Sports

Wed
29
Jan
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Tardiness, turnovers doom Middleton's boys

Timeliness is next to godliness.

Apparently, Middleton’s boys basketball team has yet to hear that old adage.

Cardinals coach Kevin Bavery was set to conduct his pre-game talk last Friday before Middleton met Madison East. When Bavery was ready to begin, though, only seven of his 16 players were in attendance.

“They got caught up watching the freshmen and not paying attention,” Bavery said. “A whole bunch of ‘em were late.”

Things didn’t get dramatically better.

Middleton had 20 first half turnovers and 26 for the game. The Cardinals’ only lead was at 2-0. And East finished the game on a 10-3 surge and notched a 58-49 win over the host Cardinals.

Middleton, which dropped its fourth straight game, fell to 4-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Eight Conference. Cardinals senior center Parker Van Buren had a big night with 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, while senior wing Cole Deptula added 13 points.

Thu
23
Jan
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Middleton swimmers win Cardinal Relays

The Cardinal Relay Invite provided a solid, late-season test for Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team, as it featured three of the top five teams in Division 1 and a top-five team from Division 2.

The Cardinals passed the test last Saturday, winning their home invite ahead of 12 other teams with a score of 189 points. Madison Memorial was second with 172 points, and Sun Prairie was third with 171.

“Great meet, it’s always a lot of fun,” Middleton assistant coach Mike VerVoort said. “We had a couple fast teams out here. Today isn’t a regular event, just all the relays. We had a few good races and pulled out the final score in the end.”

Middleton senior Ben Collier — who swam in the 200-yard medley relay, 200-yard freestyle relay, 100-yard freestyle relay, and 400-yard freestyle relay — was pleased with the Cardinals’ performance. 

Thu
23
Jan
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Middleton's girls down Madison East

If there were bonus points handed out for degree of difficulty in shot selection, Middleton senior Evie Coleman would have earned the max on one basket in particular Friday night.

Early in the second half, Coleman drove deep into the lane, collided with multiple defenders, lost control of the ball, then recovered to toss up an off-balance shot in traffic while tumbling to the ground.

The whistle blew, the shot dropped in, and Coleman converted the three-point play during a key second-half run to help Middleton defeat Madison East 75-63 during a Big Eight Conference girls basketball game at Middleton High School.

“I didn’t really realize I made it until somebody helped me up and told me,” said Coleman, who finished with 17 points. “I didn’t think it went in. I was really confused. I was like, ‘Oh, I made it? Oh, OK, cool.’ That amps the bench up and it’s really cool to see that energy level turn up a little bit.”

Thu
23
Jan
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Waunakee downs Middleton's boys

For a good portion of the second half Friday night, Middleton boys basketball coach Kevin Bavery saw exactly what he had been looking for all season.

His Cardinals got the ball inside, attacking the basket on offense. They converted in transition and drilled the open three-pointer when needed.

On defense, Middleton’s zone frustrated visiting Waunakee, forced turnovers and had the Cardinals in position to earn a quality victory.

Then, just like so many times this season, Middleton lost its rhythm —and eventually the game — during a 56-52 non-conference setback to Waunakee.

After turning a 12-point first-half deficit into a four-point mid-second half lead, Middleton allowed the Warriors to go on a 15-2 run to pull away. After Middleton took the 45-41 lead, Waunakee finished the game with a 16-7 spurt.

Thu
23
Jan
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Middleton's boys fall to Sun Prairie

Middleton’s boys basketball program is well past the point of moral victories.

But if there can be a “good loss”, the Cardinals had one on Jan. 16.

Middleton took Sun Prairie — the WIAA Division 1 state runners-up a year ago — to the wire. But host Sun Prairie made the key plays down the stretch and notched a 68-59 win.

