FAIRMONT - Alex Christianson and Kristen Campe played key roles in helping Fairmont whittle Worthington's once 13-point first-half lead to just four points during the early stages of Tuesday night's second half.
Sophomore standout Ana Boever, junior guard Paige Gravenhof and the Trojans' turnover-creating defense, however, restored the visitors' momentum.
Gravenhof delivered a game-best 22 points to complement four steals and four assists, while Boever collected 15 points, seven boards, six steals and four assists to propel Worthington to a 71-49 non-league basketball triumph over Fairmont at Cardinal Gym.
SPLITTING DEFENDERS — Fairmont’s Tracy Thiesse (15) splits Worthington defenders K.C. Riley (left) and Rebecca Linder (30) to score a runner in the lane Tuesday night during non-league basketball action at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. Worthington’s Whitney Coriolan trails the play. Photo by Leanna Becker
Ahead 40-36 on the heels of the Cardinals' 9-3 barrage out of the break, Gravenhof and K.C. Riley wreaked backcourt havoc to create a team total of four trips to the charity stripe to ignite a 12-2 run en route to a 52-38 lead.
"We definitely put a lot of pressure on the basketball tonight," said Trojan mentor Eric Lindner, whose trademark full-court press and three-quarter court trap pocketed 18 steals en route to forcing 33 Cardinal turnovers on the night.
Tenacious uptempo pressure in the backcourt by K.C. Riley, Gravenhof and Boeve triggered Worthington's 11-2 run midway through the opening half to build a 25-13 edge.
Christianson - who produced a double-double performance of 15 points and 10 rebounds - along with Campe and Tracy Thiesse, however, refused to allow the Trojans to create too much separation on the scoreboard.
Thiesse, who came off the Fairmont bench to generate four points and five rebounds, cleared the defensive glass to trigger Campe's press-breaking lay-in before Emily Kim sank a 3-pointer to offset Boeve's second trey of the game at 35-25 with 1:20 left before intermission.
Rebecca Linder, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field including two 3s, nailed a long-range 2-pointer from the top of the key for the Trojans before Christianson countered with a putback basket with only 12 seconds left before halftime.
Christianson tossed in a 10-foot baseline jumper off a precision entry pass from Campe to serve as the Cardinals' second-half catalyst. Kayla Lardy then worked a give-and-go play to Campe for a breakaway basket en route to a traditional 3-point play to slice Fairmont's 10-point halftime deficit in half at 37-32.
Gravenhof drilled a 3-pointer for the Trojans, but the Cardinals countered with another Lardy-to-Campe press-breaking combination before Campe's steal created Kim's baseline jumper off a Thiesse assist.
Fairmont would not get any closer than 40-36 for the duration as Worthington's ball-hawking defensive pressure wore down the hometown roster's already shortened roster. Starting guard Sierra Schultz did not play due to illness, while starting forward Sierra Schrader exited the game due to an injury at the 5:41 mark of the first half.
Linder, who delivered eight points off the Trojans' bench, drilled two 3s down the stretch before Boever delivered a traditional 3-point play to extend the visitors' gap to 20 with four minutes to go.
Riley contributed 10 points and four steals to the Trojans' winning effort.
Lardy pulled down 10 rebounds to match Christianson's mark and helped pace the Cardinals' 36-30 edge on the glass. Lardy also distributed four assists and blocked four shots, while scoring five points.
Fairmont (0-4, 0-1 South Central) travels to Windom Area next Tuesday night. Worthington (3-0, 1-0 Southwest) hits the road to Windom Area on Friday night.
Courtney Mosloski netted a double-double performance of 10 points and 14 rebounds to go with three steals to help guide Fairmont to a 34-29 victory over Worthington during B-squad action Tuesday night in Fairmont.
Sophie Shelgren and Haley Harder each contributed seven points for the Cardinals, while Sydney Glienke and Cassidy Krusemark each netted five points.
