David Heldt went from the outhouse to the penthouse Saturday night.
The Beloit Turner junior went from not getting off the bench in the Trojans’ victory over Madison Edgewood on Friday night to being a prime difference-maker in Turner’s 55-29 victory over visiting River Valley on Saturday night.
The victory gave Turner its second consecutive WIAA Division 3 regional title and sets up a third meeting with Rock Valley Conference foe Edgerton, with the sectional semifinal to be held Thursday in Sun Prairie.
Heldt scored nine of his team-high 11 points in the second half as the Trojans easily pulled away after amassing a 22-12 halftime lead.
“Aside from making me look like a complete idiot, which I’m OK with, I’m super proud of David,” Turner coach Ken Watkins said.
“What he showed tonight, we’ve seen flashes of. But to be honest, it hasn’t always been that consistent. There’s no question he’s a really good player, and tonight he was a huge, huge spark. He didn’t play last night, and I think he was our MVP tonight.”
The Trojans, who certainly aren’t afraid to get the ball up and down the court, proved Saturday they could also thrive in a slowdown game.
“We can play all different type of styles,” Turner guard Jordan Majeed said. “I think we proved that tonight. And the other big thing tonight was the fact that we’ve been here before. River Valley had never really played in an atmosphere like tonight’s. Being at home, we really had the upper hand.”
The Trojans’ lead was 33-23 with 9:48 to play when Alden Tinder (also with 11 points) nailed a trey to put the Trojans up 13. After a bucket by Dai‘Vontrelle Strong, Heldt converted back-to-back buckets to extend the advantage to 19, and the rout was on.
Majeed, a four-year varsity player now with three regional crowns to his credit, said this year’s squad has had plenty to overcome, with Kenny Draeving’s season-ending knee injury the most notable.
“This trophy right here,” Majeed said of the hardware in his hands, “This one means a lot. That ‘2020’ is what it’s all about, because this senior class has worked really hard and fought through a lot to get it. But we’re not done yet. I see us making a deep run.”
Watkins said he was impressed with his team’s overall effort.
“I think defensively we were really good the entire game,” Watkins said. “And we could’ve been better offensively, but especially in the second half, I didn’t see hardly any forced shots or ones you’d like to have back. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but we were patient and eventually got good looks.”
The Trojans swept the improving Crimson Tide during the regular season, but Edgerton has won nine of its previous 10 games and defeated Lodi 61-50 to improve to 20-4 on the season.
TURNER 53, RIVER VALLEY 29
River Valley (29)—Ryan 2 0-0 6, Bailey 1 0-0 3, Nachreiner 1 0-0 2, Jewell 0 2-2 2, Springer 2 2-2 6, Maier 4 2-5 10. Totals: 10 6-9 29.
Turner (53)—Wash 2 2-2 6, Strong 3 3-4 9, Majeed 2 1-1 6, Burrows 1 2-3 5, Marquardt 0 1-2 1, Heldt 5 1-2 11, Carter 1 0-2 2, Tinder 5 0-0 11, Hoppe 2 0-0 4. Totals: 21 10-16 55.
River Valley 12 17 29
Turner 22 33 55
3-point goals—Turner 3 (Tinder, Burrows, Majeed), River Valley 3 (Ryan 2, Bailey). Total fouls—River Valley 14, Turner 15.