Beloit Jr. Trojans finish as NCAA Runners-Up
BELOIT – The Beloit Jr. High A-team Trojans ended their 2020 season at 8-4 as NCAA tournament Runners-Up after a final loss to Southeast of Saline on Dec. 19.
Beloit defeated Minneapolis in the semi-finals after both teams were evened out 8-8 in the opening quarter. The Lions outscored the Trojans 4-2 in the second quarter as Beloit trailed 12-10 at halftime. Beloit came out scoring 4-2 in the third quarter and 12-10 in the fourth quarter for the close 26-24 win to advance into the championship game.
"We came out and played with a lot of energy and put a solid game together and the third time was a charm as we came up short to them in previous competitive games," said Beloit Coach Keith Kresin. "Our defense lead us to a nice win against a very quick and aggressive Minneapolis team. I thought our key was Jennings Sloan on defense that held one of their top scorers in check. It was a very nice win to get into the championship game"
Leading the Trojans in scoring was Jackson Cheney with 7 points, adding 3 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal. Eli Johnson scored 6 points and added 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Brody Litton scored 5 points with 7 rebounds and 1 block. Riley Hilt added 4 points with 4 rebounds; Cole Jones 4 points, 1 assist, 3 rebounds and 1 steal; Jennings Sloan 1 assist, 2 rebounds, 1 steal.
The Beloit Trojans had to face Southeast of Saline in the final championship game, whom they had split wins with in the regular season.
Beloit came up short to Southeast of Saline as the Trojans of purple and white outscored 14-8 in the first quarter and 14-9 in the second for the 28-17 halftime score. Beloit was outscored in the third quarter 14-6 and again at 9-3 in the final quarter as they were defeated by SES 51-26.
Leading Beloit in scoring was Jackson Cheney with 7 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound followed by Brody Litton with 6 points, 3 rebounds; Eli Johnson 5 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block; Cole Jones 3 points, 1 assist, 1 steal; Luke Cheney 3 points; Joel Rexroat 2 points, 1 assist, 1 steal; Alex Laflen 1 assist, 1 rebound; Charlie Burke 1 rebound.
"We came out flat and cold as it was from the high energy level in the Minneapolis game," said Kresin. "We tried just a little of every defense we had but just couldn't slow them down, but we never gave up. Our lack of energy was probably the biggest factor in the loss."
Leading up to the tournament games, Beloit A-team fell short to Minneapolis on Dec. 14 as their last regular season games, as the Lions outscored Beloit 10-2 in the first quarter. Beloit scored 11-9 in the second quarter but trailed 19-13 at halftime. The Trojans were outscored 12-8 in the third quarter. They scored 4-2 in the fourth quarter but ended with the 33-25 loss to Minneapolis.
"We came out and had a slow start the first quarter which we have struggled with this year and found ourselves down, but we battled back and just lacked the execution each and every time down the floor," said Coach Kresin. "We had too many turnovers and never shot the ball very well. I believe in the kids and if we find a way to come out and play a fourth quarter in the tournament we could be very hard to beat with our record at 7-3 going into the NCAA Leauge tournament on Saturday against the winners of the Southeast vs Minneapolis game."
Leading the team in scoring was Brody Litton scoring 12 points with an added 15 rebounds and 1 steal in his double-double game. Eli Johnson scored 8 points with 4 rebounds; Riley Hilt 2 points, 2 rebounds; Charlie Burke 2 points; Jackson Cheney 1 point, 3 assists, 3 rebounds; Cole Jones 2 assists, 1 rebound, 2 steals; Jennings Sloan 4 rebounds, 2 steal; Jace Offutt 1 rebound.
"I'm very proud of these young men the way they accepted my coaching style and became the best we could be this year and feel all the kids got better in all aspects of the game," said Beloit Coach Keith Kresin. "All the teams had very good years and continued to get better as a team and in the understanding of the game. The only way I see us of having a better season is if we could of started games off better and been consistent throughout four quarters. This was a very fine season that wouldn’t have been possible without the great help of Coach Lowery and Coach Litton as well as the great parent support and the Administrator's of the Beloit Jr/Sr High School."
Beloit ended their season at 8-4 scoring 397 points from 128 2FGM at 41%; 31 3FGM at 30%. They were 160-414 from the free throw line at 39%.
Year ending stats for the Beloit Jr. Trojans include:
Brody Litton 127 points with 95 rebounds, 2 assists, 12 blocks, 6 steals
Jackson Cheney 104 points with 25 rebounds, 16 assists, 1 block, 6 steals
Eli Johnson 64 points with 45 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 blocks, 5 steals
Cole Jones 50 points with 32 rebounds, 32 assists, 1 block, 17 steals
Riley Hilt 27 points with 40 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal
Jennings Sloan 11 points with 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals
Ryker Clark 5 points with 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
Joel Rexroat 4 points with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal
Luke Cheney 3 points with 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Charlie Burke 2 points with 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals
Alex Laflen 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Jace Offutt 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 3 steals
Brooks Jones 2 rebounds