Sports

Tue
18
Feb
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Girls basketball team falls to Craig

 

It had been 50 days since Jeff Kind and Middleton’s girls basketball team felt this way.

And after the Cardinals dropped their first game in more than seven weeks — a 63-61 setback at Janesville Craig last Friday — Kind was certain of one thing.

“This is not a good feeling,” he said.

The good news for Middleton is that it can still reach all of its goals this season.

The Cardinals fell to 17-3 overall and 15-1 in the Big Eight Conference. Middleton leads second-place Verona (18-2, 14-2) by one game and can clinch at least a share of the conference title with a home win Thursday against Madison La Follette.

Middleton — which has won six of the last seven league titles — can also still capture an outright conference title by winning its final two games. And Kind — who heads to his postseason seeding meeting Sunday — is still in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed in his regional.

Tue
18
Feb
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Wrestlers send 12 to sectionals

Call them the Dynamic Dozen.

Or perhaps the Terrific Twelve.

Oh yeah, and also call them sectional participants.

Middleton’s wrestlers enjoyed a terrific day at their own regional Saturday. The Cardinals finished second as a team and sent 12 of their 14 entries onto Saturday’s Waunakee Sectional, which begins at 10 a.m.

“I’m happy with that,” Middleton coach Kent Weiler said of qualifying 12 individuals for sectionals. “Every year we seem to get a few more through.

“Last year we had 10 and now we’re at 12. That makes us happy.”

Sauk Prairie won the meet with 248.5 points, while Middleton was second at 197.0. DeForest was third (180.0), followed by Waunakee (176.5), Madison West (115.0), Madison East (64.0) and Madison Memorial (3.0).

The top four finishers at regionals advanced to sectionals. Only the top two finishers at sectionals move on to the state tournament, while runs from Feb. 27-March 1.

Tue
18
Feb
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Gymnasts hope to shine at Big 8 meet

It’s been an up and down campaign for Middleton’s girls gymnastics team.

A season filled with enough injuries to rival the Green Bay Packers.

But with the postseason here, the Cardinals are returning to full health. And now, Middleton plans to make its move.

The Cardinals will be at the Big Eight Conference meet Saturday. The event begins at 10 a.m. at Madison Memorial.

Middleton has won the last two conference championships, and has every intention of making it a three-peat.

“I think our conference has been much more competitive than we have seen in previous years,” Middleton third-year coach Kari Steck said. “But I think that (we) thrive off of that competitiveness. It helps push the girls to work harder, learn new skills, and make their routines more difficult.”

The Big Eight has been much improved this season, and the Cardinals will certainly be challenged at the conference meet.

Sun
16
Feb
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Boys BB team earns No. 3 seed

 

Middleton’s boys basketball team received the No. 3 seed in its regional. The Cardinals (11-9 overall, 9-8 in the Big Eight) will open the postseason Feb. 28 when they host sixth-seeded Madison La Follette (10-11, 7-10) in a regional semifinal.

Madison Memorial (18-3, 16-1), which clinched its 11th straight Big Eight Conference title earlier this week, is the regional’s No. 1 seed. Sun Prairie (13-8, 11-6) is the No. 2 seed, followed by Middleton, Madison West (10-10, 8-8), Verona (11-10, 8-9), Madison La Follette, Oconomowoc (8-12, 5-8 in the Little Ten), Madison East (6-15, 4-13) and Watertown (6-14, 4-9 Little Ten).

The regional finals will be held March 1. The sectional semifinals are March 6 in Verona and the sectional finals are March 8 in Burlington.

Fri
14
Feb
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Time running out on boys basketball team

 

VERONA — Time is winding down quickly.

Head coach Kevin Bavery is begging, screaming and pleading for consistency. Yet it’s nowhere to be found, and those inside Middleton’s boys basketball program wonder if it can still be discovered at this extremely late date.

The Cardinals had their most disappointing effort of the season Thursday in a 67-50 loss at Verona. Afterwards, Middleton senior standout Derek Rongstad piggy-backed Bavery’s plea, insisting time is precious, and the Cardinals’ bad habit of occasional off nights must end immediately.

