FAIRMONT - Kristen Campe's perimeter prowess built the Fairmont basketball team's early edge on Thursday night before teammate Alex Christianson's baseline baskets triggered double-figure surges in both halves.
Christianson produced a game-high 20 points to complement eight rebounds, while Campe collected 19 points and three assists to power the Cardinals' 61-42 South Central Conference triumph over the St. James Saints in Fairmont.
"Kristen's shot the ball well from the outside for us the last couple of games," Fairmont mentor Don Waletich said in reference to Campe's second straight 19-point performance.
CONTESTING THE JUMPER — Fairmont center Kayla Lardy (53) contests a jumpshot by St. James’ Emily Hurley (right) during South Central Conference basketball action Thursday night in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Sierra Schultz (33) and Alex Christianson (35), along with the Saints’ Aryn Eckstrom (20), watch the action. Photo by Leanna Becker
Campe, who scorched the Cardinal Gym nylon nets on 8-for-12 shooting from the field, connected on six straight shots from the floor - including a pair of 3-pointers - to stake Fairmont to an early 14-5 lead by the 11:44 juncture.
St. James guard Julia Beckius, who delivered a team-best 13 points, countered by tossing in a runner in traffic before drilling a 3-pointer off an Aryn Eckstrom assist to whittle Fairmont's lead to 14-10 only a minute and a half later.
Eckstrom later swooshed a left-corner jumper before Allison Brandts nailed a trifecta from the left wing to narrow the Saints' gap to 18-16 at the 8:33 mark of the opening half.
The hard-working Christianson, who blistered the hometown nets on 10-for-14 shooting, reeled off six points during the Cardinals' ensuing 10-0 run to thwart the Saints' challenge.
Christianson cleared space in the low post before converting Emily Kim's lob pass for a leaner. Kim then pocketed a sideline steal near midcourt before feeding Campe for a breakaway lay-in.
Christianson then traded roles with center Kayla Lardy, who distributed a game-best six assists, by flipping a pass to Lardy for a 10-footer in the lane. Campe later spotted Christianson for another low-post banker before Christianson's putback basket capped the double-digit run with Fairmont ahead 28-16 with 6 minutes remaining before halftime.
Freshman post player Courtney Mosloski then delivered half of her eight points on the game during the final 3 minutes to widen the Cardinals' margin to 16.
Aryn Eckstrom, however, nailed a 3-pointer for the Saints as time trickled down in the first frame.
One referee whistled Fairmont for a traveling infraction with only 1.2 seconds left before intermission, while the other official called a foul against St. James.
The Cardinals retained the basketball via the Saints' personal foul, and Campe snapped the nets on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off Tracy Thiesse's inbound pass to extend the home team's lead to 39-23.
Beckius' pull-up 10-footer in the lane and teammate Emily Hurley's pair of free throws drew the Saints within 43-30 at the 12-minute mark of the second half.
Unfortunately for St. James, that's as close as it would get as Christianson's low-post basket off a Madison Geerdes pass triggered Fairmont's ensuing 11-2 run.
Kim nailed a trey off a Lardy assist before Geerdes fed Christianson for a baseline banker. Hurley hit a turnaround low-post jumper to momentarily interrupt the Cardinals' run before Lardy and Campe executed a perfect pick-and-roll play. Sierra Schultz's pull-up jumper capped the home team's run to lead 54-32 with 8:35 remaining.
Two minutes later, both coaches turned over the final 6 minutes to their respective reserves.
Fairmont (11-12, 5-4 SCC) hosts Blue Earth Area at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Cardinal Gym, while St. James (4-18, 2-8) travels to Morgan on Monday to face Cedar Mountain/Comfrey.
Sydney Glienke produced nine points, seven rebounds, five steals and three assists to help guide Fairmont to a 41-33 victory over St. James during B-squad action Thursday in Fairmont.
Emily Kim supplied 11 points and a game-best eight steals in one half of action for the Cardinals, while Courtney Mosloski netted 10 points and five rebounds.
MaKenzie Bliesmer grabbed seven rebounds for Fairmont, while Cassidy Krusemark added five points and six boards.
Marisa Nelson delivered 18 points and six rebounds to pace Fairmont's 41-14 victory over St. James during C-squad action Thursday in Fairmont.
Abby Fitzgerald generated nine points and three steals for the Cardinals, while Sophie Brau generated nine points, five rebounds and five steals.
Fairmont 75, Waseca 67 - Jay Ruen scored a career-high 24 points to guide the Class 2A, No. 3-ranked Cardinals to an eight-point South Central Conference triumph over the Bluejays on Thursday night in Waseca.
Mitch Pfingsten netted 19 points, five rebounds and three assists for SCC-leading Fairmont, which improved to 8-0 in the conference with its 12th consecutive victory.
Levi Becker added 10 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Cardinals, who scorched the nets on 19 of 32 shots from 2-point range for 59 percent. Fairmont also hit 7 of 15 shots from 3-point range and 16 of 26 free throws on the game.
Fairmont (19-3, 8-0 SCC) plays host to Blue Earth Area at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday at Cardinal Gym.
Ben Abel collected 21 points, six rebounds and three steals to help guide Fairmont to a 64-54 victory over Waseca during B-squad action Thursday in Waseca.
Spencer Chirpich tallied 15 points and three assists for the Cardinals, while Cole Emler scored 11 points.
Parker Monsen doled out four assists for the Fairmont B-squad (15-4), which plays host to Blue Earth Area on Monday.