Middleton wins holiday tournament

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Cam Maly and Middleton's boys basketball team won their own holiday tournament last week./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

It appeared to be over.

Their holiday break was set to start. And Middleton’s boys basketball team seemed certain to have its time off spoiled.

The Cardinals trailed Monona Grove, 57-47, with 1:43 left in the championship game of the Middleton Holiday Tournament last Tuesday.

Then, amazingly, Middleton finished the game on a 13-0 run. And the Cardinals stunned the Silver Eagles and notched a 60-57 win.

With several alumni on hand to watch the dramatics, Middleton improved to 6-1 overall and is 3-1 in the Big Eight Conference. The Cardinals then had 12 days off before they travel to Madison Memorial Saturday.

“Any time you make a miraculous comeback everything, or almost everything, has to go right,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said.

And that was certainly the case for the Cardinals.

Trailing by 10, senior center Ian Hokanson — who led Middleton with 22 points — made the first of two free throws with 1:43 left. Hokanson missed the second, but junior forward Cody Markel grabbed the rebound.

Markel fed Hokanson, who scored and was fouled. Hokanson then made the free throw, completing the four-point play and pulling the Cardinals within 57-51.

Monona Grove missed a pair of foul shots. Then Cardinals point guard C.J. Fermanich (12 points) found Storm Murphy for a three-pointer that pulled Middleton within 57-54 with 1:20 remaining.

Coming out of a timeout, Middleton junior guard Cam Maly had a steal and fed Fermanich for a lay-up to pull the Cardinals within 57-56.

“That’s Cam,” Bavery said. “I had told him that he allowed (the) middle the time before and to anticipate and make a play. You rarely have to tell him anything twice.” 

The Silver Eagles ran some clock, then worked the ball low for a potential lay-up. But Markel blocked the shot, grabbed the rebound and was fouled.

Markel then drilled both free throws with 24 seconds left to give Middleton a 58-57 lead.

The Silver Eagles missed a pair of potential game-winning shots. Hokanson was fouled and made both free throws to cap a thrilling come-from-behind win.

“What was most impressive to me was watching the film and seeing all the incredible effort plays made in the final two minutes,” Bavery said. “Scary to think what a team could possibly be if that was there for 32 minutes every game. And of course that’s the challenge, to continually work to get closer and closer to that point.”

It certainly wasn’t easy against a solid Monona Grove team.

Middleton senior guard Kellan Schulz (10 points) had a pair of three pointers in the first quarter as the Cardinals raced to a 15-11 lead. But the Silver Eagles had a big second quarter and surged to a 26-25 halftime lead.

“MG plays 10-11 guys and they have great balance,” Bavery said. “They were easily the physically strongest team we’ve faced, and that combination allowed them to switch a lot of our ball screens, which bothered us early.

“We dribbled too much without a purpose and didn’t take advantage of making the extra pass that would have led to move post feeds. No matter how anyone chooses to play the game you have to have paint touches.”

Hokanson erupted for 11 third quarter points. But Middleton shot just 3-of-8 from the free throw line in the quarter as Monona Grove took a 45-38 lead.

The Silver Eagles eventually stretched that lead to double digits. But Middleton produced a rally for the ages — despite an uneasy feeling from their head coach.

“I remember thinking we had two key misses about a minute earlier and thought ‘That was it,’ ” Bavery said. “Often times you’ll get a gut feeling that … you’re going to win the game or you’re just not going to quite get over the hump. Fortunately my instinct was wrong and we were about to witness the most amazing late game comeback that I think I’ve ever been a part of.”

Things were much easier the previous night when Middleton rolled past Glendale Nicolet, 73-54.

Fermanich led the Cardinals with 13 points, while sophomore forward Tyree Eady added 12 and Schulz had 10.

Middleton shot 8-of-12 on three-point attempts in the first half and raced to a 41-23 lead at the break. Senior guard Tyler Ballweg had three three-pointers in the first half.

“We’ve been getting the looks we want, but until the Sun Prairie game hadn’t hit a real high percentage,” Bavery said of Middleton’s three-point prowess.

Nicolet pulled within 51-38 after three quarters. But the Cardinals pulled away in the fourth.


Dec. 23

Middleton 60, Monona Grove 57

Monona Grove ……………….. 11  15  19  12 — 57

Middleton ………………………. 15 10 15 20 — 60

MONONA GROVE — Beilke 2, Kelsey 5, Maier 5, Mueller 5, Nelson 6, O’Donnell 12, Riley 3, Stinson 9, Thomas 10. Totals: 21 13-20 57.

MIDDLETON — Bacon 2, Eady 6, Fermanich 12, Hokanson 22, Markel 3, Murphy 3, Ripp 2, Schulz 10. Totals: 17 20-33 60.

Three-point goals — M 6 (Hokanson 3, Schulz 2, Murphy), MG 2 (Kelsey 1, O’Donnell 1). Total fouls — M 19, MG 26.


Dec. 22

Middleton 73, Nicolet 54

Nicolet ………………………….. 10  13  15  16 — 54

Middleton ………………………. 19 22 10 22 — 73

NICOLET — Burton 15, Dodroochi 4, Fears 1, Glidden 15, Harris 2, Walker 9, William 7, Young 1. Totals: 19 12-19 54.

MIDDLETON — Bacon 4, Ballweg 9, Collien 3, Easy 12, Fermanich 13, Hokanson 2, Joers 2, Maly 2, Markel 6, Murphy 3, Ripp 2, Ross 1, Schulz 10, Thomas 4. Totals: 25 14-20 73.

Three-point goals — M 9 (Ballweg 3, Schulz 2, Murphy 1, Thomas 1, Eady 1, Collien 1), N 4 (Glidden 3, Burton 1). Total fouls — M 19, N 19.



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