In the immortal words of the great Yogi Berra, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
For the second year in a row, Janesville Craig will be the site of a WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal boys basketball game between Edgerton and Beloit Turner.
The Rock Valley Conference rivals met last year at Craig under the same circumstances, with the Trojans prevailing 57-53 in a barnburner on Bob Suter Court.
Many of the same subjects from that instant classic will take the court tonight.
“It had to be this,” Edgerton coach Daryl Fox said of the matchup. “And Craig is the perfect place to play and the perfect environment.”
Sun Prairie High School was originally scheduled to host the game as part of the postseason schedule set up by the WIAA prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. Evansville hosts Saturday’s sectional title game between the winners of Edgerton and Turner, along with Waupun and Columbus.
Craig athletic director Ben McCormick said he was asked if his school was interested in hosting tonight’s game.
“I got an email from Kate Peterson (WIAA assistant director) asking me about possibly hosting,” McCormick said. “Now, I don’t know if one of the two schools playing had contacted the WIAA about switching sites, but as far as proximity goes and not having as far to travel for both schools, it certainly made sense.
“And we love hosting these type of events. Last year, the atmosphere for that game was electric, and I expect the same Thursday night. I know I’m really looking forward to it.”
Jordan Majeed was the difference-maker in last year’s game. The Turner senior and 2019 Gazette area player of the year was 11-for-14 from the floor and finished with 30 points.
Majeed combined with D.J. Wash Jr., who will also be on the court tonight, to lead the Trojans to an 11-1 run over the final four minutes of the game.
“If the atmosphere is anything like last year’s game, it should be a lot of fun,” Turner coach Ken Watkins said.
“It’s two great teams that know each other very well.”
Both teams have three starters back from last year’s game and are a combined 40-8 on the season.
“It’s Edgerton and Turner,” Fox said. “Not much more needs to be said. It should be another great high basketball game, just like last year.”
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association released a statement Wednesday that girls state basketball and boys sectionals will go on as planned.
“At this time, we have discussed options for continuing to conduct the WIAA Boys Basketball State Tournament. We will continue to discuss all options," the statement read.
“The WIAA Executive Staff has been in continuous discussions with local and state health officials and organizations, as well as other high school associations in the Midwest. We continue to look at all the medical evidence and breaking information regarding COVID-19 to make the best decision possible with the information available to us.
“While circumstances may change, all of the leading health resources we have been working with indicate the best way to proceed is to be overcautious and reinforce the universal guidance and precautions to know your health risk, especially those at higher risk for severe illness; wash hands repeatedly with soap or sanitizer; cover your sneeze or cough; keep hands away from your face; and if you feel sick, stay at home.”
Here’s a look at the Turner and Edgerton game, along with Elkhorn’s bid to make it two straight trips to state:
- Waukesha West (13-11) vs. Elkhorn (20-4), boys, Division 2, 7 p.m. today, at Burlington—The winner plays Stoughton or DeForest in a sectional title game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Oregon.
The Wolverines finished fifth in the Classic Eight Conference, which features several Division 1 teams.
Cam Palesse is the star for third-seeded Waukesha West. The 6-foot-5 junior and Division I recruit averaged 24.4 points a game during the regular season to finish second in the conference in scoring.
“Palesse is a really nice player,” Elkhorn coach Josh Skatrud said. “He does a nice job of creating offense on his own and controlling tempo.”
Waukesha West averaged 62 and gave up 61 points a game.
“They want to grind it out and control tempo,” Skatrud said. “We have to consistently get stops and not let them grind it out. We can’t let them take 35 seconds off the clock on their end and then come down and put up a quick shot.”
The top-seeded Elks hope to continue the postseason magic that saw them advance to state last year for the first time since 1987.
“I think that experience from last year helps us a little bit, no question about it,” Skatrud said. “I don’t think it’s going to be the difference in the game, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.”
Jordan Johnson is the catalyst for Elkhorn. The 6-1 junior point guard, who was recently named to the WBCA Division 2 all-state first team, led the Southern Lakes in scoring with a 24.6 per game average.
UW-Parkside recruit Nick Brown averages 15.3 points a game for the Elks, while senior Devon Davey led the conference in assists at 5.2 a game.
Best guess: Elkhorn 67, Waukesha West 58
- Edgerton (20-4) vs. Beloit Turner (20-4), boys, Division 3, 7 p.m. today, at Janesville Craig—The winner plays Waupun or Columbus in a sectional title game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Evansville.
Turner has never advanced to state, and the last time Edgerton played there was 1941.
Turner won both regular-season meetings. The Trojans won 62-45 on their home court and 40-39 at Edgerton.
“They’ve given us more trouble on the offensive end than anyone else we’ve played,” Fox said. “We’ve got to find different ways to score against them, and that’s a challenge our guys have been working hard on.”
The 39 points against Turner in the home loss were a season-low.
The Trojans have won six straight and 15 of their last 16.
“Edgerton is so well-coached and is as good defensively as anyone we’ve played,” Watkins said.
“I think the one advantage we might have is that we have a little bit more athleticism.”
Senior guard Jordan Majeed (14.8) and senior center Dai’Vontrelle Strong (12.3) are averaging more than 27 points a game, while point guard D.J. Wash led the Rock Valley in assists at 5.5 a game.
Turner will be without Kenny Draeving, who is out for the season with an ACL/MCL injury. The 6-foot-7 senior was averaging 8.1 points a game and had scored in double figures in both wins over Edgerton this season.
Edgerton is also on a roll. The Crimson Tide have won nine straight and 13 of their last 14. Eleven of the 13 wins were by double digits.
“Ever since that Turner game where we scored 39 points, we’ve been much better offensively,” Fox said.
“Turner was one of the few teams we had struggled with on the offensive end, but I think we learned a valuable lesson from those two games.”
Junior Clayton Jenny and senior Brian Rusch—both first team all-conference selections—lead the Crimson Tide. Jenny averages 12.5 and Rusch 12.2 points a game. Senior center Nick Spang also averages in double digits in scoring.
“The thing about this team is that if you take somebody away, we feel like there is someone there to pick up the slack,” Fox said.
Best guess: Turner 55, Edgerton 49