TRUMAN - Cliff Anderson felt a little anxious before his Martin County West basketball team's tipoff against Truman/Martin Luther on Thursday night.
The visiting Mavericks, however, put their coach's mind at ease by scorching the Truman gymnasium nets at a 60 percent clip from behind the 3-point arc during the first half to help build a 13-point edge by intermission.
Jake Faber connected on four of his team's dozen 3s en route to a game-high 20 points to complement 10 rebounds and four assists to engineer MCW's 61-48 Valley Conference victory over the TML BluejayKnights.
LUCKY 13s — Martin County West’s Jake Sinn (white jersey) attempts to fire a bounce pass around Truman/Martin Luther defender Adam Neumann during Valley Conference basketball action on Thursday night in Truman. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"It's been nine days since our last game, so I don't know how well we'll execute tonight," Anderson said in reference to the Mavericks' 56-47 victory over St. Clair on Dec. 10.
Point guard Sam Baker answered the Maverick mentor's question during the opening 4 minutes by drilling the first of the blue-and-black attack's nine first-half 3s en route to a 12-for-25 overall performance from behind the arc.
Ironically, MCW shot better from long-distance territory - 48 percent - than from 2-point range - 41 percent.
Sam Geistfeld, who produced stellar all-around numbers of 17 points, a game-high 11 boards and four assist, countered the Mavericks' 7-0 run out of the gate by nailing one of the BluejayKnights' eight 3-pointers with 13:21 left in the first half.
Alex Biehn, however, snapped the nets on a trifecta for MCW before Geistfeld countered with a traditional 3-point play. Cordell Weber then doled out one of his game-high six assists to Faber in the low post to double the Mavericks' early lead to 12-6 during the frenetic action.
Colton Greiner then quickly nailed the first of his three 3s for TML before MCW strung together three consecutive treys to push its lead to 21-9 and cause BluejayKnights' head coach Brian Borkenhagen to call timeout at the 9:47 juncture.
"We executed our defensive strategy like we wanted to and kept them out of the lane, but we didn't plan on them hitting nearly every 3 they shot tonight," Borkenhagen said.
Richard Eckmann drained a pair of 3s to bookend Weber's trey to account for the Mavericks' quick-strike scoring surge before the break.
Ironically, Adam Neumann then drilled the first of his 3-pointers on the game out of the short recess before Geistfeld fed teammate Alex Weihe on a perfect give-and-go to narrow TML's deficit to 21-14.
But MCW was just beginning to warm up the nets as Biehn, Faber and Weber swooshed consecutive 3-balls to re-establish a 16-point margin at 32-16 with 4 minutes to go before halftime.
Faber then converted Weber's pinpoint skip pass for a left-corner trey with only 6 seconds left before intermission, but the BluejayKnights' Adam Neumann counter-punched by launching a bull's-eye 3-pointer from near midcourt to beat the halftime horn.
Geistfeld and Weihe triggered TML's 8-0 run out of the lockerroom to open the second half, but the home team would not get any closer than 37-32 for the rest of regulation.
Weber, who delivered 10 points, ended the Mavericks' scoreless span by firing in a one-hander in the lane off an Eckmann assist before Weber tossed in a 12-foot pull-up jumper off the dribble.
Faber then blistered the nets on back-to-back 3s to cap MCW's countering 10-0 run to extend the lead back to double digits at 47-32 with 9:15 remaining in regulation.
Weihe answered with a cutter in traffic and Geistfeld contributed a traditional 3-point play, but center Jake Sinn reeled off nine of the Mavericks' ensuing 12 points to keep the visitors in the driver's seat down the stretch.
Sinn finished with 11 points and six rebounds for MCW, Eckmann scored nine and Biehn netted eight points.
Weihe produced 11 points and eight boards for the BluejayKnights, while Adam Neumann and Greiner each chipped in nine points each.
Martin County West (5-0, 3-0 Valley) faces Class 2A, No. 8-ranked Redwood Valley at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, in the first round of the Redwood Valley Holiday Tournament in Redwood Falls.
Truman/Martin Luther (3-4, 1-2) plays Class 1A, No. 3-ranked Mountain Lake Area at 7:15 p.m. next Thursday in the first round of the Wolverine Classic in Mountain Lake.
Fairmont 49, St. Peter 36 - Power forward Courtney Mosloski erupted for a game-best 17 points to complement six rebounds and three steals to power the Cardinals to their sixth consecutive victory - a 13-point South Central Conference decision over the Saints on Thursday night in St. Peter.
Center Kayla Lardy delivered a double-double performance of 15 points and a game-best 10 rebounds to pack punch to Fairmont's winning ways, while forward Sierra Schrader supplied five points, eight boards and a game-high five steals.
Sierra Schultz, Alex Christianson and Kristen Campe each contributed four points each to the Cardinals' victory.
Fairmont connected on 20 of 44 shots from 2-point range and 9 of 17 at the free throw line on the game.
Kelli Hansen scored nine points to top the Saints.
Fairmont (6-1, 3-0 SCC) travels to Sherburn tonight to face undefeated Martin County West in a nonconference clash.
St. Peter 18-18-36
St. Peter downed Fairmont, 46-30, during B-squad action Thursday in St. Peter.
Emily Kloeckner collected nine points and four rebounds to top the Cardinals (1-5), Abby Fitzgerald chipped in six points and four boards, while Sarah Ostlie added five points.
St. Peter defeated Fairmont in C-squad action, 32-23, Thursday in St. Peter.
Brooke Hunwardsen scored eight points for the Cardinals, Alli Lardy netted four points and six rebounds, Taylor Crissinger pulled down five rebounds, while Taylor Eicholz scored four.
Waseca 63, Blue Earth Area 36 - The Bluejays shot 53 percent from the floor to outscore the Bucs 63-36 in South Central Conference basketball action on Thursday night in Blue Earth.
Jenna Stevermer scored a team-leading 14 points to go along with four rebounds and seven steals to pace the Bucs.
Kaitlyn Olsen netted nine points and five boards for BEA, Karli Olsen scored seven points and snagged four steals, while Taylor Grandgenett doled out a team-leading four assists and grabbed five steals.
The Bucs made 26 of 44 attempts from 2-point range, 1 of 7 seven behind the arc and 8 of 15 attempts from the charity stripe.
Blue Earth Area (2-3, 1-2 SCC) faces Martin Luther at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, at the Windom Tournament in Windom.