“We were really close in back-to-back games last weekend, against two teams with combined records of 20-3,” said Middleton coach Kevin Bavery, whose team also suffered a narrow defeat to Waunakee last Friday. “We need to get to a point when we make a mistake defensively that it’s because we’re simply flying around too much instead of not enough. We’re confident we’re going to get there.”

Middleton is 4-6 overall and 3-4 in the Big Eight Conference. Sun Prairie improved to 9-1, 7-1.

Thu
16
Jan
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Middleton's girls hammer Sun Prairie

The numbers were downright eye-popping.

Not only did Middleton’s girls basketball team topple host Sun Prairie, 48-28, on Jan. 9. Middleton did it in stunning fashion.

Sun Prairie entered the game averaging 60.5 points per contest — and managed just 46.3% of that total.

Middleton held Sun Prairie to just two points in transition. And Sun Prairie was held to a season-low 11 field goals and went 0-of-12 on three-point field goal attempts.

All-in-all, it was a fantastically impressive win for Middleton.

“Sun Prairie was a good win,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “We’re improving. Defensively, we’re doing a better job in transition and we’re getting a better sense of team defense.”

Middleton senior forward Sitori Tanin led the way with 17 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. Senior forward Kendall Roquet added 10 points, six rebounds and two steals, while senior forward Karina Bursac had nine points, five steals and five rebounds.

Thu
16
Jan
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Middleton's boys edge Parker

The lead — once as great as 16 points — was gone.

Middleton’s boys basketball team and visiting Janesville Parker were now tied at 61 in the final seconds of their Big Eight Conference game on Jan. 7. And the Cardinals were holding for a final shot.

Middleton fed center Parker Van Buren in the post, who found a cutting Logan Schultz, who then drew a foul with just 8 seconds left. Schultz calmly sank both free throws, and after a defensive stop, Henry Patterson’s dunk at the buzzer helped the Cardinals escape with a too-close-for-comfort 65-61 win.

Middleton improved to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Eight Conference. Parker fell to 2-8, 1-6.

Thu
16
Jan
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Middleton's boys fall to Craig

For 20 minutes, Middleton’s boys basketball team was just where it wanted to be.

The visiting Cardinals led Janesville Craig, 38-33, early in the second half on Jan. 10. The Cougars then embarked on a 12-0 run that helped produce a 70-61 win.

Middleton, which fell to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Eight Conference, never came closer than five points after Craig’s game-changing run. The Cougars improved to 6-4, 4-3.

“Craig is without a doubt the biggest surprise of the season,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “Similar to us they lost a majority of their starters.

“Their returning players have obviously put a lot of work in as they have two of the better individual scorers in the league, one of whom was deep on their bench as a reserve last season. And their complimentary players do a great job of knowing their role.”

Thu
16
Jan
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Middleton swimmers dunk Sun Prairie

Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team believe they’re capable of bringing home the first WIAA Division 1 state title in school history this winter.

And the Cardinals proved last Friday those dreams can certainly become a reality.

Middleton, ranked No. 3 in the latest state poll, downed No. 2 Sun Prairie, 94.5-75.5 in a triple dual held at MHS. Middleton also defeated Janesville Parker, 139-31.

“We first saw Sun Prairie the previous weekend at the Marquette Invite,” Middleton coach Danny Lynam said. “They had a strong showing at that meet and won it, so I knew we had to get the guys pumped up for our dual meet.

Fri
10
Jan
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Cardinals hold off Beloit Memorial

In many ways, this was the best of both worlds.

Middleton’s boys basketball team edged host Beloit Memorial, 58-56, in a Big Eight Conference game last Saturday. The Cardinals improved to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the league.

After a frenetic finish, though, in which Middleton nearly let a 12-point lead slip away in the final minutes, Cardinals coach Kevin Bavery had several teachable moments to bring back with him to practice this week.

“The tape doesn’t lie,” Bavery said. “We left the gym feeling good about the win, yet a little empty trying to figure out why we couldn’t close the game out in solid fashion.

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