No. 1 Madison East tops Middleton

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MTT News's picture
Adam Hatlan/For the Times-Tribune
Cole Deptula and Middleton's boys basketball team fell to No. 1 Madison East on Jan. 12./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton’s boys basketball team experienced a tale of two halves on Jan. 12.

The host Cardinals went toe-to-toe with Madison East — the state’s No. 1 ranked team in Division 1 — in the first half of their Big Eight Conference battle and trailed just 28-27 at the break.

The second half, however, belonged to Madison East. The Purgolders put on a defensive clinic and put Middleton in a hole it couldn’t climb out of. 

East switched its defense in the second half, which proved to be too much for Middleton’s offense. The result was East pulled away and notched a 64-47 win.

Middleton fell to 8-5 overall and 5-5 in the Big Eight after losing its second straight game. East improved to 14-0, 10-0.

East won both games against Middleton this season, also winning 62-43 on Nov. 29.

“For the first half we felt really good. We can hang our hats that we played toe-to-toe with them for about 20 minutes tonight,” said Middleton coach Kevin Bavery. “Credit to (East) because they switched to a 1-3-1 zone, which is one of their strengths. If they had played us man-to-man all night, they wouldn’t have been able to stop us.”

Middleton was able to exploit East’s man-to-man defense in the first half, leading by three points late in the period. Middleton attacked down low and used a bigger lineup, which allowed it to match up better against the lengthy Purgolders.

The Cardinals shot 50% (9-of-18) from the floor in the first half, going 3-of-6 from three-point land and 6-of-12 from inside the arc.

“We were moving the ball well in the first, which opened everybody up,” said Middleton junior guard Cole Deptula.

The second half was a different story, though. The Cardinals weren’t able to get ball inside after East switched to a zone defense, which forced them to use a smaller lineup at times and put up more outside shots. Middleton went 7-of-22 (31.8%) on field goals in the second half, going 2-for-12 on three-point attempts (16.7%).

“Second half we just couldn’t get any looks, we couldn’t get touches in the paint. At times we seemed robotic at the top of the key, our guards just passing it back and forth,” Bavery said. “Our guards were under a lot of duress. When our guards are under pressure, our wings have to come to the ball more and our bigs have to step up and get open. We just didn’t do that tonight.”

Middleton didn’t attempt its first two-point shot of the second half until nearly eight minutes into the period — which was missed but resulted in free throw attempts. The Cardinals didn’t attempt another two-point shot until there was 5:49 left in the game — nearly five minutes later — which they made. East forced 11 turnovers during the stretch.

“The beginning of the second half is what really got us,” Deptula said. “We tried to get it inside, but (Jevan Boyton) for (East) was making it really tough to drive or pass it in to high post. We had to figure that out, which we really didn’t do until it was too late.”  

Deptula was a bright spot for Middleton and led the team with 14 points, including 11 in the second half. Deptula finished the night 5-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-4 on three’s.

“Cole had struggled against La Follette, so it was nice to see him come back from a confidence standpoint,” Bavery said. “He hit a few threes and he took the ball to the rim nice a couple times. Good bounce back for him.” 

East junior Anthony Washington typically fills the box score, as he entered the game averaging 18.4 points per game. Middleton held him to 11 points, though.

Instead it was senior guard Montae Thompson who hurt the Cardinals, as the senior guard scored 23 points to lead all scorers.

“Thompson really hurt us tonight,” Bavery said. “He hurt us penetrating the middle, shooting over us, going to the rim baseline and beating us before our rotation could get there. He hurt us coming off ball screens.”

The first half was back and forth, as East held the largest lead at 7-2 early in the game. The teams exchanged leads 13 times in the first half and East took a 28-27 advantage to the locker room. Senior Jake Klubertanz led Middleton with six points at halftime.

East opened the second half on an 8-0 run to go up 36-27 before Deptula drained a three-pointer at the 11:26 mark. The Purgolders’ run grew to 19-5 to start the second half and East went ahead, 47-32, before Klubertanz made Middleton’s first two-point bucket at the 5:49 mark.

Middleton got back to within nine points with 1:34 left in the game, but the deficit was too large to make up against East’s defense.

The game against East marked the end of a tough three-game stretch for Middleton, as it had to face Sun Prairie (fourth in Big Eight), Madison LaFollette (tied for second), and East (first). The Cardinals still have to face Sun Prairie and LaFollette each once more, and also have to face Madison Memorial (tied for second) one more time.

“We showed tonight that when we’re not turning it over, when we’re driving the lanes, and when we’re passing well, we can play with anyone, which we did in the first half” Deptula said. “The second half we struggled, but if we play within ourselves, yeah, we can play with almost anyone.”

Bavery knows that even though the records of some of their upcoming opponents aren’t great — which may seem to favor Middleton — the second half of the season in the Big Eight can prove to be very unpredictable, even against the teams at the bottom of the conference.

“We showed the ability to beat the teams behind us in the standings and not the teams that are ahead of us,” said Bavery. “I can guarantee those games with the teams below us in the standings are going to be a heck of a lot tougher in the second half of the season. There are some hungry teams that have gotten some players back and they will be big challenges. We have to find a way to handle pressure better.”

“(The coaches) talked after the game that we have to work on a lot of the little things: sprinting to screens, sprinting to windows, just a lot of little things,” said Bavery. “Always doing things hard and doing things the right way, those are some things we have to commit to on a little higher level moving forward.”

On deck: Middleton hosts Verona Friday at 7:15 p.m., then faces Muskego at the Luke Homan Showcase tournament at Brookfield Central on Saturday at 2:00 PM.


Jan. 11

Madison East ………. 28  36------64

Middleton ……………. 27  20-----47

Middleton- Patterson 1 0-0 2, Deptula 5 1-1 14, Wirkus 1 0-0 2, Close 3 1-2 9, Boyle 1 2-2 4, Klubertanz 5 2-6 12, Van Buren 0 4-4 4. Totals 16 10-15 47.

East- Jones 3 2-3 9, Washington 5 1-2 11, McKinley 1 5-8 7, Thompson 8 7-11 23, McIntosh 4 0-0 8, Boyton 1 0-0 2, Justice 2 0-1 4. Totals 24 15-25 64.

Three point goals- East- 2 (Thompson, Jones), Mid- 5 (Deptula 3, Close 2). Total fouls- East 15 Mid 20.




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