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Middleton slips past Franklin

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Gazette staff
March 23, 2011

Middleton High’s top-ranked girls basketball team didn’t have any room to spare in gaining its fourth straight trip to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.


The Cardinals held off Franklin, 61-59, in a nip-and-tuck super sectional Tuesday night at UW-Whitewater to earn a spot in Friday night’s state semifinals at the Kohl Center in Madison.


Middleton (25-1), which has won 25 straight since losing a nonconference opener to Morgan Park, Ill., plays defending state champion Milwaukee Pius (25-1) at 8:15 p.m. Friday.


Franklin, which upended Big Eight runner-up Janesville Craig in Saturday’s sectional finals, rebounded from a 19-9 deficit to keep the heat on Big Eight champion Middleton until the closing seconds. The Sabers (17-9) scored the last six points to triail only 19-15 after the first quarter and were within 33-32 by halftime.


Middleton again surged to a 45-36 lead on Kristen Gunderson’s two free throws with 4:48 left in the third quarter. Franklin then dominated the rest of the quarter to take a 47-45 lead before the Cardinals ended the quarter with Kerry Gardner’s three-point goal to go up 50-47.


The Cardinals led the rest of the way, but never by more than 57-52 with 3:45 remaining. Franklin got within 57-55 with 1:45 to go, but Gardner’s two free throws with 37 seconds left gave Middleton a 61-57 lead that finally proved to be enough.


Jenna Coenen’s layup cut it 61-59 with 15 seconds remaining. Middleton’s two missed free throws and a turnover in the last seven seconds left the door open for Franklin, but the Sabers couldn’t get the tying basket after regaining possession with three seconds left.


As usual, Middleton prevailed with nine three-point goals and a balanced attack, led by 16 points apiece from Gardner and Rachael Eklund. Mariah Hill had a game-high 17 for Franklin.


MIDDLETON 61, FRANKLIN 59

Franklin (59)—Mihalko, 3-2-8; Eickhorst, 3-0-7; Hill, 7-3-17; Atkinson, 2-3-7; Coenen, 5-2-14; Quirk, 1-0-2; Dentici, 2-0-4. Totals: 23-7-59.


Middleton (61)—Passini, 4-0-11; Gunderson, 3-4-11; Staples, 1-0-2; Gardner, 5-2-16; Eklund, 7-2-16; Sullivan, 1-0-2; Williams, 1-0-3. Totals: 22-8-61.


Franklin 15 17 15 12—59


Middleton 19 14 17 11—61


Three-point goals—Franklin 6 (Hill 3, Coenen 2, Eickhorst), Middleton 9 (Gardner 4, Passini 3, Gunderson, Willaims). Free throws missed—Franklin 7, Middleton 1. Total fouls—Franklin 13, Middleton 10.


-- Pius XI 70, Case 61—The defending state champion Popes hammered the Eagles 24-14 in the third quarter to take a 53-36 lead into the final frame of a super sectional at Wisconsin Lutheran College.


Pius XI (25-1) faces Middleton (25-1) in a Division 1 state semifinal at 8:15 p.m. Friday at the Kohl Center in Madison.


Terri Bender scored 19 points for Pius. Nikki Nellen added 16 points, and Ally Matkovich scored 14.


Samantha Logic, an Iowa recruit, scored game-high 23 points for Case.


PIUS XI 70, CASE 61

Pius XI (70)—Borsari, 2-6 5-8 11; Matkovich, 6-17 1-1 14; Nellen, 4-8 4-7 16; Te. Bender, 4-8 11-12 19; Ti. Bender, 3-8 3-4 10. Totals: 19-50 24-32 70.


Case (61)—Bouie, 9-16 0-0 19; Mosely, 1-1 1-2 3; Carter, 2-4 0-0 4; S. Logic, 11-15 1-3 23; B. Logic, 1-5 0-0 2; Collum, 1-1 0-0 2; Woods, 0-2 0-2 0; French, 0-3 0-3 0; Moore, 3-7 0-0 6; Randle El, 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 29-57 2-7 61.


Milwaukee Pius XI 15 14 24 17—70


Racine Case 10 12 14 25—61


Three-point goals—Pius 8-14 (Borsari 2-2, Matkovich 1-2, Nellen 4-5, Te. Bender 0-1); Case 1-8 (Bouie 1-2, S. Logic 0-2, French 0-3, Randle El 0-1). Rebounds—Pius 32 (Borsari 8), Case 34 (Bouie 8). Assists—Pius 10 (Te. Bender 4, Ti. Bender 4), Case 11 (S. Logic 5). Total fouls—Pius 10, Case 21.


(State pairings, Page 2B)



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