Girls hoopsters roll at Franklin

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Alyssa Lemirande had 15 points as Middleton rolled past Franklin Tuesday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

FRANKLIN — Alexis Thomas — and the rest of the seniors on Middleton’s girls basketball team — have enjoyed a great deal of success during their memorable careers.

They have collected two Big Eight Conference titles in three years. There was a trip to the 2015 WIAA Division 1 state tournament. And the Cardinals have won more than 84% of their games since the start of the 2013-’14 campaign.

In that time, though, the Cardinals have lost three straight first round games at the Christine Rathke Memorial Tournament held every holiday break at Franklin High School.

“We’ve always come out sluggish here,” Thomas said. “We wanted to change that.”

Mission accomplished.

Middleton unleashed its sensational full court pressure defense and used it to force 35 Franklin turnovers Tuesday afternoon. That, and an efficient offensive attack, helped the Cardinals rout the host Sabres, 85-56, in the first round of the tournament.

Middleton advanced to the semifinals Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. against Kettle Moraine Lutheran. The championship game is Thursday at 3:15 p.m.

“We’ve never done very well here,” said Middleton coach Jeff Kind. “We’ve been really sluggish some years … so we wanted to put the pressure on them right away. For the most part, I thought we did that.”


Thomas had a big game with 16 points, five steals and five rebounds. Senior guard Alyssa Lemirande had 13 of her 15 points in the second half, as well as six rebounds and two steals.

Senior point guard Bria Lemirande had 12 of her 14 points in the first half and added seven rebounds and four steals.

And after Middleton shot just 34.8% in the first half (15-of-43), it got rolling in the second half and shot 58.8% (20-of-34).

Middleton improved to 7-0, while the Sabres fell to 5-4.

“We have so much talent,” Bria Lemirande said. “When we work together, we can really get it going. That’s what happened in the second half.”

That’s for sure.

After a slow start early, the Cardinals hit Franklin with a 14-2 run to go ahead, 20-10. Bria Lemirande had six points during that burst, Thomas added four and Middleton forced five Franklin turnovers in nine possessions.

The Cardinals later used an 11-2 burst to grab a 36-18 lead — their biggest of the first half. White had four points during that surge and Bria Lemirande had three.

But Franklin went on a 10-2 run over the final 2:17 of the first half and closed within 38-28 at the break.

“Yeah, I wasn’t very happy about that,” Kind said. “We got up by 18 and had our second group in.

“But that’s part of the learning process. We can’t have the defensive breakdowns we did. They’ll get better.”

The Cardinals quickly turned things around at the start of the second half. Middleton smacked the Sabres with a 15-0 run in just 2:28 and grabbed a commanding 53-28 lead.

“We wanted to come out strong,” Bria Lemirande said. “We did some really good things with our press and I think we tired them out.”

They sure did.

Alyssa Lemirande had five points during that run, while junior center Halle White and Thomas both added four. Junior guard Tavi Tanin also had a basket.

Middleton shot a remarkable 7-of-7 during its run, while Franklin went eight straight possessions without a point. In that time, Middleton had four steals, forced six turnovers, and the Sabres missed both of their field goals.

After each Middleton basket, it would quickly set up its full court press — and the Sabres simply weren’t equipped to handle it.

“We’re so experienced with the press right now,” said Kind, who has two four-year players on the roster and three players with three years of varsity experience. “They’ve become so good with the press and they’re causing a lot of problems.”

Thomas agreed.

“Having the experience that we do is a huge benefit,” Thomas said. “It’s the same group that’s worked on that press for a long time. And we’re doing it better than we ever have.”

Franklin would attest.

Thomas began the second half with a driving lay-up, and after Middleton forced a turnover, Alyssa Lemirande made a lay-up. Thomas had a steal that led to a lay-up from White, then Thomas had a steal and lay-up of her own to make it 46-28.

After a steal by Charlotte Dunn, White fed Bria Lemirande for a three-pointer. White followed with a steal and lay-up, and a Tanin basket gave Middleton a 53-28 lead.

“That was pretty impressive,” Kind said.

From there, Middleton’s lead never dipped below 19. And the Cardinals kept the pressure cranked up, forcing 20 second half turnovers.

Middleton’s sensational showing was a nice reversal from recent trips to this high-powered tournament.

In 2013, the Cardinals lost their first round game to Oshkosh Lourdes. In 2014, Middleton dropped its first game to Beaver Dam. And last year, the Cardinals lost in Round 1 to Germantown.

The 2013 and ’15 teams went on to win the Big Eight, while the 2014 bunch reached the state tournament.

Now, this group which has championship aspirations, also has a first round win at the Rathke Tournament.

“It’s nice to come in here and play well,” Kind said. “Hopefully we can keep it going.”

• Middleton 76, Janesville Parker 48 — The Cardinals rolled past the Vikings last Thursday.

Middleton improved to 6-0 overall and 6-0 in the Big Eight Conference.

Senior guard Bria Lemirande, an early frontrunner for Player of the Year honors in the league, led all scorers with 21 points. Senior guard Alyssa Lemirande added nine points and junior post Halle White had eight.


Dec. 27

Middleton 85, Franklin 56

Middleton …………….…………… 38  47 — 85

Franklin ……………………………. 28  28 — 56

MIDDLETON — Alyssa Lemirande 15, Alexis Thomas 16, Bria Lemirande 14, Carlee Lemirande 4, Hale White 8, Tavi Tanin 4, Claire Staples 4, Charlotte Dunn 6, Katrina Anderson 4, Hannah Flottmeyer 5, Karina Bursac 3, Haley Dunn 2. Totals: 35 9-15 85.

FRANKLIN — Alyssa Danes 7, Amanda Wachter 1, Megan Lee 21, Madison Schell 5, Marina Rajkovic 8, Quinn Bachofen 11, Isabelle Jardas 2, Jillian Krueger 1. Totals: 19 15-24 56.

Three-point goals — Middleton 6 (A. Lemirande 3, Thomas 2, B. Lemirande); Franklin 3 (Danes 2, Schell)


Dec. 22

Middleton 76, Janesville Parker 48

Janesville Parker ………...……….. 27 21 — 48

Middleton ………………………….. 32 44 — 76

JANESVILLE PARKER — Benway 2 3-4 7, Blaser 2 5-12 9, Forrestal 6-11 6, Graesslin 1 2-2 5, Hartwig 7 1-2 15, Shelton 1 2-2 4, Veguilla 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 19-33 48.

MIDDLETON — Delaney 1-2 1, A. Lemirande 4 1-2 9, Tonnesen 2-2 2, Tanin 3 0-0 6, Anderson 2 0-0 5, Thomas 2 0-3 5, Bursac 1 0-0 2, Dunn 1 0-0 2, Staples 1 2-2 4, Flottmeyer 2 1-2 5, B. Lemirande 7 5-7 21, C. Lemirande 2 1-2 6, White 0-0 8. Totals 29 13-22 76.

3-point goals — MID 5 (Anderson 1, Thomas 1, B.Lemirande 2, C.Lemirande 1), JP 1 (Graesslin 1). Total fouls — MID 23, JP 22.


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