FAIRMONT - Sierra Schultz, Kayla Lardy and the entire Fairmont basketball roster left little doubt about the eventual outcome of Tuesday night's game at Cardinal Gym.
Schultz and Lardy each pocketed five steals as the Cardinals' smothering full-court defensive pressure created 22 first-half Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial turnovers en route to a 48-13 edge by intermission.
Kristen Campe made four 3-pointers en route to a game-high 16 points, Schultz netted 15 points, while Lardy delivered a double-double performance to pace the Cardinals' runaway 71-26 non-league triumph over the Knights in Fairmont.
TIGHT DEFENSE — Fairmont’s Kayla Lardy (53) forces a jumpball with Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial’s Lauren Hesser during nonconference basketball action Tuesday night at Cardinal Gym. Fairmont’s Haley Harder (middle) defends against LCWM’s Kendra Kaupa, the Cardinals’ Pauli Anderson (back left) guards the Knights’ Marissa Larsen (13), and Fairmont’s Kristen Campe keeps an eye on LCWM’s Jessica Brown (30). (Photo by Leanna Becker)
The decisive victory proved the 100th of Don Waletich's six-year head coaching tenure at Fairmont High School.
"I've been fortunate to have both good players and good assistant coaches during my coaching career here, and I appreciate each and every one of them," Waletich said modestly.
Lardy, who finished with 10 points and a team-best 10 rebounds, cleaned the offensive glass on back-to-back possessions for two early baskets to trigger the Cardinals' incredible 14-0 surge following the initial tipoff.
Campe, who connected on 4 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc, dialed long distance to bookend Schultz's drive through the lane to quickly extend Fairmont's lead to 12-0.
Courtney Mosloski then earned a trip to the free throw line and sank both tosses for a 14-0 edge before guard Chloe Lantz's putback basket ended LCWM's 0-for-7 shooting start at the 14:14 juncture of the opening half.
Jordan Welsch later tossed in a baseline jumper for the Knights to make it 22-4 before Schultz and the basketball-hawking Cardinals' defense served as the catalyst behind an ensuing 20-0 offensive avalanche.
After Emily Kim drove through the heart of the LCWM defense for a running bank shot, Schultz pick-pocketed the Knights three consecutive times for layups.
Pauli Anderson then fed Lardy for a low-post leaner, Kim tossed in another runner, and Mosloski worked the low blocks for back-to-back buckets off assists from Alex Christianson.
Christianson, who netted six points and eight boards, then converted Lardy's pinpoint pass for a baseline leaner before Christianson returned the favor to Lardy to widen the Cardinals' lead to 42-4 with 6 minutes left in the first half.
Fairmont then outscored LCWM by a 23-13 margin in the second half to coast to the 45-point victory.
Mosloski and Kim contributed eight points each to the Cardinals' winning ways.
Rachel Sonnabend produced a double-double of 11 points and a game-best 11 rebounds for the Knights.
Fairmont (15-3, 6-0 South Central) plays host to Blue Earth Area at 6 p.m. Friday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (1-11) plays host to St. Clair on Friday night in Lake Crystal.
Christianson 3-5 0-0 6, Anderson 1-2 2-4 4, Lardy 5-6 0-2 10, Campe 6-10 0-0 16, Schultz 7-12 0-1 15, Mosloski 3-8 2-4 8, Schrader 1-3 2-4 4, Kim 4-7 0-1 8, Harder 0-1 0-0 0, Brau 0-2 0-0 0, Becker 0-1 0-0 0, Kloeckner 0-0 0-0 0, Nielsen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-58 6-16 71.
Lee 0-1 0-0 0, Norgren 0-5 0-0 0, Sonnabend 3-13 4-4 11, Wiens 1-6 0-1 2, Lantz 1-3 0-0 2, Puoch 2-5 1-2 5, Welsch 1-1 0-0 2, Kaupa 2-7 0-1 4, Hesser 0-3 0-0 0, Larsen 0-1 0-0 0, Brown 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 10-46 5-8 26.
3-pointers: FHS 5-12 (Campe 4-6, Schultz 1-4, Kim 0-2); LCWM 1-5 (Sonnabend 1-1, Wiens 0-2, Norgren 0-1, Kaupa 0-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: FHS 39 (Lardy 10); LCWM 34 (Sonnabend 11). Steals: FHS 19 (Lardy and Schultz 5 each); LCWM 6. Assists: FHS 9 (Lardy 3); LCWM 3.
Marisa Nelson scored 15 points to help guide Fairmont to a 43-27 victory over Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial in B-squad action on Tuesday night in Fairmont.
Marissa Voss netted nine points for the Cardinals, Abby Fitzgerald delivered seven points and five rebounds, while Sarah Ostlie chipped in four points and four rebounds.
Taylor Crissinger produced 10 points to steer Fairmont to a 39-27 triumph over Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial in C-squad play on Tuesday night in Fairmont.
Alli Lardy netted six points for the Cardinals, while Kali DeBoer and Lexi Lunn each pulled down four rebounds.
New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva 66, Blue Earth Area 39 - Future University of Minnesota Gopher hoopster Carlie Wagner produced a game-best 39 points to engineer the defending state champion and Class 2A, No. 1-ranked Panthers to a 27-point nonconference triumph over the Bucs on Tuesday night in Blue Earth.
Jade Schultz supplied nine points for undefeated NRHEG, which built a 40-18 halftime lead.
Kaitlyn Olsen collected 12 points, six rebounds and three steals to pace BEA, while teammate Jenna Stevermer and Karli Olsen chipped in 11 points each.
Blue Earth Area (6-7, 2-4 South Central) travels to Fairmont on Friday for a 6 p.m. conference game.
New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Gene-va (15-0) hits the road to Wells on Friday to face United South Central in a Gopher Conference matchup.