Tue
11
Feb
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Hockey Cards hoping to get hot

Their year has been filled with chaos and craziness.

There’s been enough drama for their own reality television show.

But with the postseason nearing, things inside Middleton’s hockey program have settled down nicely.

And now, the Cardinals have one overriding thought: Why not us?

“They always say, ‘Beware of the wounded animal,’ ” Middleton interim coach Steffon Walby said. “Well, that could be the Cardinal this year.”

Middleton won a pair of games last week, marking its first two-game winning streak since Dec. 7.

The Cardinals rolled past Madison La Follette/East, 16-1, last Tuesday. Middleton followed that with a 5-4 overtime win over Waunakee last Saturday, which was one of its most impressive victories of the season.

Middleton improved to 10-10-2 overall and moved into a third-place tie in the Big Eight Conference at 7-4-2.

Tue
11
Feb
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Boys hoops team tops West

Luke Schafer’s timing couldn’t have been better.

In a span of just 30 seconds, the senior guard converted a three-point play and then drilled a long-range three-pointer at the third quarter buzzer.

Schafer’s standout plays gave Middleton’s boys basketball team a six-point cushion and the Cardinals went on to notch a 67-59 victory over rival Madison West in a Big Eight Conference contest last Friday night.

Schafer’s buzzer-beater came after West’s Malik Clements missed a wild shot that went out of bounds with 3.8 seconds remaining.  Schafer took the inbounds pass and dribbled downcourt before pulling up several feet behind the 3-point line, leaning toward the basket and drilling the shot while being fouled by Ari Davis as the buzzer sounded.

Schafer missed the free throw, but Middleton took a 48-42 lead into the fourth quarter.

Tue
11
Feb
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Girls basketball team downs Sun Prairie

Middleton’s girls basketball team has won several games this year with an up-tempo attack and plenty of style points.

On Saturday night, the Cardinals showed they’re also capable of grabbing a hard hat.

Middleton notched a grind-it-out 52-27 win over host Sun Prairie. The 27 points Middleton allowed was a season low.

Middleton improved to 17-2 overall and 15-0 in the Big Eight Conference.

Middleton is now just one win from clinching at least a share of its seventh league title in eight years, and two wins away from capturing the outright title.

“Kind of a workmanlike,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said of the Sun Prairie win. “Totally different atmosphere and I thought we did a good job of remaining focused and preventing an emotional letdown. 

Tue
11
Feb
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Skibba steals the show

Aryn Skibba realizes she probably won’t be 100% this season.

But Middleton’s standout gymnast has discovered she can still perform at a remarkably high level.

Last Saturday’s Middleton Invitational was certainly proof of that.

Skibba, who has battled a back injury all year, posted a 37.70 score in the all-around competition and ran away with that title. Skibba’s huge day helped the Cardinals score a season-high 140.05 points and capture the nine-team Invite.

Skibba, who was sixth at state in the all-around last year, posted the best score of her stellar Middleton career.

“I was very surprised with my performance,” Skibba said. “I was spot on with everything and stuck everything.

“I’ve been working really hard and I’m glad I can see it pay off. I’m happy with everything that happened at that meet, not just my personal scores but the team score as well.”

Tue
11
Feb
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Swimmers third at Big 8 meet

Madison Memorial, which has won four of the last five state championships, appears to be in a league of its own again this winter.

Madison West might be a notch above, as well.

But Middleton’s swimmers also appear capable of doing great things this championship season. And last Saturday was proof of that.

The Cardinals finished third at the Big Eight Conference meet — arguably the state’s toughest league — and seem ready to make a splash over the next two weeks.

“The guys really were ready to go and were fired up with a ton of energy,” Middleton coach Luke Lengfeld said. “It was a great start to the championship season.”

Madison Memorial ran away with the meet, totaling 652 points. West was second at 482.5, while Middleton (430.5), Verona (239) and Sun Prairie (216) rounded out the top five.

Lars Haskins had Middleton’s top finish of the day, placing second in the 50 freestyle.

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