March 2015

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Jordee exits on a high note

ASHWAUBENON — Leaving is never easy.

Especially when you’ve poured your heart and soul into something tour entire high school life.

For Cole Jordee, though, at least she could take solace in the fact she left everything she had on the Resch Center floor.

Jordee, a senior center for Middleton’s girls basketball team, was certainly broken hearted that her Cardinals dropped an 86-76 decision to DSHA in a WIAA Division 1 state semifinal Friday.

But Jordee made her final game in a Middleton uniform arguably the finest of her four-year career. Jordee had a team-high 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in defeat.

“At least I know I left it all out there,” Jordee said afterwards. “Of course, everyone is disappointed that we lost. But we gave it our best.”

Jordee certainly saved her best for last.

Jordee shot 6-of-11 from the floor and 6-of-9 from the free throw line. And of her 10 rebounds, five came on the offensive end.

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Madison East ousts Middleton

They charged hard, like bulls being released in the streets of Spain.

Senior center Ian Hokanson played arguably the most inspired basketball of his Middleton career. Sophomore guard Storm Murphy dazzled for stretches. The rest of the Cardinals played with passion, heart and desire.

Unfortunately for Middleton’s boys basketball team, it came too late.

The Cardinals battled back from a 15-point point deficit and pulled within one on a pair of occasions late Tuesday night. But host Madison East held on and toppled Middleton, 56-53, in a WIAA Division 1 regional final played in front of a sellout crowd.

The Purgolders defeated the Cardinals for a third time this season and improved to 18-6. Middleton finished the year 17-7.

The game was supposed to be played last Saturday night. But following the fatal shooting of Tony Robinson in a nearby neighborhood Friday night, the game was moved to Tuesday.

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Ogunbowale a huge challenge for Cards

She is arguably the finest high school player the state has ever seen.

She’s been the Gatorade State Player of the Year the last two seasons. She’s won gold medals playing for USA Basketball.
And next season, she’ll take her immense skill set to Notre Dame.

Yes, Arike Ogunbowale — a senior guard at Divine Savior Holy Angels — has a name that’s tough to pronounce. Opponents have had even more trouble trying to solve Ogunbowale’s game.

Ogunbowale is averaging 26.2 points per game. She erupted for 41 points in a late-season game against Milwaukee Riverside and has six other games in which she’s exceeded 30 points.

Middleton knows it won’t stop Ogunbowale when the teams meet Friday night at 6:35 in a WIAA Division 1 state semifinal game at the Resch Center in Green Bay. But the Cardinals know they have to try and slow Ogunbowale if they hope to advance to Saturday’s title game.

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MHS gymnasts fifth at state

There were no delusions of grandeur. No talk of a state championships.

Instead, Middleton’s girls gymnastics team was thrilled to be at last Friday’s WIAA Division 1 state meet at Wisconsin Rapids High School. Anything more was now gravy.

Well, the Cardinals got themselves one giant serving — surprising many and finishing fifth at the state meet.

Arrowhead won the team title with a 148.3333 team score. Franklin’s combined team was second (146.4667) and Mukwonago’s combined team was third (144.167).

Middleton posted a 138.1667 score, just behind fourth place Brookfield East/Central (138.7333).

“Going into the meet on Friday we didn't talk much about where we expected to end up in the standings,” Middleton senior Lucy Bergenthal said. “So finishing fifth was a huge accomplishment for us.”

Cardinals standout sophomore Madeline Pflasterer-Jennerjohn agreed.

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Middleton girls storm back to state

SUN PRAIRIE — Bria Lemirande kept looking up at the scoreboard.

And Middleton’s super sophomore admits she was getting awfully worried.

“I was definitely getting nervous,” Lemirande said. “I kept looking up at the clock and I thought, ‘We’ve got to get going. We need to play some urgency.’ ”

Middleton’s girls basketball team did exactly that. And now, the Cardinals are headed back to their second home — the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

The Cardinals trailed Janesville Craig, 48-39, early in the fourth quarter of their sectional final in Sun Prairie Saturday afternoon. But Middleton smacked Craig with a 21-3 run and posted a thrilling 66-57 win over the gritty, gutty Cougars.

