Cards respond to wakeup call
After sensing trouble one minute into a rematch with winless Janesville Craig, which pushed the Cardinals to double overtime in their first meeting, the Middleton High boys basketball coach quickly called timeout to emphasize his pre-game message here Wednesday night.
“When we went down to Craig, we were zero for our first 15 from outside the arc,” Bavery said. “Tonight, it was pretty much déjà vu.
Middleton’s first two shots were errant three-pointers, which led to the quick timeout. After threatening to bench his entire starting five, Bavery’s message finally got through, and the Cardinals outscored the Cougars 29-11 in the second half to earn a 48-26 Big Eight Conference victory.
Craig (0-17, 0-14) used an 8-0 run to start the second quarter for a 15-9 lead. Cody Dare sparked the run with back-to-back three-pointers, while Jon Condon added a lay-up.
Skylar Yaktus ended the run with a steal and lay-up for Middleton, followed by a three-pointer from Sonny Bavery and five straight points by Matt Everson to give the Cardinals a 19-15 halftime lead.
Everson, a Northern Michigan recruit, finished with a game-high 13 points as the third-place Cardinals improved to 10-4 in the conference and 13-5 overall.
Evan Holznecht had 10 points for Craig.
“We were happy with our defensive effort, especially in the first half, to hold them to 19 points,” Craig coach Mike Miller said. “We were not happy with our offensive effort.
“We talked about getting better execution in the second half, and that didn’t happen.”
Middleton, which has won 11 of its last 13 games, had Everson guard Dare in the second half and forced six Craig turnovers as the Cougars struggled to keep up.
For the game, Craig made just 10 baskets.
Holznecht tried to keep the Cougars close with a three-pointer with 5:44 left in the third quarter, while Condon added a free throw to cut the Middleton lead to 24-19.
However, Middleton responded by scoring the last six points of the quarter to start a 24-7 closing run.
“At times, I thought we got good looks, but obviously we didn’t knock them down,” Miller said “We also struggled on the defensive boards and gave them too many offensive rebounds.
“I can’t fault our effort. We just need to execute better.”
The Cougars hope that happens at home Friday against cross-town rival Parker.
MIDDLETON 48, CRAIG 26
Craig (26)—Bordwell, 1-0-2; Condon, 3-1-7; Hayden, 0-1-1; Dare, 2-0-6; Holznecht, 4-0-10. Totals: 4-0-10. Totals: 10-2-26.
Middleton (48)—Coyne, 1-0-2; Adler, 0-1-1; Wipfli, 1-0-3; O’Brien, 1-0-2; Owen, 3-1-7; Everson, 4-5-13; Nelson, 1-0-2; Joyce, 1-0-2; Yaktus, 4-0-8; Bavery, 2-2-8. Totals: 18-9-48.
Janesville Craig 7 8 4 7—26
Middleton 9 10 11 18—48
Three-point goals—Craig 4 (Dare 2, Holznecht 2), Middleton 3 (Bavery 2, Wipfli). Free throws missed—Craig 4, Middleton 4. Total fouls—Middleton.
Sophomores—Middleton 59, Craig 51. Craig scoring leaders—Peter Cooney, 12; Cameron Wright, 11.