EVANSVILLE, Wis. - The Turner boys basketball team's dream of a season came with a nightmoare of an ending.
The Trojans (17-8) ran into the proverbial buzzsaw Saturday night against Martin Luther, a super-sized and skilled team that looked more like a college team than one that belonged in a WIAA Division 3 sectional final.
Turner fell 76-41 at Evansville High School in a game that was over from the start. The Spartans hit four straight 3-pointers in the game's first two minutes, and by the time Jordan Majeed finally got the Trojans on the board, the game was already out of reach at 18-2.
Stealing the show for Martin Luther was its third-highest scorer coming into the game: Joey Immekus, who led all scorers with 26 points. Immekus nailed seven treys, five of them coming in a first half that ended in a 46-20 Luther lead.
The second half played out as expected in a game featuring a running clock, and as the final buzzer sounded, Luther celebrated as sectional champions should: Together, surrounded by the trophy, knowing their spot at the Kohl Center is secure.
The Trojans could hardly hang their heads. They had, after all, just finished a season in which they became the first Turner team to advance to a sectional final in the school's history. And they fell to a team that is widely regarded as the favorite's to come home with the gold ball on Saturday.
"I'm just really proud of our kids right now," Turner coach Ken Watkins said. "I thought our guys played really hard and they were classy. We just played a senior-dominated team that was better than us. They could be making their third straight trip to state, with a couple of breaks along the way. They are just a really good team."
As he has all season, Majeed led the way for the Trojans with 18 points, 11 of them coming in the second half.
Junior point guard DJ Wash, who finished with eight points, said his team was well aware of the challenges Martin Luther (23-3) would present.
"We tried to give them the best game that we could," Wash said. "They came out hot. Like coach said, for us to win that game against the best team in the state, they were going to have to play a C-minus game. They came out and played the best they could, so hats off to them."
Despite the loss, Wash said he had no reason to feel down about he season coming to a close.
"I was talking to Jordan, and I told him that I didn't even know if I could cry, after all that we accomplished this season," Wash said. "Freshman year, we barely lost with Alec Fruin's team. Last year, we fell a little short. And this year, what can you be sad about, with all that we did and all the adversity we went through? This was the most fun I've ever had playing basketball."
Immediately following the game, the focus shifted to next season, when the Trojans will return all but two contributors (TyShone Lomax and Steve Dillard) from this year's squad.
"Right after I came off the court, I felt like this happened for a reason," Wash said. "We've got a lot of returners coming back next season, and we're going to work really hard to get back to this spot next year. Hopefully we can end up in the same spot, but the fans will be coming out to celebrate with us instead."
Watkins was singing the same tune, with a message that included a challenge to his returning players.
"I don't want to minimize the job our seniors did for us," Watkins said. "However, we've got a lot of talent coming back. Are we going to stay hungry? On days like you don't feel like staying after school to go in the weight room, are you going to go anyway? How bad do you want it? Would you rather be really good at XBox, or really good at basketball? That's going to be up to them."
• BOXSCORE: MARTIN LUTHER 76, BELOIT TURNER 41
Martin Luther (76)-Evans, 5-1-11; Jones, 3-5-12; Carrington, 7-3-19; Harrison, 3-0-6; Immekus, 8-3-26; King, 1-0-2. Totals: 27-12-76.
Turner (41)-Majeed, 5-8-18; Wash Jr., 2-3-8; Draeving, 1-0-2; Dillard, 1-2-5; Strong, 3-1-7; Lomax, 0-1-1. Totals: 22-15-41.
Martin Luther 46 30-76
Beloit Turner 20 21-41
Three-point goals-Martin Luther 10 (Immekus 7, Carrington 2, Jones), Turner 2 (Dillard, Wash Jr.). Free throws missed-Martin Luther 3, Turner 7. Total fouls-Martin Luther 18, Turner 18.