Sun Prairie has played four teams ranked in the Associated Press Wisconsin Prep Girls Basketball poll this season and unfortunately, the Cardinals have lost all four of those highly-contested games.
In Thursday’s Big Eight Conference showdown with fifth-ranked Middleton second place was on the line, as both Cardinal teams entered play with identical 6-1 records. Following a defensive first half, Middleton, behind the play of all-conference senior forward Sitori Tanin, pulled away from ninth-ranked Sun Prairie to earn a 48-28 victory.
“We played four of the top 10 teams in the state, and those are our four losses,” said Sun Prairie head coach John Olson. “We look at the positives, it was only 19-15 at the half against the No. 5 team in the state. As young people sometimes they don’t put positive things into perspective, so every game against a team like this tells you what you have to do to get to that point.”
Tanin, a Loyola University commit who was held scoreless in the first half, scored the first nine points of the second half as Middleton (11-1 overall, 7-1 Big Eight) built a 13-point lead.
Senior Evie Coleman’s 3-pointer extended the half-opening run to 12-0, before Sun Prairie freshman Antiounique Auston ended it with a pair of free throws with 11 minutes, 5 seconds remaining.
Tanin finished with a game-high 17 points.
The loss capped off a week where shooting just didn’t go Sun Prairie’s way. After shooting just 25 percent in a non-conference loss at Oconomowoc Tuesday, the Cardinals shot a season-worst 22 percent, including going 0-of-13 from 3-point range.
“We missed some close shots that we usually make,” Olson said. “What can you say: they ran the stuff and got to the position to score, but the shots didn’t go down.”
With Tanin in early foul trouble Sun Prairie took full advantage in the first half. Auston scored four points during a 6-0 run to give the Cardinals a 14-12 advantage with 5:41 to go in the first half.
Middleton closed things out with a 7-1 run, keyed by six Kendall Roquet points, to lead 19-15 at the break.
“The 19-15, I’m going to take that,” Olson said. “That’s a very good basketball team and we played with them for that half.”
Middleton held Jazzanay Seymore, Sun Prairie’s leading scorer, to a season-low two points, 14 under her average. Seymore did lead her team with eight rebounds.
Auston paced Sun Prairie with 12 points while adding six rebounds.
“We kind of lost our composure in the second half — when you get down by 10 you start throwing up shots — I thought our shot selection was not good.”
While Middleton moved into sole possession of second place in the Big Eight, Sun Prairie fell into a tie with Janesville Craig for third place.
“We need to stay focused,” said Olson. “We’ve got to move on.”
WEST GAME POSTPONED
Saturday’s Big Eight game with Madison West was postponed by weather.
No make-up date has yet been set.
Sun Prairie steps out of conference play Tuesday traveling to Madison Edgewood to face the Crusaders. The Cardinals will remain on the road Friday heading to the west side of Madison to face Big Eight-leading and second-ranked Madison Memorial
Both games tip off at 7:15 p.m.
MIDDLETON 48, SUN PRAIRIE 28
Middleton 19 29 — 48
Sun Prairie 15 13 — 28
Middleton (fg-ft-pts) — Lemirande 1-0-2 Tanin 8-0-17, Roquet 3-4-10 Coleman 2-2-7, Gaab 0-2-2, Bursac 4-1-9, Smith 0-1-1. Totals — 18 10-22 48.
Sun Prairie — Antony 0-3-3, Kostelnik 1-0-2, Strey 1-1-3, Alexander 1-0-2, Outlay 1-0-2, Auston 5-2-12, Jones 1-0-2 Seymore 1-0-2. Totals — 11 6-8 28.
3-point goals — M 2 (Tanin 1, Coleman 1), SP 0. Total fouls — M 11, SP 20.