The Fairmont B-squad (2-2) travels to Windom Area next Tuesday night.
Sophie Brau tallied eight points and five rebounds to help fuel Fairmont's 23-22 win over Worthington during C-squad action Tuesday night.
Marisa Nelson contributed six points and eight rebounds to the Cardinals' winning ways, while Marissa Voss and Emily Kloeckner supplied three steals each.
Blue Earth Area 55, Le Sueur-Henderson 21 - Janessa Jahnke and Krista Hassing each scored 14 points to power the Bucs to a 34-point nonconference triumph over the Giants on Tuesday night in Blue Earth.
Jahnke also garnered eight rebounds, while Hassing pulled down six boards to complement three assists.
Karli Olsen contributed eight points to BEA's winning cause, while Jenna Stevermer pocketed four steals.
Blue Earth Area (3-0, 1-0 South Central) travels to Okabena on Saturday for a 1 p.m. non-league game against Southwest Star.
Martin Luther 59, St. Clair 46 - Kristi Oberdieck produced a double-double and sank 6 of 6 free throws down the stretch to help seal the Knights' 59-46 Valley Conference victory over the Cyclones on Tuesday night in Northrop.
Oberdieck scored 14 points and hauled in a game-leading 16 rebounds, while teammate Hunter Payne netted 13 points and five rebounds.
Amber Schulz supplied 12 points and five boards to Martin Luther's winning ways, while Catie Sherman chipped in 10 points and five steals.
Katlyn Weber scored a game-leading 25 points for St. Clair.
Martin Luther (2-1, 2-0 Valley) plays host to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Thursday night in Northrop.
St. Clair 18-28-46
M. Luther 23-36-59
Martin County West 69, Nicollet 32 - The Mavericks' defense held the Raiders to only 10 second-half points to pull away for a 69-32 Valley Conference rout on Tuesday night in Trimont.
Ellie Kuehl scored 14 points to pace an MCW offensive attack that featured 11 different players reaching the scoring column.
Madyson Larson generated 11 points for the Mavericks, Kate Thiesse pulled down six rebounds, Morgan Williamson distributed five assists to go with four steals, while Taryn Tumbleson pocketed six steals to go with four assists.
Martin County West made 29 of 59 field goals and went 9 of 20 at the free throw line.
The Mavericks (4-0, 2-0 Valley) travel to Truman on Friday night.
Mankato Loyola 55, Granada-Huntley-East Chain 42 - Aunikah Bastian scored 14 points to help the Crusaders erase a one-point halftime deficit and claim a 13-point non-league win over the Mustangs on Tuesday night in Mankato.
Lindsey Theuninck scored 11 points for Loyola, which outscored GHEC, 31-17, during the second half.
Amanda Cegelske scored 15 points to top the Mustangs, while Anna Balcom delivered 10 points, eight boards and three assists.
Alex Stennes supplied nine points for GHEC, while Rachael Sauck grabbed eight rebounds.
The Mustangs made 10 of 42 shots from 2-point range, 4 of 9 from behind the arc and 12 of 21 at the free throw line.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain (1-3, 1-1 Valley) plays host to Cleveland on Friday night at East Chain School.
Maple River 68, Truman 59 - The Bluejays inched within 58-56 with two minutes remaining in regulation before the Eagles went on a 10-3 run to close out a nine-point Valley Conference victory on Tuesday night in Minnesota Lake.
Molly Landsteiner scored 16 points to pace Maple River, Erica Hengel contributed 15 points, while Emily Spear netted 10 points.
Cleo Maloney produced a game-high 18 points to complement four steals for Truman, while Emily Zaharia collected 13 points, seven rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots.
Brooke McDonald generated 15 points and eight rebounds for the Bluejays, while Beth Kotewa garnered 11 boards to go with five points.
Truman (0-3, 0-2 Valley) plays host to Martin County West on Friday night.
M. River 37-31-68