BELOIT — Pressure was the name of the game Tuesday night in Beloit.
Once the Turner Trojans ratcheted up the defensive pressure, visiting Jefferson simply couldn’t handle it, leading directly to the Trojans’ 43-34 victory.
It took a while for Turner’s full-court press to be a game-changing element.
The Trojans (2-2) didn’t get on the board until 10:59 remained in the first half. Olivia Tinder’s transition bucket cut the Eagles lead to 7-2.
After another Eagle basket made it 10-2, the Trojans made their move, going on a 15-3 run highlighted by eight points from Jenn Njoo.
Once Turner took the lead, they wouldn’t relinquish it. The margin was 22-15 at halftime, and Turner slowly extended the advantage, leading 36-22 with 6:30 to play. The closest the Eagles got the remainder of the game was the final score, with the Trojans finishing an impressive 19-for-26 at the free throw line.
“The press was certainly the difference in the game,” Jefferson coach Mark Peterson said. “You’ve got to give Turner a lot of credit. They came out and turned it up on us, and we had way too many turnovers that led to easy baskets. In a game this low-scoring, you just can’t afford to do that.”
Tinder led the Trojans with 14 points, while Ainsley Howard was the only Eagle in double figures with 15 points.
Turner coach Nick Faralli said he believed if given the chance, his team would execute the press well.
“We saw on film how well they executed in the half-court game,” Faralli said. “And they have a big size advantage on us, and we thought they might be able to hurt us inside on a half-court game. So we really wanted to make it a full-court game and make their bigs run the floor. They didn’t get the chance to run the half-court offense because they were worried about just getting it into the front court first.”
Tinder said she enjoys playing the up-tempo style.
“It’s a lot of fun to play that way,” Tinder said. “When we get a turnover, it really fires us up, and when we play with that kind of energy, we can be really tough.”
Njoo added 11 points, including a solid 6-for-7 performance at the free-throw stripe.
“For us it’s all about staying together and playing with confidence,’ Njoo said. “I know what this team has the potential to do. We just have to have everyone be all in on it. We talk all the time at practice about this being a family, and I love my family.”
Faralli said the win over Jefferson could be a critical confidence-booster.
“This was just a huge win for us,’ Faralli said. “Especially after a double-overtime loss to Whitewater the last time out, it was important to get the home win and now give yourself a chance to sweep the week.”
The Trojans will travel to winless East Troy Friday at 7 p.m., while Jefferson will host Clinton.
TURNER 43, JEFFERSON 34
Jefferson 17 17 — 34
Turner 22 21 — 43
Turner (fg-ftm-pts) — Fitzgerald 1 1-2 3, Young 0 1-2 1, Windsor 0 2-2 2, Klossner 1 0-0 3, Njoo 2 6-7 11 Tinder 3 8-12 14, Wilson 2 1-1 5, Hasse 1 0-0 2. Totals: 10 19-26 41.
Jefferson — Madden 2 2-2 7; Messmann 0 1-3 1, Howard 4 6-11 15, Dearborn 0 1-2 1, Helmink 1 1-2 3, Johnson 0 1-2 1, Peterson 1 2-2 4, Beck 1 0-0 2. Totals: 9 14-24 34.
3-pointers — J 2 (Madden, Howard). BT 2 (Klossner, Njoo). Total fouls — BT 19, J 20.