Beloit Turner has reached uncharted territory.
For the first time in the history of Trojans boys basketball, the program will play for a trip to the WIAA state tournament.
Junior guards Jordan Majeed and D.J. Wash Jr. worked together to put Turner over the top. They spurred an 11-1 run in the final four minutes to rally the third-seeded Trojans past fourth-seeded Edgerton, 57-53, in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Janesville Craig on Thursday night.
Turner (17-7) will face top-seeded Martin Luther (22-3) in a Division 3 sectional final at 7 p.m. Saturday at Evansville High.
“I don’t think we’ve won a sectional game,” said Majeed, who went 11 of 14 from the floor on the way to a game-high 30 points. “So this is huge.
“We prepared hard all week in practice, just tried to go hard every rep. And then being here in this atmosphere tonight was amazing.”
Turner coach Ken Watkins said the program was 0-6 all-time in sectional games coming into Thursday night.
The Trojans looked to be in a bit of trouble against the Crimson Tide, too, with four minutes left.
Majeed had just watched a 3-pointer go halfway through the rim and then bounce back out. And then Edgerton sophomore Clayton Jenny buried a 3 of his own at the other end to give the Tide a 50-46 lead with 4:16 left.
“I just thought our kids were really poised the entire game, even when we fell behind,” Watkins said of a game that featured 11 lead changes and six ties.
Indeed, Majeed remained calm. He took the ball to the rim at the other end, drew a foul and got Turner back within three points.
On the ensuing Edgerton possession, Wash Jr. grabbed a rebound off a missed 3-pointer and drove the length of the floor for a layup that made it 50-49. And after the Tide made a free throw to go back up by two, Wash buried a 3-pointer that gave the Trojans the lead for good, 52-51, with 3:08 left.
“That was my first rebound of the whole game, and I was just like, ‘I gotta go on a break,’” Wash Jr. said. “Then the 3 was wide open, so I hit it. That was big; that was fun.”
A Dai’Vontrelle Strong free throw and another drive from Majeed pushed Turner’s lead to 55-51 with just over a minute left.
At the other end of the floor, the Trojans used the 6-foot-6 Strong at the top of a 1-2-2 zone defense in the final minutes. It worked, to the tune of two turnovers and two missed 3-pointers that helped feed into the 11-1 spurt.
“A 6-9 wingspan? You’re not going to get too many passes over that,” Majeed said of Strong, who returned to the Trojans’ lineup for the past seven games after missing the first 16. “It’s great to have him back. We feel like we can make a deep run. Even deeper than where we’re at.”
Wash Jr. put the stamp on the victory by stealing the ball and calling the Trojans’ final timeout with just over 43 seconds left.
Majeed added a pair of free throws to make it 57-51.
Edgerton’s Kyle Wille made a jump shot with 24 seconds left, and Turner missed the front end of a pair of one-and-one trips to the free-throw line thereafter, but the Tide never got any closer.
Junior Brian Rusch scored 15 of his team-high 20 points in the first half, while Nick Spang added 17 for Edgerton, which finished 16-9.
“It’s who makes a play or not, who makes a shot or not, and they made just enough plays and shots tonight,” Edgerton coach Daryl Fox said. “The game just teetered on a couple possessions.
“But that was everything you could possibly ask for in a high school tournament game. And we’ve done things that no team in Edgerton ever accomplished before, as back-to-back regional champions.”
The back-and-forth battle wasn’t solely contained to the second half. The teams traded the lead five times in the first half before Turner led 29-28. Neither team ever led by more than seven points.
“This group’s been through more adversity this year than any team I’ve had,” Watkins said. “Guys could have been discontented or not happy with their roles. But the players have really taken good care of our culture, and that’s the big reason we’re still standing.”
Now, to reach state for the first time ever, Turner will need to solve Martin Luther in a battle between two of Division 3’s hottest teams. Turner has won nine of its last 10 games, with the only loss to D2 East Troy. Martin Luther has won nine in a row and 15 of 16 in the 2019 calendar year.
“It’s fun to be on this ride,” Wash Jr. said. “Hopefully we can finish it out.
TURNER 57, EDGERTON 53
Turner (57)—Majeed 11-4-30, Wash Jr. 4-0-11, Draeving 2-0-4, Dillard 1-0-3, Strong 2-3-7, Hoppe 1-0-2. Totals: 21-7-57.
Edgerton (53)—Jenny 3-0-8, Hanson 1-0-3, Rusch 8-0-20, Wille 1-2-4, Spang 6-5-17, Norland 0-1-1. Totals: 19-8-53.
Beloit Turner 29 28—57
Edgerton 28 25—53
3-point goals—Turner 8 (Majeed 4, Wash 3, Dillard), Edgerton 7 (Rusch 4, Jenny 2, Hanson). Free throws missed—Turner 5, Edgerton 4. Total fouls—Turner 12, Edgerton 12.