Will Einwalter fires the basketball toward the hoop in the Class 1A semifnials. (Photo courtesy of JScott Images, www.jscottimages.com)
Will Einwalter fires the basketball toward the hoop in the Class 1A semifnials. (Photo courtesy of JScott Images, www.jscottimages.com)

   After picking up its second Upper Iowa Conference title in a row, the Turkey Valley boys’ basketball team was optimistic it would go far in Class 1A District 5. The Trojans’ hopes were ruined by Tripoli, 46-43, in the semifinals Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Dunkerton.
   “This is not the way we wanted to go out and we had more goals to be achieved but at no time was it from a lack of effort,” said Coach Chris Sullivan. “Defense is what we have hung our heads on all year and defense is what gave us a chance, tonight but we just fell a little bit short.”
   Turkey Valley ends the year with a 17-6 record.
   It was a slow start to the Trojan offense as it watched treys rim in and out, allowing the Tripoli Panthers to run out to a 10-0 lead. TV managed to get on the board for three points before the opening quarter expired. Throughout the second period, the Trojans chipped away at the deficit, pulling to within three at halftime, 21-18.
   In the second half, the lead went back-and-forth as the Red and Black leaned on its defense to get back in the game. Eventually TV took the lead, but couldn’t hold on.
   The loss ends the career of seven seniors — Evan Drilling, Will Einwalter, Levi Izer, Jordon Snyder, Lucas Anderson, Kyle Langreck and Mason Goerend. But the future remains bright with eight other Trojans who saw some time on the hardwood this season.
   “Each one of the underclassman will need to improve their strength, agility and work on their skills to put us in a situation to make a deep postseason run next year,” concluded Sullivan. “I also want to give a shout out to the fans. The crowd was amazing at the semifinal game and has been all year. Thanks for the great support Trojan nation.
   “I wouldn’t want to coach any other group of kids. Each day these kids competed in practice and the competition we had in practice is what led to us having so much success in the season,” noted Coach Sullivan. “Even though we got upset it doesn’t take away from what these seniors have done by earning back-to-back conference championships and going out this year with a 17-6 record. This group was a key to turning the basketball program back around to where it needs to be and now the next step is to make a deeper run in the postseason and ultimately get down to state. The road for the seniors moving forward in their high school careers and outside of high school is bright because they compete, work well as a team and in general are good kids.”

Final stats
   Producing 12 points and leading the Trojan charge was senior Evan Drilling, who also grabbed four rebounds and four steals. Levi Izer produced eight points while Will Einwalter dropped in six points. Jordon Snyder came off the bench to score six points, pull down three rebounds and grab three steals. Luke Anderson also provided a spark off the pine with four rebounds.