Sports

Wed
26
Feb
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Senior Night a hit for boys BB team

 

There’s nothing quite like ‘Senior Night.’

It’s the end of an era. Emotions are high.

And victory is imperative.

Middleton’s boys basketball team made their ‘Senior Night’ a memorable one last Tuesday with a 61-43 non-conference win over Waunakee. The Cardinals improved to 12-9 overall, while the Warriors fell to 3-17.

With eight seniors on the team — and an entire starting lineup consisting of seniors — the night was unforgettable for Middleton.

“ ‘Senior Night’ is always special and this is as talented and dedicated group as I've had, as well as one of the most enjoyable to be around day in and day out,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “I'm happy for them to be able to get the ‘W’ on Senior Night, but more importantly we'd like to have them keep their final season of Cardinal Basketball alive for the next few weeks as we enter tournament play.”

There were many signs to suggest that’s possible.

Wed
26
Feb
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Middleton, La Follette set for Round 3

Middleton and Madison La Follette’s boys basketball teams played a pair of nailbiters this season.

The third meeting promises to be much of the same — only the stakes are much higher.

The Cardinals and Lancers — who split their two regular season meetings — meet in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal Friday at 7 p.m. in Middleton. The Cardinals are seeded third in the regional, while the Lancers are the No. 6 seed.

The winner will advance to a regional final Saturday at 7 p.m., which most likely will be against second-seeded Sun Prairie.

La Follette came to Middleton and won the first meeting, 71-64, in the season opener for both teams. The Lancers outscored the Cardinals, 28-18, in the third quarter that night.

But Middleton rebounded to win at La Follette, 57-55, on Jan. 14. Cardinals senior Max Oelerich had 15 points and eight rebounds in the second game, and Middleton made nine of 10 free throws down the stretch to prevail.

Mon
24
Feb
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Hockey Cards ousted

They had made solid gains in the past month.

They were optimistic that a surprising postseason run was certainly possible.

And for much of last Thursday’s WIAA regional final, it appeared Middleton’s hockey team was poised to surprise Madison West. Then, in the blink of an eye, the Cardinals’ season came to a crushing halt.

West freshman forward Mick Messner scored in the second overtime and propelled the Regents to a 3-2 win. The Cardinals finished the season 10-12-2.

Middleton dropped a pair of games to Madison West during the regular season, including a 5-0 decision just two weeks ago. But this game was far more competitive.

“I think there were a couple key changes,” Middleton interim coach Steffon Walby said. “We were able to watch video from our previous game and then practice what we learned. The second key component is the energy from the bench and the huge positivity and team confidence coming from within.”

Mon
24
Feb
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Hockey opening should draw a crowd

Middleton’s hockey season came to an abrupt end last Thursday, with a 3-2 overtime loss to Madison West in a WIAA Regional final.

Now, Cardinals athletic director Bob Joers will turn the page to next year.

Steffon Walby just finished a five-week stint as Middleton’s interim head coach. And once the hockey postseason ends on March 8, Joers will begin the search for the Cardinals’ next head coach.

“I think it’s a really good job,” Joers said. “I’m expecting a lot of people to apply.”

Tony and Steve Libert, who helped make Middleton’s program a state power in their 21 years as co-coaches, were dismissed on Jan. 17 following a locker-room incident. Walby, a former player and coach in five different minor professional leagues, was brought in to a tough situation and did an admirable job.

Middleton finished the year 4-5-1 with Walby in charge. The Cardinals then won their playoff opener before falling to Madison West.

Sun
23
Feb
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Girls basketball team earns No. 1 seed

Middleton’s girls basketball team received the No. 1 seed in its regional at Sunday’s postseason meeting.

Middleton is 18-3 overall and 16-1 in the Big Eight Conference. The Cardinals have already clinched a share of their seventh league championship in eight years, and can win the conference outright when they host Madison Memorial Thursday.

