BELOIT - Don't talk to Beloit Turner's Trojans about storms.
They faced a perfect one Thursday night.
With their game moved up to 5:45 p.m. to beat a forecasted dumping of snow, the Trojans came out shooting ice cold against a 19-1 Jefferson team which prides itself on playing stingy defense. Throw in early foul trouble for leading scorer Carson Nitz and you had the recipe for a dismal seven-point first half.
The Rock Valley Conference-leading Eagles didn't exactly light it up either, leading 15-7. They went up 23-7 to open the second half and finally fought off a late Turner comeback to win 47-32.
"The reason we've been successful this year starts with our defense," Jefferson head coach Nick Mueller said. "We knew coming in this would be a tough environment to play in and then we had the situation of having to play a little early. I was really pleased with the way our kids came out with a lot of energy and we stifled them defensively.
"We had some breakdowns in the second half, but it was still a nice win for us."
The Trojans started out OK, leading 5-illi was impressed. 1 before Jefferson went up 9-5. Turner's Nitz cut it back to 9-7 with a jumper with 9:58 remaining before the break.
The problem was that Turner did not score again in the half.
"Collectively we do a nice job," Jefferson's Mueller said. "We have some quick guards and a little bit of length down low. We knew Nitz would put her head down and she would want to get to the rim. So we tried to clog up the middle and make life miserable for both her and (Olivia) Tinder."
Nick Faralli was impressed.
"The first half was challenge," the Turner head coach said, "It was a combination of things. Jefferson did a great job taking away any lanes to the basket for us. We got a handful of good looks from the outside and the ball just didn't fall early. We were missing from the outside and they got tighter taking away the penetration opportunities for us."
Down 23-7, the Trojans got back-to-back triples to fall by NItz and Mara Fowler to close within 10.
"It took a couple of jumpers to fall in the second half before we got started rolling a little on offense," Faralli said.
The Trojans (10-9, 7-9) kept closing the gap, using a 7-0 run capped by Tinder's two free throws to come within five at 25-20 with 7:11 left.
During a timeout, Mueller reminded his team how they got the lead in the first place.
"We had to get back to the basics," he said. "We had to take care of the basketball and get back on defense and not leave their shooters open. Our kids did a nice job responding and eveutually sealing the game with ballhandling and free throws."
First, though, they got senior Parker Fetherston to drain a 3-pointer. That started a 7-0 run for the Eagles that put them back in charge the rest of the way.
"It was tough," Faralli said. "We get a stop at five and get a bucket and we're right there, but give them credit. Their senior steps up and hits a big three to stretch it right back to eight."
Fowler ended up leading the Trojans with nine points. Nitz and Tinder had eight apiece.
The Eagles (15-1 in the RVC) put three players in double figures: Callie Morrison (13), Fetherston (11) and Emilee Truman (10).