Middleton has never won a WIAA state title in girls basketball.
The Cardinals have made 11 state appearances, finishing runner-up four times.
Will this be the season Middleton finally brings home a gold ball?
The second-ranked Cardinals once again appeared tournament-ready Tuesday night with a convincing 80-39 Big Eight Conference win over Janesville Parker.
Middleton (18-1, 14-1) used a 22-3 run early in the second half in pulling away.
With the lead eventually reaching 40 at 75-35, the final six minutes were played with a running clock.
Parker (6-13, 3-12) hung tough with a much taller and much more talented team for 20 minutes but shot poorly in the second half and had no answer for Middleton’s transition offense that led to a number of layups.
“We took good shots I thought, but the ball just wouldn’t go in the basket,” Parker coach Jennah Hartwig said. “Our girls played extremely hard and did some good things, but when you can’t put the ball in the basket, it makes it tough.
“And they beat us down the court, and that shouldn’t happen. And if they weren’t beating us down the court, they were throwing passes over the top of us because they’re so much bigger.”
Parker trailed 25-7 with 9:28 left in the first half but outscored Middleton 16-10 the rest of the half to trail 35-23.
Jasmyn Demrow-Calvin, who led Parker with 10 points, scored 10 seconds into the second half to cut the deficit to 10.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, it was all Cardinals after that. A 16-2 run pushed the lead to 51-27, and they followed that up with another 9-3 spurt to push the margin to 60-30 with 10:34 left.
Karina Bursac led three players in double figures for Middleton with 12 points, but eight players had six points or more.
Hartwig, who starred on Parker’s 1993 state championship team, believes Middleton has the right mix to win its first state title.
“I thought (Madison) Memorial was better, but now with one of their best players out for the year, Middleton is certainly capable of winning state,” Hartwig said. “They’ve got everything you want with size, depth and the way they can shoot the ball.”
Parker hosts Madison West on Friday.
MIDDLETON 80, PARKER 39Middleton (80)—Lemirande 2-0-5; Acker 1-1-4; Tanin 2-3-7; Roquet 3-0-7; Bursac 5-2-12; Coleman 4-1-10; Monogue 3-0-7; Smith 4-3-11; Accola 3-0-6; Young 1-4-6; Gaab 2-0-5. Totals: 30-14-80
Parker (39)—Ayers 3-0-6; Booth 2-0-5; Demrow-Calvin 5-0-10; Blum 3-0-8; Forrestal 1-0-3; Shelton 3-0-7. Totals: 17-0-39
Middleton 35 45—80
Janesville Parker 23 16—39
3-point goals—Middleton 6 (Lemirande, Acker, Roquet, Coleman, Monogue, Gaab), Parker 5 (Blum 2, Shelton, Forrestal, Booth). Free throws missed—Middleton 10, Parker 3. Total fouls—Middleton 7, Parker 16