Purple Knights hold off Tremper in sectional semifinals
Grab a double-digit lead, squander it away by taking ill-advised shots and recover in time to get a win.
That was the case again Friday night in the Purple Knights’ biggest game of the season.
Beloit saw a 15-point third-quarter lead disappear but made six free throws in the last minute of the game en route to a 58-49 win over Kenosha Tremper in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal game at Janesville Craig.
The Purple Knights (17-5) play Elkhorn (20-2) in tonight’s sectional final game at 7.
Although the Purple Knights didn’t win any style points for their up-and-down performance Friday, coach Jay Bryant wasn’t complaining afterward.
“A win’s a win right now,” he said. “We didn’t put together two halves, but fortunately, we had enough left at the end.
“We got in too much of a hurry in the second half, and in turn, started taking quick shots and turning the ball over. Hopefully, we learned from this.”
Beloit was on cruise control early in the second half after Jahlil Smith hit a runner in the lane to push the lead to 36-21 with 5:35 left in the third quarter. Tremper (15-8) answered, however, with a 10-0 run to trim the lead to five.
The fourth quarter belonged to Tremper sophomore Darell Longstreet, a superstar in the making. The 6-foot-1 guard scored the Trojans’ first 11 points of the quarter on a variety of dazzling moves to the basket, and his driving layup with 3:01 left to play tied the game at 46-46.
“Longstreet’s a heckuva player for a sophomore,” Bryant said. “He’s good now, but he’s going to be really good.”
With the game tied, Beloit’s Marshall Davis took over down the stretch. The 6-5 senior’s three-point play with 1:01 left left gave the Purple Knights a 51-47 lead, and he added three free throws in the last 25 seconds to clinch the victory.
Tremper managed only three points the last three minutes.
“Sometimes we walk in thinking it’s going to be an easy win and we’ve got to stop doing that,” Davis said. “Our defense was good tonight, and we got a big lead, but then we let up.
“But we won, and now we’ve got a chance to get to state. That’s what we’ve been playing for all season.”
Davis led four Beloit players in double figures with 17 points, while Longstreet led all scorers with 19.
BELOIT 58, TREMPER 49
Beloit (58)—Evans, 6-0-13; Parks, 4-4-12; Davis, 5-7-17; Young, 2-1-5; Smith, 4-0-11. Totals: 21-12-58.
Tremper (49)—Longstreet, 9-1-19; Bunch, 3-1-7; Williams, 4-3-11; Savaglio, 5-0-10; Johnson, 1-0-2. Totals: 22-5-49.
Beloit Memorial 14 18 10 16—58
Kenosha Tremper 8 11 16 14—49
Three-point goals—Beloit 3 (Smith 2, Evans). Free throws missed—Beloit 7, Tremper 4. Total fouls—Beloit 13, Tremper 17.