MANKATO - Fairmont will make its third consecutive appearance in the Bethany Lutheran College holiday boys basketball invitational's championship clash in Mankato.
The Class 2A, No. 2-ranked Cardinals delivered a smothering defensive performance to trigger a 70-39 triumph over the Mankato Loyola Crusaders during tournament semifinal action Friday at North Gym on the BLC campus.
Fairmont (9-1) advances to face St. Clair (8-2) - an 80-76 semifinal winner over St. Croix Lutheran - for the invitational's championship at 8:30 p.m. tonight at North Gym in Mankato.
SCREEN & ROLL — Fairmont guard Luke Becker (5) dribbles around Cardinal teammate Jay Ruen’s screen on Mankato Loyola defender James Marti (left) as Crusader teammate Patrick Busch (22) slides over on defense during Friday night’s semifinal of the Bethany Lutheran College holiday invitational in Mankato. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Mankato Loyola (6-4) faces St. Croix Lutheran (6-3) in the third-place game at 6:30 p.m. tonight at North Gym.
Senior point guard Mitch Pfingsten produced a game-leading 21 points, distributed a game-best seven assists and garnered six rebounds to pace the Cardinals' balanced performance.
Luke Becker delivered 12 points, Josh Eversman contributed 10 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Ben Abel tallied nine points for Fairmont.
Nick Roggow supplied six points and four boards, Jay Ruen notched five points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, while Luke Peterson added four points for the Cardinals.
Fairmont held Loyola to a 16-for-45 shooting effort - 36 percent - from the field on the game, and only 18 first-half points.
The Cardinals connected on 28 of 52 field goals, including 8 of 17 from behind the 3-point arc, for 54 percent overall. The red-and-white also sank 6 of 7 free throws for 86 percent.
Carson Seifert scored 10 points to top the Crusaders.
Redwood Valley 69, Martin County West 67 (OT) - Mitchell Fischer hit the game-winning field goal with 1.9 seconds remaining in overtime to help the Class 2A, No. 8-ranked Cardinals fend off the Mavericks by two points in the opening round of the Redwood Valley Holiday Tournament on Friday night in Redwood Falls.
Sam Pendleton scored 19 of his team-best 20 points during the second half to help Redwood Valley rebound from a 38-28 halftime deficit.
Fischer finished with 15 points for the Cardinals, while Taquez Perkins chipped in 14 points.
Jake Faber delivered a game-best 24 points to go with seven rebounds to top MCW's effort.
Cordell Weber produced 15 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Mavericks, while teammate Richard Eckmann supplied 12 points.
The Mavericks hit 10 of 13 free throws on the game, while the Cardinals hit 7 of 12 at the charity stripe.
Martin County West (5-1) plays Lakeview at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the third-place game in Redwood Falls.
Redwood Valley (7-1) faces Hayfield - a 66-48 first-round winner over Lakeview - in tonight's 8 p.m. tourney finale.
Mountain Lake Area 60, Ellsworth 54 - All-tournament selections Carter Kirk and Andrew Hempeck combined for 37 points to propel the Class 1A, No. 3-ranked Wolverines to a six-point victory over the Panthers during the championship clash of the Wolverine Classic on Friday in Mountain Lake.
Hempeck produced a game-high 19 points to complement five assists, while Kirk delivered 18 points, a game-best 11 boards and five assists.
Cody Klassen contributed seven points and seven rebounds to MLA's winning effort.
All-tournament choice Drew Cheskie netted 14 points to top Ellsworth, while teammates Justin Kruse and Jon Cramer also scored 14 points apiece.
Mountain Lake Area (9-0) plays host to Madelia on Friday, Jan. 3.
Legacy Christian 63, Truman/Martin Luther 54 - All-classic selection Nate Bertsch delivered a game-high 24 points to pace Legacy Christian's nine-point win over the BluejayKnights during the third-place game in the Wolverine Classic on Friday in Mountain Lake.
Luke Anderson chipped in 15 points for Legacy Christian.
All-tournament choice Sam Geistfeld produced stellar all-around numbers to top TML's effort. Geistfeld generated a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds to complement four assists, three steals and three blocked shots.
Alex Weihe delivered 15 points, eight rebounds and three assists for the BluejayKnights, while Colton Greiner tallied 15 points.
The BluejayKnights sank 14 of 18 free throws for 78 percent on the game.
Truman/Martin Luther (3-6) travels to Sleepy Eye St. Mary's on Thursday, Jan. 2.
Buc Holiday Invite
Blue Earth Area 80, Granada-Huntley-East Chain 57 - Post player Luke Monson netted a game-high 23 points to steer the host Bucs to an 80-57 first-round victory over the Mustangs during the Buc Holiday Invitational on Friday night in Blue Earth.
Bailey Olson supplied 15 points to BEA's winning ways, while Derek Johnson scored 11 points. Kellen Jacobs delivered nine points off the bench, while Conor Barnett chipped in eight points.
Center Ryan Shumski generated 19 points behind 7-for-12 field-goal shooting and garnered seven boards to top GHEC's effort.
Logan Pytleski sank 7 of 11 shots to tally 14 points for the Mustangs, while Josh Wolter hit a pair of 3-pointers en route to 10 points.
Trent Stensland contributed nine points to GHEC's cause, while Jared Green distributed six assists.
The Mustangs made 20 of 41 shots from 2-point range, 2 of 15 behind the 3-point arc and 11 of 22 at the free throw line.
The Bucs hit 23 of 40 shots from 2-point territory for 58 percent, 6 of 20 behind the bonus arc and 16 of 25 at the stripe.
Blue Earth Area (2-5) plays United South Central at 7:45 p.m. tonight for the tournament championship.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain (2-4) faces Jackson County Central in the third-place game at 6 p.m. tonight.
United South Central 70, Jackson County Central 62 - Walker Linde generated 14 points to pace a balanced scoring attack as the Rebels edged the Huskies, 70-62, during first-round action in the Buc Holiday Invite on Friday night in Blue Earth.
Steven Voigt and Luke Trio each scored 12 points for USC, Cody Nelson chipped in 11 points, while Trevor Stencel added nine points.
Jon Harmening generated 22 points to top all scorers in fueling JCC's effort, while teammate Darnell Taylor-Breck produced 19 points.
USC (5-2) faces Blue Earth Area at 7:45 p.m. tonight for the tourney crown in Blue Earth.