Verona is the No. 2 seed in the regional, followed by Madison La Follette, Sun Prairie, Oconomowoc, Madison Memorial, Madison West, Madison East and Watertown.

Middleton will open the postseason March 7 when they host a regional semifinal against either Madison East or Watertown. If the Cardinals win there, they’ll host either Sun Prairie or Oconomowoc in a regional final on March 8.

The sectional semifinals are March 13 at Madison Memorial and the sectional finals are March 15 in Sun Prairie.

The WIAA Division 1 state tournament will be held March 21 and 22 at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

Fri
21
Feb
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Middleton girls BB team champions again

 

Their climb back to the top of the Big Eight Conference probably doesn’t seem like a lengthy period to most. To Middleton’s girls basketball team, though, it felt like a lifetime.

After a brief 12-month hiatus, the Cardinals reclaimed the Big Eight Conference title Thursday night, following a 74-64 win over Madison La Follette. It was a position Middleton held from 2007-12, before slipping to fourth place a year ago.

Afterwards, the Cardinals basked in the glow of becoming league champions once again, and how their short-lived trip to the middle of the conference drove everyone a little batty.

“It’s been a long time coming.” Middleton sophomore forward Grace Douglas said afterwards. “I think we’ve really built it up this year, to the point where we know what we need to do. We have the guts to do it, therefore, we just need to do it. We were expecting it, we’re ready for it.”

Wed
19
Feb
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Hockey Cards win playoff opener

Bring on Madison West.

Again.

Middleton’s hockey team rolled past DeForest, 11-0, in a WIAA regional semifinal Tuesday night. The Cardinals will now meet Madison West in a regional final Thursday at Madison Ice Arena at 8 p.m.

The Regents won both games against the Cardinals this season, including a 5-0 contest last Thursday. West also edged Middleton, 3-2, on Jan. 4.

If Middleton upends West this time, it would advance to the sectional semifinals on Feb. 25 against either Madison Edgewood or Waunakee.

“Overall if are going to heat up for playoffs we have to stay out of the box, come together as a team, and really come out and not be afraid to succeed and just play hockey,” Middleton interim coach Steffon Walby said.

The Cardinals certainly did those things against DeForest.

Senior forward Jordan Carey and sophomore forward Griffin Gussel both had two goals for the Cardinals. Middleton finished with a remarkable 78 shots on goal.

Tue
18
Feb
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Swimmers aiming high at state

For two straight years, Middleton’s boys swimming has gone to the WIAA Division 1 state swimming meet and left with a fourth place finish.

When the Cardinals head back to the UW-Natatorium Saturday, they expect no slippage whatsoever.

Middleton suffered some heavy losses after last season. But the Cardinals have turned in another terrific year, and expect another strong showing at state.

The state diving competition begins at 10 a.m. and the swimming championships start at 3 p.m.

“Our team goal would definitely be top four at state,” Cardinals junior Rory Slattery said. “We've done it the last two years and I know we can do it again.”

Middleton senior Lars Haskins agreed.

“For our team, we've been fourth for the past two years and we would love to make it three years in a row,” Haskins said. “Everyone's excited and focused for this Saturday. It should be great!”

Tue
18
Feb
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Boys basketball team routs Sun Prairie

After a disappointing blowout loss to Verona, there were some big questions surrounding the Middleton boys’ basketball team.

Queries about things such as heart and toughness.

Well, any such questions should be put to rest after Middleton, playing with a chip on its shoulder, put together perhaps its finest all-around effort of the season en route to a 54-33 Big Eight Conference victory over second-place Sun Prairie last Saturday night.

“Coach (Kevin) Bavery through the week was talking about how people outside the team were questioning our heart and I think we took offense to that,” said senior forward Max Oelerich. “We played with great intensity the whole game.

“That’s basically the only thing (Bavery) wrote on the board at the beginning of the game was heart and circled it and that’s the key to the whole game. We really played with a lot of heart.”

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.

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