Middleton's girls topple Verona

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MTT News's picture
Adam Hatlan/For the Times-Tribune
McKenna Monogue helped Middleton’s girls basketball team topple Verona on Jan. 23./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

VERONA — Middleton and Verona’s girls basketball teams met earlier this season in a game where the Cardinals struggled with the Wildcats’ 2-3 zone, but eventually prevailed.

Middleton knew it would encounter another battle with Verona — and its aggressive zone defense — during last Thursday's rematch. This time, though, the Cardinals handled things much better.

Fueled by a strong second half from Sitori Tanin and clutch moments from their bench, the Cardinals pulled away in the second half and posted a 59-41 win.

“Verona is always going to battle. (Verona head coach) Angie (Murphy) coaches them very well,” Middleton head coach Jeff Kind said. “They’re going to be scrappers, they’re going to play sound defense. They’re a young team and did a nice job against us.”

The fourth-ranked Cardinals won their sixth game in a row and improved to 13-1 overall and 9-1 in the Big Eight Conference. Middleton is in second-place in the Big Eight, behind undefeated and No. 2 Madison Memorial (15-0, 12-0).

Verona dropped to 5-8, 4-6.

“We know Verona runs the zone, and we don’t face it very often,” Kind said. “We have to get a little bit more experience against it, but we did some nice things against it. We made Verona adjust because we were getting the high-low passes in the first half.”

Tanin agreed, saying the 2-3 zone took some getting used to in the first half.

“Not a lot of teams in the conference play the zone, but we know Verona does. We just needed to adjust,” Tanin said. “By the second half, we realized we could get the ball inside and go up strong in the post, but also kick it outside for threes. Once we got into our pace, our offense worked better.”

Tanin, Middleton’s leading scorer at 16.2 points per game, was held to three first-half points and faced a double-team most of the time in the post. Tanin only attempted four shots in the first half.

“In the first half, our outside shooters hit some three’s and started taking more shots from out there,” Tanin said. “But in the second half once we got the ball inside, I felt like I could take more chances and go up strong with the ball.”

The second half was a different story for Tanin, as she shot 5-for-7 and converted on two, “and-one” opportunities. Tanin tallied 12 second half points and finished with a game-high 15, to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists.

”Sometimes we don’t know how good we have it down low with Sitori,” Kind joked. “If she gets posted up down low and is strong with the ball, there aren’t a lot of people that are going to be able to stop her. We got her the ball down low in the second half tonight.”

Senior guard Evie Coleman added 11 points for the Cardinals, while senior forward Kendall Roquet had 10.

Middleton had some key contributions from its bench as well, notably sophomore McKenna Monogue.

Monogue was held scoreless in the first half, but had seven points in the second half. Monogue drilled a clutch three-pointer in the second half that quieted a Verona run and gave the Cardinals a 39-28 lead.

Monogue then teamed with Tanin down the stretch, as the duo combined to score 11 of Middleton’s final 14 points.

The Wildcats defense made it tough for the Cardinals to get the ball down low in the first half and Middleton attempted 15 three-pointers, as opposed to seven from inside the arc. The Cardinals shot 8-of-22 (36.3%), and committed six turnovers in the first half.

Verona jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but Middleton answered with a 9-0 run and led the rest of the game. Three-point baskets from Coleman and Josie Lemirande contributed to the early run.

Middleton’s lead was 13-8 when Roquet went on a personal 5-0 run, hitting a three-pointer and a layup to put the Cardinals ahead, 18-8. Verona hung with Middleton the rest of the half and the Cardinals led, 26-18, at halftime.

Middleton opened the second half with an 8-2 run to widen its lead to 34-20 less than three minutes into the half. The Wildcats pulled within 45-38 after Verona’s Rachel Parman hit a three-pointer with 7:44 left in the game.

Monogue and Tanin then took over as the Cardinals outscored the Wildcats, 14-3, over the final 7:44 of the game.

Middleton committed just nine turnovers in the game and shot 10-for-20 (50%) in the second half. Contrary to the first half, the Cardinals attempted eight shots from behind the arc and 12 from inside the arc.

“It’s always good to beat Verona on their home court,” Tanin said.

Kind was pleased with the win, but knows his team has room to improve.

“We have to be able to string everything together in a game. We had some stretches tonight where we played really well, but some stretches where we turned it over too much,” Kind said. “Just have to try to keep getting better. On to the next game.”

On deck: Middleton hosts Madison Memorial on Friday at 7:15 p.m., and hosts Madison La Follette on Feb. 4 at 7:15 p.m.

At Verona

Middleton 59, Verona 41

Middleton …... 26   33 — 59

Verona ………. 18   23 — 41


Middleton — Lemirande 2 2-2 8, Tanin 6 3-4 15, Roquet 3 2-2 10, Coleman 3 2-3 11, Bursac 2 3-6 7, Monogue 2 2-3 7, Smith 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 15-22 59.

Verona — Rupnow 1 0-0 2, Briggs 4 6-6 14, Stremlow 0 1-2 1, Witthuhn 2 1-1 5, Murphy 2 3-4 9, Parman 3 0-0 8, Pederson 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 11-13 41.


Three-point goals: MID 8 (Coleman 3, Lemirande 2, Roquet 2, Monogue), VER 4 (Murphy 2, Parman 2). Total fouls: MID 14, VER 17.



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