Tardiness, turnovers doom Middleton's boys

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton's Logan Schultz is trapped during the Cardinals' loss to Madison East on Jan. 24./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Timeliness is next to godliness.

Apparently, Middleton’s boys basketball team has yet to hear that old adage.

Cardinals coach Kevin Bavery was set to conduct his pre-game talk last Friday before Middleton met Madison East. When Bavery was ready to begin, though, only seven of his 16 players were in attendance.

“They got caught up watching the freshmen and not paying attention,” Bavery said. “A whole bunch of ‘em were late.”

Things didn’t get dramatically better.

Middleton had 20 first half turnovers and 26 for the game. The Cardinals’ only lead was at 2-0. And East finished the game on a 10-3 surge and notched a 58-49 win over the host Cardinals.

Middleton, which dropped its fourth straight game, fell to 4-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Eight Conference. Cardinals senior center Parker Van Buren had a big night with 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, while senior wing Cole Deptula added 13 points.

East, which improved to 8-3 overall and 7-2 in the league, was without standout Anthony Washington, who is serving a suspension. The Purgolders still had enough weapons, though, and got 20 points from senior wing Keonte Jones and 12 from junior guard Michael McIntosh.

Afterwards, Bavery held a lengthy meeting with his team, hoping to get through as the second half arrives.

“It was a lot about caring, toughness, we touched on a lot,” Van Buren said. “Coach has been giving us the same message the whole year. Hopefully it starts to get through.”

Deptula agreed:

“We have a lot of pieces here,” he said. “We have enough talent to turn it around.”

Of course, being ready to go would help, too.

After several Cardinals were late for the team meeting, Bavery changed his starting lineup and sent two of his tardy players to the bench. Middleton then got off to a predictably slow start and found itself in a 12-4 hole just more than 6 minutes into the game.

“We keep trying to push the right buttons,” Bavery said. “We’re trying to figure out what the spark is going to be collectively.

“Individually, we found a few guys where we’ve found out what they respond to. But we haven’t found that collectively yet to get them all playing at their best, their sharpest. Our biggest competition right now is ourselves. We just fight a lot of things that we’re trying to do.”

Fighting East was an immense challenge, too.

The Purgolders’ intense ball pressure — in both the full- and half court — gave the Cardinals fits.

In the first half alone, Middleton turned the ball over 20 times and managed just 15 shots from the floor. East had 19 transition points off of turnovers and led, 29-23 at the break.

“Tonight was the worst so far this year,” Deptula said of Middleton’s turnover woes.

Bavery agreed.

“Twenty (turnovers) is enough for two games, let alone a half,” Bavery said. “It was all things we talked about, things we worked on. Don’t panic, don’t pick it up, you’ve got to come to the ball. Be alert. You’ve got to ask for help. We didn’t do any of that.”

East pushed its lead to 11 on a pair of occasions early in the second half, the last coming at 41-30 with 11:26 remaining. But the Cardinals — who had just six second half turnovers — made a charge.

Van Buren scored the first eight points in 14-5 run that pulled Middleton within 46-44 with 5:30 remaining. Van Buren scored on a well-designed inbounds play, hit a pair of mid-range shots and drilled two free throws.

“We actually need him to become more selfish,” Bavery said of Van Buren. “When he gets it, he needs to think drop step, score. He should think jump hook and he should be 20-plus (points) a game.”

Logan Schultz and Deptula each drilled a three-pointer to finish the burst as Middleton seemingly had all the momentum.

“We were starting to feel good,” Deptula said. “But they just kept scoring on offense and we couldn't stop them really.”

That’s for sure.

Middleton was within 48-46 with 3:15 left, but East finished the game on a 10-3 burst. The Purgolders scored on five of their final seven possessions, while Middleton went cold down the stretch.

Afterwards, Van Buren was asked if frustration has begun to creep in.

“A little bit, yeah,” Van Buren said. “I mean, that’s a very good team and we were right there. We could have had this one.

“There’s blame all the way around. But as a team, collectively, we just need to be better. We have pieces. We’re a very long team. We have some insane athletes. It’s just fitting those pieces together.”

And making sure they’re on time.

• On deck: Middleton is at Verona (2-8, 2-11) Thursday at 7:15 p.m., then heads to Madison West (3-5, 5-7) Saturday at 7:15 p.m.



Madison East 29 29 — 58

Middleton 23 26 — 49

MADISON EAST (fg ft-fta pts) — Anderson 1 0-0 3, Jones 9 2-6 20, McKinley 4 1-2 9, Fadele 1 0-2 2, Jackson 0 1-2 1, Mcintosh 6 0-0 12, Boyton 2 0-0 4, Puglielli 2 0-0 4, Justice 1 1-1 3. Totals 26 5-13 58.

MIDDLETON — Raffel 1 1-2 4, Bauer 1 0-0 2, Deptula 4 3-4 13, Patterson 2 1-2 5, Huff 1 0-0 2, Schultz 1 0-0 3, Van Buren 6 4-9 16, Ballwig 1 0-0 2, Johnson 0 2-2 2. Totals 16 11-19 49.



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