Turnovers. Missed 3-pointers and layups. Failure to keep opponents off the glass.
A lethal combination of those three factors brought the Beloit Turner girls’ season to a close Tuesday night at the hand of Fort Atkinson in the first round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs.
The 59-50 final score came after a second half in which the lead volleyed back and forth between three and nine points for the final nine minutes, with the Trojans never getting a shot at a tying bucket.
Three-point marksmanship, a strength of Turner’s all season long, betrayed the Trojans in postseason play. They hit just three treys, including just one in the second half as they tried in vain to mount a comeback.
Olivia Tinder, a four-year stalwart for the Trojans, went out with her head held high after leading Turner with 15 points.
“We had a great season and had a lot of great moments,” Tinder said. “We just didn’t get our shots to fall tonight, and that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Tinder was shelved with foul trouble in the first half and was held scoreless. Even so, the Trojans kept it within striking distance, trailing 23-18.
“I thought we did a really nice job with her on the bench,” Turner coach Nick Faralli said. “We were in good shape heading into the second half, because Olivia only had two fouls and was able to play aggressive, and we were within two possessions. But we just couldn’t ever break through and make that run we needed to fully get back into the game. We had some great looks at some three’s, and some layups that we missed. Just one of those nights.”
Tinder tried to rally the Trojans back with 15 second-half points, and Presley Hasse finished with 13, including 10 in the first half.
Turner pulled to within 53-50 with 1:01 to play in the game on a pair of free throws by Tinder, but failed to score again as Fort Atkinson salted the game away with free throws.
Faralli said although the season didn’t end the way he would have preferred, there were a lot of positive memories to take out of this odd, COVID-19-influenced season.
“This group of seniors accomplished so much in their careers,” Faralli said. “They set a new bar for Turner basketball, and did some things that haven’t been done in a long, long time.”
Fort Atkinson head coach Michael Rajsich said his team’s rugged schedule prepared them for a game like this.
“We’ve faced a lot of great teams on the road this year,” Rajsich said. “We played Sun Prairie, Reedsburg, Jefferson, just a lot of really tough teams. So when we faced a scenario where we had to keep from folding, we had a lot of good experience to draw from. I’m just really proud of the way they played tonight.”
Fort Atkinson was led by Tyla Staude’s 26 points, while Taylor Marquart went 11-for-18 at the free throw line en route to 16 points.
Fort Atkinson advances to take on Edgerton. Turner finished 13-7.
FORT ATKINSON 59, TURNER 50
Fort Atkinson (59)—Belzer 1 1-2 3, Marqart 2 11-18 16, Wolfram 1 2-3 4, Staude 7 6-9 26, Kohl 3 2-2 10. Totals: 18 22-34 59.
Turner (50)—Adams 0 1-2 1, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Fitzgerald 3 1-4 7, Pres Hasse 5 0-0 13, Klossner 1 2-2 4, Tinder 5 5-6 15, Pey Hasse 3 2-5 8. Totals: 18 11-19 50.
Fort Atkinson 23 36—59
Turner 18 32—50
3-pointers: Fort Atkinson 6 (Marquart, Staude 3, Kohl). Turner 3 (Pres Hasse)