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Middleton surges past La Follette

There were nerves, anxieties and tension.

That’s what happens when the overwhelming majority of your team has never played in a postseason game.

But when Middleton’s boys basketball team found its sea legs last Friday, it looked like the group that surprised foes all season long.

Middleton trailed visiting Madison La Follette, 26-25, at halftime of its WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal. But the Cardinals played a terrific second half and pulled away for a 63-44 win.

Middleton, the No. 5 seed in the sectional, improved to 17-6. La Follette, which was seeded 12th, ended the year 10-13.

“This was the first tournament experience for a lot of our guys,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “And there were some uncharacteristic things our guys did early.

“But we played really well in the second half, and it gives you a good, genuine feeling. It really validates your season. For us that was the pressure game.”

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Lemirande powers MHS past Verona

WAUNAKEE — The lead — a comfortable 11 points just 90 seconds earlier — was suddenly down to three.

Verona had all the momentum and was charging hard. Middleton was desperate for any kind of spark.

Enter Bria Lemirande.

The sophomore guard was the best player on the floor during the Cardinals’ WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal with the Wildcats Thursday. And at crunch time, Lemirande was her absolute best.

Lemirande drained a cold-blooded three-pointer that stopped Verona’s rally and gave Middleton a 64-58 lead. The Cardinals went on to a 71-59 win and advanced to Saturday’s sectional final against Janesville Craig at 1 p.m. in Sun Prairie.

“That was money,” Middleton head coach Jeff Kind said. “Big players make big shots … and that was huge.”

Lemirande was huge throughout the second half, when she scored 15 of her game-high 20 points. Senior guard Elizabeth Norregaard added 19 points, including 15 in the first half.

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MHS gymnasts headed to state

Their scores might not be what they’ve been in past seasons.

But really, no one is complaining.

Middleton’s girls gymnastics team has returned to its March home — the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

The Cardinals won the Middleton Sectional last Saturday, with a 137.525 team score. Madison Memorial was second at 136.450 and also qualified for state, while Verona/Madison Edgewood was third (135.6750).

“Our sectional was a close, grueling race that kept everyone on their toes,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said. “It definitely was not our best meet, but that's something that is not uncommon for sectionals. The pressure the girls put on themselves is so intense.”

The Cardinals qualified for state for the 19th time in school history. Middleton also earned a fourth straight trip to state and eighth appearance in the last nine years.

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Postseason arrives for boys basketball team

Their hope is that last Thursday proves to be a wake-up call.

Nothing more than a hiccup.

If it’s anything more, their season will be over soon.

Middleton’s boys basketball team wrapped up the regular season with a disappointing 58-55 loss at Janesville Craig.

The Cardinals slipped to 16-6 overall and 13-5 in the Big Eight. Middleton finished in third place in the conference, two games back of league champion Madison Memorial (15-3, 17-5).

Craig finished the regular season tied for last place in the league at 4-14, 6-16.

“This game was a wake up call for us going into the postseason,” Middleton sophomore guard Storm Murphy said. “It does not leave me worried about the postseason at all. This is not how we usually play and it was a hiccup. We will be ready for the playoffs.”

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Hockey Cards fall in sectional finals

It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

All season long, Middleton’s hockey team had used superior conditioning and depth to dominate foes in the third period.

But it was rival Madison Memorial that was the dominant team last Saturday as it shut out the Cardinals, 3-0, in a highly anticipated WIAA sectional final at Hartmeyer Ice Arena.

“We definitely underestimated them,” said Middleton senior goalie Max McConnell. “I mean we know that they have the potential to beat us like they did, but I think we came out a little overconfident that it was going to be an easy game. To their credit, they came out and played a heck of a game, but we know that we can play better than what we did and unfortunately tonight wasn’t our night.”

McConnell certainly held up his end. The senior had 43 saves and allowed just two power-play goals by the Spartans.