Middleton girls win regional title

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MTT News's picture
Gregg Hammill/For the Times-Tribune
Evie Coleman and Middleton's girls basketball team won their regional last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Josie Lemirande doesn’t always look for her shot.

But, when she does, look out.

The junior guard unleashed a sharp-shooting clinic as she drilled five 3-pointers, including a halftime buzzer-beater from just beyond half court, to lead Middleton’s girls basketball team to a 60-38 WIAA Division 1 regional final victory over Waunakee last Saturday night.

The long distance shot gave the Cardinals a 28-16 halftime lead and some much needed momentum going into the second half.

“Josie had a nice game for us,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “That was a nice momentum booster hitting that buzzer beater at the end of the first half. That was a big turnaround because they had a layup that could very easily have gone in. It was nice to get that lead going in.”

The second-seeded Cardinals (19-5 overall) advanced to play third-seeded Madison Memorial (17-5) for the third time in a sectional semifinal at Verona Thursday at 7 p.m. If Middleton wins there, it would face the winner of top-seeded Sun Prairie and fifth-seeded Madison East in a sectional final Saturday at 1 p.m. at Janesville Craig.

“We did a really good job as a team,” Lemirande said. “We worked together really well.”

When Waunakee’s Brooke Ehle drove inside and her shot rimmed out, Lemirande grabbed the rebound with about three seconds left and casually dribbled upcourt before releasing a high arching shot just as the buzzer sounded. Lemirande’s shot went straight through, much to the delight of the home crowd.

“I saw the clock running down and some girl came out on me so I just chucked it up over,” Lemirande said. “I got a lot of arc on it and it just went in and I was like, ‘How did that go in?’ ”

Lemirande, who connected on 5-of-7 3-point attempts, said she doesn’t always feel confident in her shot, but Kind encourages her to shoot.

“I was better once they went in,” Lemirande said. “Coach is always telling me to shoot.”

Lemirande said her shot felt good prior to the game.

“It was on,” Lemirande said. “We had a shootaround earlier this morning and it felt really good then and it felt really good in warmups so it just kept going. Hopefully, we can have that and keep going into the next game.”

Lemirande, who comes off the bench to play both the point and shooting guard positions, provided some valuable depth along with junior Kendall Roquet, as starting juniors Sitori Tanin, Evie Coleman and senior Hannah Flottmeyer all battled foul trouble in the first half.

“Evie, Sitori and Hannah all picked up two fouls quickly, but our depth helped us a little bit,” Kind said. “Josie came through and Kendall did a great job defensively for us.”

The Cardinals were especially stingy on defense. Middleton limited Waunakee to just 3-for-19 shooting (15.8%) in the first half and 9-for-43 overall (20.9%). The Warriors (14-10), who lost starting guard Elena Maier to an ankle injury in the opening minutes, connected on seven 3-pointers, but had only two baskets inside the 3-point arc. The Warriors attempted 28 3-pointers in the contest.

“They got a couple threes off, but definitely keeping them out from the inside really helped us,” Tanin said.

“We were playing really good defense tonight, getting in the gaps and hedging and then getting back,” added Lemirande.

Waunakee senior guard Caitlyn Kesilewski hit six 3-pointers and scored a game-high 20 points. Kesilewski also had six 3-pointers and scored 24 points in Waunakee’s 66-51 upset victory over Verona in their regional semifinal the previous night.

“She did knock down some threes,” Lemirande said of Kesilewski. “We had to have a hand in her face, but she just shot over it. You can’t really stop that.”

“We let (Kesilewski) get open a few too many times, but she’s a good shooter,” Kind said. “She’s been on a tear. She had some last night and, I think five tonight, so she’s been lighting it up.”

Waunakee held its own early and led 8-6 when Lemirande nailed back-to-back 3-pointers. After a pair of free throws by Waunakee’s Lauren Statz, Coleman hit the first of her three 3-pointers for a 15-10 Middleton advantage.

A pair of free throws by Kesilewski closed the gap to 19-16, but the Cardinals closed the half with a 9-0 run. The burst included an inside bucket by Tanin, a 3-pointer by Charlotte Dunn and Lemirande’s long trey to close the half.

Waunakee senior Kiana Schmitt, a 6-foot-3 post player, picked up her fourth foul early in the second half forcing her to the bench and the Cardinals took advantage inside. Middleton used a 23-6 spurt that included eight points inside the lane from Tanin to go up 51-25. The run also included a pair of 3-point baskets from Lemirande and five points from Coleman including a 3-pointer.

“Once we see that opening we’re like ‘Okay we’ve got to get in the middle between our posts,’ ” Tanin said of Schmitt’s absence. “We can also drive from the high post, that was open too and I could dish it down, I could dish it to Hannah.”

Waunakee could get no closer than 20 points the rest of the way.

Tanin led the Cardinals with 18 points and eight rebounds. Lemirande added 15 points and Coleman had 13.

Middleton picked up its 11th consecutive victory since losing to Sun Prairie on Jan. 5.

“It feels really good and it was a good game overall,” Tanin said.


Feb. 23

Middleton 60, Waunakee 38

Waunakee.…………..….16  22 — 38

Middleton..……..….28  32 — 60

WAUNAKEE — Kacie Murray 1-5 0-0 3, Melanie Watson 0-5 6-8 6, Elena Maier 0-2 0-0 0, Caitlyn Keslewski 6-13 2-2 20, Kiana Schmitt 0-1 0-0 0, Brooke Ehle 0-3 0-0 0, Anne Dotzler 0-1 1-2 1, Robyn Ryan 0-2 0-0 0, Lauren Statz 0-3 2-2 2, Anaiah Kenas 1-3 0-0 2, Grace Johnson 0-0 2-2 2, Kailee Meeker 0-3 0-0 0, Kate Harlow 1-1 0-0 2, Caitlyn Lunch 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 9-42 13-16 38.

MIDDLETON — Evie Coleman 4-7 2-2 13, Sitori Tanin 8-13 2-4 18, Karina Bursac 0-3 1-2 1, Hannah Flottmeyer 1-6 2-4 4, Charlotte Dunn 2-6 0-0 5, Josie Lemirande 5-7 0-0 15, Kendall Roquet 1-3 0-0 2, Melanie Accola 1-1 0-0 2, Andrea Young 0-0 0-0 0, Megan Schwartz 0-0 0-0 0, Makenzie Hodson 0-0 0-0 0, Brianna Acker 0-0 0-0 0, Margo Motiashova 0-1 0-0 0, Molly Gaab 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-48 7-12 60.

3-point goals – W 7 (Keslewski 6, Murray), M 9 (Josie Lemirande 5, Coleman 3, Dunn). Total fouls – W 12, M 15.



Janesville Parker ........ 15 20 — 35

Middleton ..................... 22 41 — 63

JANESVILLE PARKER — Porter 1 0-1 2, B. Forrestal 2 1-2 7, Graesslin 5 0-0 14, Luek 2 0-0 4, Demrow 3 2-3 8. Totals 13 3-7 35.

MIDDLETON — Coleman 0 1-2 1, Lemirande 2 2-3 7, Tanin 1 5-8 7, Bursac 5 1-3 13, Dunn 1 0-0 2, Flottmeyer 6 4-5 16, Roquet 3 1-2 9, Accola 2 2-2 6, Acker 0 2-2 2.

Totals 20 18-27 63. 3-point goals — JP 6 (B. Forrestal 2, Graesslin 4), MID 5 (Lemirande 1, Bursac 2, Roquet 2). Total fouls — MID 13, JP 20.




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