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Bavery notches 400th win

The ball hasn’t gone in the basket as much this season.

The defense hasn’t been as stingy.

The wins have come with less frequency.

But for one glorious stretch on Feb. 19, everything came together for Middleton’s boys basketball team. And in the process, Cardinals’ head coach Kevin Bavery notched a historic win.

Middleton finished its game against visiting Janesville Craig on a 17-0 run and rallied for an improbable 71-68 win. It was the 400th victory of Bavery’s career, with 196 of those wins coming at Middleton.

“It’s a sign of longevity and having a great staff,” Bavery said of winning his 400th game. “If you’re going to (coach) this long, you’ve got to love the game, which I obviously do.

“What stands out more than anything, though, are the relationships. You don't forget those.”

It’s a good bet that Bavery and his team won't forget win No. 400 either.

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MHS administrators determining Walby's fate

For now, Steffon Walby is still Middleton’s hockey coach.

Whether that’s still the case in a day or two remains to be seen.

Wably met Wednesday at 8 a.m. with administrators from the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District about the hockey scandal that caused the Cardinals to be thrown out of the playoffs last week. Middleton athletic director Bob Joers had a separate meeting with district administrators that began at 10:30 a.m.

Afterwards, the powers-that-be at MHS weren’t ready to make an announcement regarding Walby’s future.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” said Director of Communications Perry Hibner. “We have some more interviews to conduct.”

Multiple sources told the Times-Tribune last week that Walby knowingly played senior forward Joe O’Reilly throughout the season, even though the WIAA determined that O’Reilly was ineligible.

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Middleton swimmers win state title

On the cusp of a state title, Middleton coach Danny Lynam knew just what to do.

He leaned on his seniors to bring it home.

And did they ever.

The senior pair of Nathan Kim and Forrest Peterson helped Middleton capture its first-ever WIAA Division 1 state swimming and diving championship in dramatic fashion with a second-place finish in the meet’s final event — the 400-yard freestyle — at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium Saturday.

Middleton had finished second at state the last two years, but brought home gold this winter.

“I’m speechless, I really didn’t think this could ever happen,” Kim said. “Two second place finishes over the years and finally on top. There’s no better way. I can’t believe we did it.”

The Cardinals finished first with 228 points to edge heavily favored Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial with 222 points. Sun Prairie was third with 197 points followed by Madison West (180) and Eau Claire Memorial/North (167).

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Sources: Middleton knew hockey player was ineligible

Middleton’s hockey program applied for an eligibility waiver for senior forward Joe O'Reilly in October, 2019. The WIAA denied the Cardinals’ request, but Middleton coach Steffon Walby played O'Reilly throughout the season anyway.

That approach eventually caused Middleton to forfeit its win over Tomah/Sparta in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal game on Feb. 18. The Cardinals, who went 14-10 during the regular season, will likely be stripped of all their other wins, as well.

Multiple sources confirmed these details to the Times-Tribune in the past week.

“It was a pretty cut and dried eligibility case,” said one source, who requested anonymity. “They were told not to play him and they went ahead and played him anyhow.”

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Hockey Cardinals thrown in the penalty box

Middleton’s hockey team expected to compete for a WIAA Division 1 regional championship Thursday night. Instead, the Cardinals were thrown into the penalty box — for good.

Middleton defeated Tomah/Sparta, 7-2, in a regional semifinal Tuesday. But the WIAA determined the Cardinals used an ineligible player in that game and were forced to forfeit.

Instead of advancing to face Sun Prairie, Middleton’s season came to abrupt end.

“We learned this week that we used an ineligible player in our WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal victory,” said Perry Hibner, the Director of Communications for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. “As a result we have forfeited that game.”

The WIAA received an anonymous tip on Wednesday that the Cardinals had used a player that had not established residency in the district — making that player ineligible.

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Middleton girls jump to No. 1

Four weeks ago, Karina Bursac had her doubts.

Middleton’s senior forward and a four-year letterwinner who helped the Cardinals reach the WIAA Division 1 state title game last year, was uncertain where this season was headed.

“If you would have asked me a month ago, I would have said, ‘No way are we as good as last year,’ ” Bursac said. “But we’ve come together really well and everybody on the team is doing really well. So, I think mentally, the way we’re going into the playoffs, is really good.”

It should be.

The Cardinals had another terrific week, both on and off the court.

Middleton pushed its winning streak to 14 games after routing host Janesville Parker, 80-39, on Feb. 11 and rolling past visiting Janesville Craig, 60-40, last Friday.

The Cardinals improved to 19-1 overall and moved into a first place tie atop the Big Eight Conference with Madison Memorial at 15-1.

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Swimmers take aim at state title

It wasn’t an ideal finish.

And it’s certainly not where they hope to be when the music stops Saturday night.

Good thing for Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team it was an appetizer to the bigger meal.

Middleton finished third at its own WIAA Division 1 Sectional last Saturday. Sun Prairie was first with 373 points, Madison West was second (341.5) and Middleton was third (334).

Middleton will now head to the state meet, which begins at 3 p.m. at the UW Natatorium, with hopes of winning the first state title in school history.

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Hockey Cardinals are red hot

The postseason has arrived.
And Middleton is playing arguably its best hockey of the year.

The Cardinals won three straight games last week and are heading to the playoffs with a world of steam.

Middleton upended visiting Beloit Memorial, 4-1, on Feb. 11 on Senior Night. The Cardinals rolled over host Madison East/La Follette, 10-2, on Feb. 13. And Middleton toppled host Sauk Prairie, 3-2, last Saturday.

The Cardinals finished the regular season 14-10 overall after winning four of their final five games. Middleton also tied for third place in the Big Eight Conference with a 9-5 mark.

Middleton, the No. 6 seed in its sectional, began the postseason Tuesday night by hosting 11th-seeded Tomah/Sparta in a regional semifinal. If the Cardinals won, they’d travel to third-seeded Sun Prairie Thursday at 8 p.m. in a regional final.

The sectional semifinals are Feb. 25 and the sectional finals are Feb. 29.

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Boys basketball team wins two straight

The drought was just shy of six weeks.

To those inside Middleton’s boys basketball program, it felt more like six years.

The Cardinals hadn’t strung together consecutive wins since the first week of January. But Middleton ended that skid with a pair of hard fought victories last week.

The Cardinals downed visiting Beloit Memorial, 78-65, last Thursday. Middleton then defeated host Janesville Parker, 61-55, last Saturday.

The Cardinals also fell to Madison East, 73-31, last Tuesday and now sit at 7-11 overall and 6-9 in the Big Eight Conference.

“We have had leads late in a number of close games, but haven’t been able to either hold on to a lead, or come back from a late deficit,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “Closing out back-to-back games when we were either down or our opponent was charging shows how much these guys won’t quit and still have goals to make some noise in our final four games, as well as at tournament time.”

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Girls basketball team stays red hot

They are peaking at the perfect time.

They’re beating the top teams on their schedule. And they’re routing the teams that aren’t as strong.

Middleton’s girls basketball team, which finished second at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament last year, is positioning itself to make another run at the title.

The Cardinals pushed their winning streak to 12 games last week with two more impressive wins. Middleton routed Madison La Follette, 67-29, on Feb. 4, then whipped Beloit Memorial, 63-36, on Feb. 6.

The Cardinals improved to 17-1 overall and are 13-1 in the Big Eight Conference, ½-game behind league-leading Madison Memorial.


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