BELOIT - Taking advantage of fastbreaks, hitting shots from the perimeter and playing lockdown defense, things were going swimmingly in the early going for Beloit Turner in its home opener against Edgerton Thursday night.
The Trojans were leading 14-6 and looked well on their way to starting the season 2-0 after a season-opening, double-overtime win against Rockford Christian Monday.
When the Trojans went into an offensive slump to let the Crimson Tide back into the game, Turner coach Ken Watkins was alarmed. What he couldn't have known at that point was the Trojans' offense wasn't taking a short rest. It had turned in for the night.
Turner scored just 17 points in the second half, five of them coming in the meaningless final minute with the outcome long since decided and both benches emptied. The final read Edgerton 58, Turner 48, but the outcome felt much more decisive to those in attendance.
The main reason for the unsightly performance after the sizzling start? Shooting woes. After Steve Dillard nailed a trey in the opening minute, the Trojans didn't hit another one until the final minute, when reserve Zach Wilberg banked one home. The Trojans shot just 29 percent for the game and hit just 8-of-20 free throws.
Turner coach Ken Watkins said the team wasn't getting bad shots.
"We missed a lot of layups and we missed a lot of free throws tonight," Watkins said. "We also over-dribbled a lot, didn't set screens real well and did the same thing over and over in our motion offense. When we moved the ball well, we got some good looks, but we didn't consistently move it."
Ferone was the only Trojan who consistently was able to create his own shot, and the Trojans were hurt badly when Ferone picked up his third foul with 10:02 to play, then was immediately was assessed a technical foul,, giving him four fouls and a seat on the bench. Turner trailed just 38-34 at the time, but gave up four straight points to make it 42-34.
Watkins called on Ferone, but the senior picked up his fifth foul with 8:05 to play. Turner never got closer than eight points thereafter.
"Because right now we don't have a lot of guys besides Sereno who can create shots, it's even more important to move the ball," Watkins said. "Keep moving it until someone has an open shot, or at least some space to go around somebody. We didn't let the offense create some of those matchups."
Ferone said he didn't have a great feeling about the way the game would go beforehand.
"We had a really low-energy practice yesterday," Ferone said. "It wasn't very good, we weren't executing well. I tried to get everyone pumped up, but it didn't really work. We struggled with communication on defense and rebounding."
Ferone said rebounding often comes down to a certain mentality, which his team is struggling with.
The Trojans were led by sophomore Dai'Vontrelle Strong, who scored 14 points, and senior Sereno Ferone, who put in 12 before fouling out. Edgerton got 16 points from Jacob Fox to lead the way.