Surrounded by all five Central defenders, Turkey Valley’s Ethan Leibold (white 33) puts the ball in the hoop for two of his 17 points Thursday night in the district quarterfinal. (Photo by Becky Walz)
Surrounded by all five Central defenders, Turkey Valley’s Ethan Leibold (white 33) puts the ball in the hoop for two of his 17 points Thursday night in the district quarterfinal. (Photo by Becky Walz)

After eight days of down time since its last competition, the Turkey Valley boys’ basketball team needed the first half of Thursday’s Class 1A District 4 quarterfinal to get into rhythm versus Central Elkader. Once the dust was off the playbook, the Trojans put together a complete game to defeat the Warriors, 68-34.

“We were worried about being a step slow with so much downtime but also because of the amount of kids who were sick leading up to this game but they grinded it out,” said Coach Chris Sullivan. “When you’re playing your best ball of the season to end the year, having eight days off from playing an opponent isn’t what you want to have happen because it can cause you to get out of the rhythm that was established. In the first half, we didn’t look ourselves. We were a step slow on the defensive end and offensively we were getting great looks but weren’t connecting on them.”

With the win, Turkey Valley (20-3) advances to face Upper Iowa Conference rival South Winn (14-8) in the District 4 semifinals today, Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m. in Nashua. On the other side of the bracket, Janesville (18-4) faces Tripoli (12-10) at 6:30 p.m. in Nashua. The district final is Thursday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at New Hampton.

Central Elkader ends the year 3-20.


On the floor

In the contest with Central Elkader Thursday, Turkey Valley jumped to a 4-0 lead before the Warriors got rolling. With the help from a trio of treys, Central took a brief 9-8 advantage for its only lead of the contest, as the Trojans escaped the first period with an 18-11 advantage. The Central defense kept the Trojans off-balance in the second period, while nearly matching TV shot-for-shot, leaving the floor for halftime with a 29-24 Trojan lead. 

Turkey Valley couldn’t hardly miss a shot in the second half, outscoring Central 36-10, as the Trojan defense caused turnover after turnover.

“At halftime we all agreed this was a poor half of basketball for us but we were all set on coming out and getting off to a quick start and we did this and extended our lead to 20 points in the third quarter and put the game away. Give credit to Central as they came out and played hard and hit some tough shots and we know moving forward we are going to have to come out quicker and play much better than we did Thursday,” said Coach Sullivan.

Ethan Leibold had a huge game 

with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Eli Reicks had 12 points to go along with seven assists and three steals, while Eli Nymeyer added nine points and eight boards. Kannon Leuenberger led the Trojans in steals with four.