Middleton boys roll past Waterford

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Kevin Bavery's Middleton boys basketball team toppled Waterford in their season-opener./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

You only get one shot at a first impression.

Middleton’s boys’ basketball team made the most of their chance last Wednesday.

The Cardinals dominated from start to finish and toppled visiting Waterford, 61-45, in the season opener for both teams.

Middleton senior guard Sam Close led all scorers with 17 points, while senior guard Jack Boyle added 14 points and three assists.

"It was clear early on that we were the better team due to our roster of juniors and seniors and our overall size compared to Waterford,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “They were much younger and although inexperienced, we did have that advantage.”

The Cardinals got solid performances from up and down the lineup.

Senior guard Chandon Thomas came off the bench, scored nine points and disrupted much of what Waterford tried to do offensively.

“There is no doubt that Chandon Thomas was a game changer for us,” Bavery said. “He came off the bench with a great amount of energy and disrupted Waterford's offense multiple times. He gets up and works in the passing lanes, is willing to dive on the floor at any moment, gets deflections. He barely scratches 6-feet tall and he got four offensive rebounds.”

Junior Parker Van Buren started at power forward and had eight rebounds, four points and three assists. Jake Klubertanz added seven rebounds, Cole Deptula had three steals and Keegan Severn had two blocked shots.

Middleton shot 43.1% from the field, while Waterford shot 34.8%.

“Our guard play was solid overall,” Bavery said. “We took care of the ball well early, then got a little sloppy at times. We had close to 20 turnovers and this is a team that needs to be at 10-12 max.

“When things come too easy early sometimes teams get impatient and attack when it really isn't there. One more ball reversal, one great screen, the extra pass — all those things make a big difference in making a good shot a great shot.

“When you are the better team good shots came come in one or two passes, but against great teams even one or two ball reversals isn't enough to start breaking the defense down. So like everyone after the first game there is a long ways to go. The good news is that all of those things are in our control, and it will continue to be an emphasis in practice.”

Middleton jumped to a big lead early and stretched it to 32-17 by halftime. The Cardinals eventually extended their lead to 23 points, before Bavery went deep into his bench over the final four minutes.

Afterwards, Bavery was happy with the Cardinals’ first outing, but knew several things had to improve in the weeks ahead.

“Our bigs did a nice job of going after the ball on the boards,” Bavery said. “We did bring the ball down too much instead of chinning it. Now you go from being 6'7 to 5'10 and guards can get in there and dig and strip the ball away, so we definitely have to be stronger there.

“Defensively we have to continue to work on becoming a great close out team. Waterford closed the gap a couple of times by simply getting open looks. And we have to become a lot better on the ball 1-on-1. In this game when you give up penetration and put your team in rotation mode, or worse in scramble mode, the more open the shots become. 

“And we have to be a high-energy team in all phases. Once we get into the Big Eight Conference the talent level top to bottom won't allow us not to be if we want to compete.”

• On deck: Middleton is at Madison East Thursday at 7:15 p.m., then travels to Verona Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

“The competition jumps way up for us,” Bavery said. “If we can stay in front of the ball defensively, talk like crazy on the defensive end, screen bodies and get inside touches and inside-out action we have a chance to compete.”

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