All the frustrations of a mediocre regular season were washed away with a brilliant 36-minute performance by Beloit Turner's boys basketball team Friday night in Edgerton.
The Trojans put to use their considerable talent, critical experience and true grit to defeat top-seeded Edgerton in the WIAA Division 2 regional semifinals, emerging with a 61-56 victory.
Turner won't get long to celebrate its landmark victory. The Trojans travel to Monroe to take on the Cheesemakers at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Friday's game was Turner's from the start, with Donavhan Cain and David Heldt each hitting 3-pointers to give the Trojans a 6-0 lead, an advantage they never relinquished.
Danny Burrows drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Trojans a 22-19 halftime lead. It was one of 14 3-pointers for Turner, which is just three shy of the school record.
Konner Giddley's 3-pointer gave Turner its largest advantage of the game at 42-31 with 10:50 to play before the Crimson Tide made their inevitable run.
Edgerton (20-5) kept chipping away at the Turner advantage until Peyton Fox scored with 1:20 to play, cutting the lead to 53-52.
The Trojans responded with the biggest play of the night, with Burrows hitting Grant Revels with a nice dish underneath the basket for a layup.
After Edgerton senior guard Clayton Jenny hit a pair of free throws to again slice the lead to a point, Heldt converted two freebies.
Turner got the all-important stop it was seeking, and Burrows sealed the game with a pair of charity shots with 16 seconds left.
Making the win all the more impressive was the fact that Cain, the Trojans' leading scorer, fouled out with six minutes left and was held to 12 points.
"We knew we couldn't panic when he went out," Heldt said. "Instead of winning it with him, we knew we had to win it for him so he wouldn't feel bad after fouling out."
Turner was led by "Playoff Dave" Heldt's 18 points. Burrows added 13, while Giddley and Cain each had 12.
"We are playing really good basketball right now, and that's a credit to these guys," Turner coach Ken Watkins said. "They have stayed the course and continued to improve. We are a lot better than our record (9-15). We have a tough game coming Saturday, but all you ask is for a chance, and we've got one."
Watkins said Monroe represents a huge challenge.
"They have a 6-foot-8 kid who is going to UW-Green Bay who is awfully good," Watkins said. "They've got a 6-6 kid who is an outstanding player, and they've got a point guard who is as good as any kid we've seen this year. This team is as good as any team in Division 2."
The Crimson Tide were led by Jenny's 18 points, while Konner Knauf added 16.
TURNER 61, EDGERTON 56
Beloit Turner 22 39--61
Edgerton 19 37--56
TURNER: Revels 1 0-1 2, Burrows 3 4-5 13, Heldt 5 4-4 18, Giddley 4 0-0 12, Cain 4 1-2 12, Hoppe 2 0-0 4. Totals: 19 9-12 61.
EDGERTON: Knauf 5 4-8 16, Jenny 3 11-14 18, Hanson 2 2-2 6, Coombs 2 0-1 5, Krause 0 2-2 2, Fox 4 1-2 9. Totals: 16 20-29 56.
3-pointers: Turner 14 (Burrows 3, Heldt 4, Giddley 4, Cain 3). Edgerton 4 (Jenny, Knauff 2, Coombs).