MHS girls roll past Madison Memorial

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Gregg Hammill/For the Times-Tribune
Evie Coleman and Middleton's girls basketball team rolled past Madison Memorial on Jan. 25./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Beating a conference rival twice in a season is never easy, especially when both teams are in contention for a league title and the rematch is on the road.

Middleton’s girls’ basketball team faced that challenge when it traveled to Madison Memorial for a pivotal Big Eight Conference battle last Friday night.

“This game I felt like we had that much more intensity because we knew it’s a home game (for Memorial), they’re going to bring up their intensity and they’re really going to want to get out there and beat us,” Middleton junior Sitori Tanin said. “We just had to bring it up that one more level.”

The Cardinals brought it up one more level — and then some — as they cruised past the Spartans, 63-37. Middleton improved to 11-5 overall, 10-2 in the league and moved into second place in the Big Eight, 1½ games behind first-place Sun Prairie (12-1).

Memorial slipped to fourth in the conference at 12-5 and 9-4. Madison La Follette (10-3 league) is third in the conference.

The Spartans connected on just 27.1% of their field goals (16-of-59) in the contest, including 11.1% from 3-point range (2-for-18), and had 20 turnovers.

“I thought, all in all, we had a pretty nice defensive effort,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “We didn’t give them a lot of easy things.”

The Cardinals used a defensive switch to pull away early in the second half.

“The first half we were all man,” Kind said. “The second half we came out and used our 1-3-1 a little bit. They were struggling with it so we mixed it in there a little bit more and then tried to go man-to-man once in awhile, but a pretty good defensive effort. I was pretty pleased with that.”

The switch from a man-to-man defense to a zone defense forced the Spartans into several turnovers and sparked a 9-0 run that gave the Cardinals a commanding 43-23 lead.

“We went into our 1-3-1,” Tanin said. “Up to that point we had been playing our man and then we jumped into our 1-3-1 and it threw them off guard. We went into it for a couple of sessions then jumped back into our man and that really threw them off.”

Tanin started the run with a basket off the glass. Junior Evie Coleman followed with a 3-pointer after an offensive rebound by senior Hannah Flottmeyer and junior Kendall Roquet converted a 3-point play after being fouled on a putback.

The Cardinals showed off their hustle during the surge as Flottmeyer scrambled to rebound a miss by Tannin, then quickly found Coleman for an open 3-pointer.

“We work on that a lot at practice doing inside out passes like that,” Coleman said. “They call it ‘open window’ and the person in the corner is supposed to rise and catch that 3-pointer so it literally worked out just how we practice it. That whole play is just repetition.”

Much like their previous contest vs. Memorial — a 67-46 victory on Dec. 6 — the Cardinals used an inside-outside attack with post-players Tanin, junior Karina Bursac and Flottmeyer controlling the inside and Coleman connecting from outside.

“She’s probably our best 3-point shooter,” Kind said. “The big thing for her is to be in the right position to get some open shots.”

Coleman led the Cardinals with 16 points and connected on three 3-pointers. She also had 16 points with four 3-pointers vs. Memorial in the first meeting.

“I knew I was going to get really tightly defended in this game just because I had four 3-pointers against them last time, so I really wasn’t expecting to get a lot of open 3-pointers in the game,” Coleman said. “But my teammates did a really good job of driving in gaps and opening that shot for me.”

Tanin picked up two early fouls and had to sit out much of the first half, but still managed to score 14 points.

“I got a bit frustrated because they were early fouls,” Tanin said. “When I went back in I was like, ‘I’ve got to play solid defense, I can’t let these fouls get to me and I’ve got to play to the refs.’ ”

Tanin picked up her second foul with 15 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the half and didn’t return until the 6:01 mark.

“(Tanin) picked up a couple of quick ones there,” Kind said. “We had some kids come in and do a nice job when she was out. We were able to weather that.”

Tanin scored four points and Bursac scored all five of her points in the opening minutes of the game to give Middleton a 9-2 advantage. A 3-point play and layup by Coleman and a free throw by Tannin pushed the lead to 19-8. The Spartans closed within 25-19 on a pair of free throws by Cynthia Rosales and a 3-pointer by Abby Wilson, but Flottmeyer converted a layup to give Middleton a 27-19 lead at halftime.

Coleman drilled a 3-pointer to start the second half and the teams traded baskets until Middleton’s decisive 9-0 run which gave them a 20-point cushion with 11:33 remaining. The Spartans couldn’t get closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

There was a scary moment late in the game when Middleton junior Josie Lemirande scrambled to control a loose ball and Rosales charged into her at midcourt. The girls appeared to knock heads and crashed to the floor, but both were okay. Lemirande, who was fouled, calmly converted her first foul shot.

“I was pretty shook (up) after that,” Lemirande said. “I just had to get up and keep playing. I played through it.”

Memorial continued to miss Leilani Kapinus who was their leading scorer before suffering a season-ending knee injury in November.

“That hurts them a ton,” Kind said of Kapinus’ absence. “They’re real small without her and she’s such a good player she makes everybody else better around her. They’re going to be a great team next year.”

After notching a third consecutive victory, Lemirande is hoping the Cardinals can keep it going with six conference games remaining including key matchups against Sun Prairie and Madison LaFollette to close the season.

“We’re going really good,” Lemirande said. “We really stepped it up from the beginning of the season. We knocked down a few shots, Evie knocked down a few shots this game and our bigs are pretty solid.”

Jan. 25

Middleton 63, Madison Memorial 37

Middleton.…………….27  36 – 63

Memorial..……..….19  18 - 37

MIDDLETON – Charlotte Dunn 0-2 2-2 2, Karina Bursac 2-10 1-2 5, Sitori Tanin 4-10 6-8 14, Hannah Flottmeyer 3-8 1-2 7, Evie Coleman 6-9 1-2 16, Melanie Accola 1-2 0-0 2, Josie Lemirande 2-3 1-3 5, Megan Schwartz 0-0 0-2 0, Kendall Roquet 3-7 1-1 7, Makenzie Hodson 1-2 1-2 3, Brianna Acker 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-54 14-24 63.

MADISON MEMORIAL – Charlotte Sweet 0-8 0-0 0, Daiysha Brown 1-6 0-1 2, Emmoni Rankins 8-14 0-2 16, Liliana Garcia 1-5 0-0 2, Cynthia Rosales 2-6 2-2 6, Abby Maier 1-2 0-0 2, Maya White Eagle 1-9 0-0 3, Abby Wilson 2-5 1-2 6, Reete Thorns 0-3 0-0 0, Brooke Peters 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-59 3-7 37.

3-point goals – M 3 (Coleman 3), MM 2 (White Eagle, Wilson). Total fouls – M 12, MM 23. Fouled out – Rosales.


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