus rebounded on both ends of the floor,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “Brogan's the type of kid who would be happy with no points and a team win, but tonight was his night to flourish on the offensive end.”


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