FAIRMONT - Fairmont guard Mitch Pfingsten put Worthington on its heels during Tuesday night's overtime before forward Jay Ruen delivered the knockout punch.
Pfingsten erupted for a career-best 38 points, including 28 during the final 22 minutes, while Ruen produced 11 points and nine key rebounds to propel the Class 2A, No. 4-ranked Cardinals to a 76-72 nonconference basketball triumph over the visiting Trojans in Fairmont.
"Mitch sensed we didn't have any offensive flow during the second half, and he stepped up his game and took charge," said Fairmont head coach Jared Thompson.
UP! — Fairmont’s Jay Ruen (35) leaps to challenge Worthington guard Marcus Potter’s shot during basketball action Tuesday night in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Josh Eversman (25), Taylor Beebe (21), Ben Abel (left) and Mitch Pfingsten watch. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Thompson's postgame analysis proved as true as Pfingsten's free-throw shooting during the second half and the 4-minute extra session. The four-year starting point guard connected on 11 of 11 from the charity stripe during that span to complement 8-for-14 field-goal shooting to near former Cardinal standout Jeff Janssen's single-game scoring record of 41 points.
Pfingsten, however, did eclipse Janssen as the Fairmont boys basketball program's No. 2 all-time leading scorer, with only Eric Hugson remaining at the top of the record book.
Ironically, Pfingsten swooshed a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining in regulation to put Fairmont ahead at 69-67 on the heels of Worthington center Carter Lindner's game-tying 3-pointer from the top of the key only seven seconds earlier.
The 6-foot-4 Lindner then delivered the most important two of his 14 points on the game by taking an entry pass from point guard Marcus Potter and hitting the baseline leaner with 2.5 seconds remaining to eventually force overtime.
Josh Eversman controlled the tip in the extra session before Pfingsten nailed a 15-foot pull-up jumper, but Trojan wing Spencer Grafing answered on the ensuing possession by hitting a runner in traffic to knot the game at 71-all.
Pfingsten later swooshed two more free throws, but Worthington's Will Mulder managed to sink just one charity toss at the other end for a one-point differential with 1:09 left in overtime. Pfingsten then quickly drove the baseline for a floating runner to put Fairmont ahead 75-72 with 57 seconds left.
Lindner launched another late 3-pointer, but the long-distance shot caromed off the rim and Ruen leaped high to snare the key defensive rebound and drew the foul. Ruen sank the front end of the two-shot foul situation to seal the victory with 1.2 seconds showing before missing the second toss.
Ruen also distributed three assists for the Cardinals, while Eversman and Nick Roggow neared double-digit scoring marks with nine and eight points, respectively.
Fairmont (2-0) plays host to United South Central on Monday night.
Peterson 1-4 0-1 2, Ruen 3-5 5-6 11, Roggow 4-6 0-0 8, Eversman 4-12 1-4 9, Pfingsten 11-25 14-17 38, B. Abel 2-4 0-2 4, Beebe 1-2 1-2 4, N. Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Z. Brown 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-60 21-32 76.
Mulder 2-8 6-9 12, Dudley 4-5 0-5 8, Lindner 6-12 0-2 14, Grafing 8-14 4-6 23, Potter 2-8 1-2 5, Weg 0-2 2-2 2, Guerra 2-3 0-0 4, Wolyniec 1-4 0-0 2, Eknitphong 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 25-57 15-28 72.
3-pointers: Fairmont 3-15 (Pfingsten 2-9, Beebe 1-2, Eversman 0-2, Ruen 0-1, Peterson 0-1); Worthington 7-18 (Grafing 3-7, Lindner 2-3, Mulder 2-5, Potter 0-2, Eknitphong 0-1). Fouled out: Dudley, Roggow and Guerra. Rebounds: FHS 39 (Ruen 9); WHS 33 (Dudley 9). Assists: FHS 10 (Ruen 3); WHS 10 (Potter 5).
Tyler Tennyson scored 16 points to guide Fairmont to a 51-43 victory over Worthington during B-squad action Tuesday night in Fairmont.
Josh Liljenquist tallied 15 points and six rebounds for the Cardinals (2-0), Jack Waletich scored 13, while Walker Tordsen and Noah Quiring grabbed six and five rebounds, respectively.
Christian Engeman and Carter Lloyd each scored eight points to pace Fairmont's 40-29 win over Worthington during C-squad play Tuesday night in Fairmont.
Theo Krumholz pulled down 10 rebounds for the Cardinals (2-0), Kade Fritz garnered seven boards, while Tyler Johnson scored seven points.