FAIRMONT - Class 2A, No. 10-ranked Fairmont resembled a locomotive during Thursday night's South Central Conference basketball clash with St. Peter.
The hometown Cardinals needed the opening six minutes to get the train moving out of the station before steamrolling down the rails to double-figure surges in each half.
Alex Christianson neared double-double territory with team-highs of 14 points and nine rebounds to stoke the Cardinals' 65-37 runaway victory over the Saints.
SCREEN?PLAY — Fairmont guard Kristen Campe (left) drives around teammate Kayla Lardy’s screen on St. Peter’s Logan Retzlaff during South Central Conference basketball action Thursday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"I thought Alex really worked hard tonight. She demanded the ball in the low post and finished, too," Fairmont assistant coach Sara Junkermeier said in reference to Christianson's 6-for-8 field-goal shooting performance. "Haley Harder also did a nice job of coming off the bench and stepping up for us at both ends of the court with six points and three steals.
"Overall, the girls played their best two halves of the season, with everyone contributing to the win."
Junior point guard Logan Retzlaff, who delivered a game-best 19 points to complement five steals, utilized her perimeter shooting prowess to help St. Peter to an early lead - 9-7 - just five and a half minutes into the opening segment.
Unfortunately Retzlaff and the Saints, Courtney Mosloski and Christianson combined to shift the Cardinal express into high gear midway through the half.
Christianson threaded the needle to a cutting Mosloski for two of her nine points to help trigger Fairmont's 13-0 run.
Sierra Schrader sank a solo charity toss before hitting a runner through traffic off one of Kayla Lardy's four assists to cause St. Peter to call timeout at the 7:25 juncture.
Harder then swooshed a 15-footer from the left elbow out of the break before Lardy sank a pair of free throws for two of her 11 points on the night.
Christianson spotted Mosloski again for a right-wing 15-footer before Lardy returned the favor by finding Christianson for a short jumper in the paint to cap a 27-11 advantage.
Olivia Hass, who delivered game-bests of 11 rebounds and six blocked shots, connected on a putback basket for two of her eight points to end St. Peter's scoring drought with 2:55 left before intermission.
Retzlaff's backcourt ball-hawking defense and sharpshooting skills with less than two minutes remaining before halftime slowly whittled the Saints' deficit to 29-20 with a minute to go.
Kristen Campe, who scored eight points and distributed four assists, delivered a clutch 3-pointer only five seconds later to trigger the Cardinals' ensuing 15-0 run that bridged the break.
Campe then spotted Lardy on a cutter in the lane to extend Fairmont's edge to 34-20 with 18 seconds showing in the opening half.
Christianson worked her baseline magic to open the second half by hitting a fadeaway 14-footer before converting a traditional 3-point play off a Lardy assist to nearly double the gap to 39-20.
Lardy later hit a leaner in the lane off the window before Sierra Schultz, who experienced rare foul difficulty in the opening half, drilled a trifecta for three of her 10 points on the game to extend Fairmont's margin to 44-20 with 13 minutes to go.
The Cardinals never looked back to coast to the 28-point margin of victory over the Saints.
Fairmont (18-3, 8-0 SCC) travels to Luverne on Monday night, while St. Peter (9-7, 5-2) plays host to New Ulm on Monday night.
St. Peter downed Fairmont in B-squad action, 54-20, Thursday in Fairmont.
Alexis Bass and Abby Fitzgerald each supplied four points and four rebounds for the Cardinals, while Emily Kloeckner and Larissa Becker each netted three points. Kloeckner also distributed four assists.
St. Peter posted a 29-23 victory over Fairmont during C-squad action Thursday in Fairmont.
Taylor Crissinger scored seven points to top the Cardinals, Claire Cutler supplied six points and five boards, Brenna Cutler netted four points and five rebounds, while Alli Lardy pulled down six rebounds.
Martin Luther 57, Cleveland 43 - Amber Schulz produced a game-leading double-double performance of 16 points and 15 rebounds to power the Knights to a 14-point Valley Conference victory over the Clippers on Thursday night in Cleveland.
Alexis Brummond collected 13 points, six rebounds and four steals for Martin Luther, while Kayley Shoen supplied nine points, 12 rebounds, five steals and four assists.
The Knights made 15 of 60 shots from 2-point range, 2 of 9 behind the 3-point arc and 21 of 35 at the free throw line.
Taylor Holicky scored 13 points to top Cleveland.
Martin Luther (7-7, 6-4 Valley) awaits the pairings for the first round of the Valley Showcase on Monday night.
M. Luther 19-38-57