Madison East tops Middleton

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Ian Hokanson (5) looks for room to maneuver during the Cardinals’ loss to Madison East./Photo courtesy of Mary Bavery

This wasn’t the ending anyone wanted.

But the beginning itself has been quite satisfying.

Middleton’s boys basketball team — a unique group carrying 18 players with little to no varsity experience — dropped a 57-56 decision to Madison East last Thursday. But these inexperienced Cardinals, who are also playing a completely new style of basketball, have no complaints about the start of their season.

Middleton fell to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big Eight Conference following its loss to East. And you had told Cardinals head coach Kevin Bavery last month he’d open the season 3-1, he’d have signed on the dotted line as fast as possible.

“Absolutely. Absolutely,” Bavery said. “At the same time, we want to maximize every opportunity that’s presented us and I don’t think we did that (Thursday).”

Perhaps.

The extremely athletic Purgolders (3-2, 3-1) built a 10-point first half lead, before Middleton stormed back and took a 43-39 advantage after three quarters. But East refused to go away, used a 6-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to take a 50-47 lead, and never trailed again.

Middleton sophomore forward Tyree Eady had a team-high 15 points, while senior guard Kellan Schulz and senior center Ian Hokanson both added 10. East junior wing Deang Deang led all scorers with 24 points.

“I’m happy we’re 3-1,” Hokanson said. “Team-wise, we’re making progress. We’re nowhere where we need to be, but I think we can get there.”

Senior guard Brett Joers, who’s quickly become one of this years leaders, agreed with Hokanson.

“Starting 3-1 is really good,” Joers said. “But we’re not satisfied. I think we were probably a little overconfident starting 3-0. Beating Verona (on Dec. 5) kind of validated us a little bit. But this was a setback and we’ll have to bounce back.”

The Cardinals did a nice job bouncing back against an East team that opened the game white hot.

East shot 8-of-14 (57.1%) from the floor in the first quarter and made three three-pointers. Middleton, on the other hand, shot just 4-of-13 (30.7%) in the first quarter and was outrebounded, 10-5.

The Purgolders raced to an 8-1 lead, then closed the quarter on an 11-4 burst and held a 21-11 edge heading to the second. Deang had eight points in the quarter.

“We started way too slow, put ourselves in a hole,” Bavery said. “I don’t think we were complacent, but we definitely weren’t communicating the way we need to.”

Middleton picked up its play in the second quarter. Hokanson knocked down a three-pointer to pull the Cardinals within 23-16, then Schulz had an old-fashioned three-point play to make it 25-16.

Middleton then finished the quarter with four straight points — a tip-in from Joers and two free throws from Eady — to claw back within 28-24 at halftime.

After East scored the first field goal of the third quarter, the Cardinals answered with seven straight points and took their first lead of the night at 31-30. Sophomore guard C.J. Fermanich and Eady both had baskets, then junior forward Cody Markel (seven points, eight rebounds) drilled a three-pointer that put Middleton in front.

East reclaimed a 37-34 lead, but the Cardinals closed the quarter on a 9-2 run and grabbed a 43-39 edge heading to the fourth. Eady had five points during the burst and Hokanson drained a three-pointer as the third quarter buzzer sounded.

“I think we all felt pretty good,” Hokanson said. “But East has a great team. I play with a lot of those guys on AAU.”

East opened the fourth quarter with an 11-4 burst, took a 50-47 lead and never trailed again.

Middleton pulled within one point on four occasions, but never could get over the hump.

With East nursing a 55-54 lead, it was able to milk 1:27 off the clock. Finally, the Cardinals fouled freshman guard Keshawn Justice, who made a pair of foul shots with 11.1 seconds left to give the Purgolders a 57-54 edge.

Cardinals sophomore point guard Storm Murphy tried finding a teammate for a potential game-tying three-point shot, but no one came free. Finally, Hokanson set a high screen for Murphy.

Instead of shooting, though, Murphy fed the ball back to a curling Hokanson. At that point, Hokanson’s only play was to lay the ball in with 0.2 seconds left.

“I rolled to the basket and (Murphy) saw me,” Hokanson said. “I tried to draw a foul, but there wasn’t much I could do.”

Added Bavery: “That’s obviously not what we wanted there. Everyone knew we needed a three. But I will say this: we’ve seen a lot of really good things out of these guys so far.”

That’s for sure.

The Cardinals have bought into the racecar pace Bavery wants to play at. Middleton’s players have adjusted to a style in which they substitute almost like a hockey team — with full line changes at times.

And Middleton’s chemistry and camaraderie have been off the charts.

“We’re all buying in. Everyone’s bought in,” Joers said. “There are a lot of things we need to polish up more, because it’s a whole new thing for all of us. But overall, I think we’re doing a great job.”

So does Bavery, who believes bigger and better things still await.

“We’re just starting to scratch the surface,” he said.

• On deck: Middleton is at Sun Prairie Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The Cardinals also host Nicolet Monday at 7:30 p.m. Members of Middleton’s 1983 and ‘98 state tournament teams will be recognized at halftime of the Nicolet game.

 

Dec. 11

Madison East 57, Middleton 56

Madison East ……..……… 21  7  11  18 — 57

Middleton ………..……… 11  13  19  13 — 56

MADISON EAST — Burks 7, Deang 24, Irby 5, Jones 4, Justice 10, Millon 2, Warren 5. Totals: 20 13-19 57.

MIDDLETON — Bacon 2, Eady 15, Fermanich 3, Hokanson 10, Joers 4, Markel 7, Murphy 2, Ripp 3, Schulz 10. Totals: 18 15-21 56.

Three-point goals: ME 4 (Justice 2, Burks, Warren); Mid 5 (Hokanson 2, Schulz 2, Markel). Total fouls: ME 22, Mid 17.

 

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