FAIRMONT - Fairmont's boys basketball team did not allow Class 3A, No. 5-ranked Marshall to grab any offensive rebounds during the first half of Tuesday night's nonconference clash at Cardinal Gym.
Point guard Mitch Pfingsten then poured in 24 of his game-high 36 points and distributed all five of his assists during the second half to guide the Cardinals to a 64-58 comeback victory over the Tigers.
"Our defensive rebounding kept us in the game during the first half," said Fairmont head coach Jared Thompson, whose lineup connected on only 26 percent of its field goals - 6 of 23 - during the opening 18 minutes to trail Marshall 22-18 by intermission.
BOARD BATTLE — Fairmont’s Luke Becker (5) outleaps Marshall’s Andrew Hmielewski and Cardinal teammate Luke Peterson (15) for a rebound during nonconference basketball action Tuesday night in Fairmont. Fairmont’s Mitch Pfingsten (3) and Taylor Beebe (21), along with Marshall’s Carl Douglas (2), look on. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Riley Sharbono's end-to-end drive, combined with teammate Carl Douglas' backcourt steal-turned-layup, staked the Tigers to a 22-13 lead with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half.
Pfingsten, however, drilled a step-back 3-pointer from the left corner at the 2-minute juncture before Cardinal teammate Jay Ruen crashed the offensive glass to earn a pair of free throws to carve the Tigers' lead to only four by halftime.
Fairmont then exited the lockerroom to blister the Cardinal Gym nets at a 60-percent clip - 15 of 25 during the second half - to transform an eventual six-point deficit into a pair of ties at 32 and 34.
After Douglas tossed in a runner in traffic to put Marshall ahead 31-25, Tiger mentor Travis Carroll called timeout at the 14:48 juncture. Carroll implemented an extended defensive trap strategy, but it proved ineffective as Pfingsten hit a putback basket, distributed an assist to Nick Roggow for a baseline jumper and then nailed a pull-up 3-pointer to swing a 32-31 lead to the Cardinals with 12 1/2 minutes remaining.
Freshman forward Reece Winkelman, who came off the Marshall bench to deliver seven boards and six points, later hit a turnaround in the low post to knot the game at 34-all.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they would not get any closer than two points over the final 10 minutes as Pfingsten wreaked havoc via his penetrating drives-and-dishes, running jumpers and trips to the free throw line.
After Connor Winkelman pocketed a steal and drove the distance for a layup to whittle Marshall's deficit to 52-49, Josh Eversman spotted Ruen for a transitional cutter to re-establish Fairmont's five-point margin.
Ruen later garnered one of his seven rebounds on the defensive glass before Pfingsten spotted Taylor Beebe for a corner 3-pointer to extend the Cardinals' edge to 57-49 with 2 minutes remaining.
"I thought that was a huge play for us. Taylor hits the 3 to take us from 5 ahead to 8, and Marshall never really recovered," said Thompson.
Pfingsten connected on four free throws and Luke Becker chipped in two charity tosses during the final 50 seconds to preserve the victory.
Ruen finished with 11 points for the Cardinals, while Eversman netted seven points.
Douglas paced the Tigers with 18 points and a game-best five steals, Sharbono delivered 14 points and a game-high eight boards, while Connor Winkelman chipped in 13 points.
Fairmont (20-3) travels to Redwood Falls on Thursday night for its regular-season finale against Class 2A, No. 10-ranked Redwood Valley.
Marshall (18-4) hits the road to Worthington on Friday night.
Marshall posted a 61-50 victory over Fairmont during B-squad action Tuesday night in Fairmont.
Walker Tordsen scored 15 points to top the Cardinals, while Tyler Tennyson supplied 13 points. Josh Liljenquist netted nine points, Kale Fritz scored seven, while Noah Quiring chipped in six points and five rebounds.
Marshall edged Fairmont in double overtime, 46-42, during C-squad action Tuesday night in Fairmont.
Carter Lloyd scored 11 points to top the Cardinals, while Christian Engeman and Matt Larsen each supplied nine points.
Waseca 83, Blue Earth Area 49 - Nick Dufault scored a game-high 25 points to power the Class 2A, No. 4-ranked Bluejays to a 34-point South Central Conference victory over the Bucs on Tuesday night in Blue Earth.
With the win, Waseca earned at least a share of the conference championship with an 8-1 league record and one SCC game remaining. The Bluejays play host to St. Peter next Tuesday night.
Fairmont has compiled an 8-2 SCC mark, with no league games remaining.
Dufault fueled his top scoring performance by connecting on 10 of 11 field goals, including 5 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc.
Devin Williamson contributed 14 points to Waseca's winning ways, while Shane Streich tossed in nine points.
Kellen Jacobs scored 14 points to top the Bucs, Bailey Olson collected 11 points and nine rebounds, while Derek Johnson scored 10 points. Conor Barnett doled out four assists for BEA.
The Bucs made 12 of 29 shots from 2-point range, 3 of 12 from behind the bonus arc and 16 of 22 free throws.
The Bluejays connected on 27 of 44 from inside the arc, 7 of 17 from 3-point territory and 8 of 14 at the line.
Blue Earth Area (9-12, 4-6 SCC) travels to Waterville-Elysian-Morristown on Thursday night, while Waseca (21-2, 8-1) hits the road to Mankato East.
Worthington 58, Martin County West 51 - The Trojans outscored the Mavericks by 10 points in the second half to win 58-51 during nonconference action on Tuesday in Sherburn.
Brooke Henning scored a game-high 21 points, while Ana Boever contributed 15 points to the Trojans' effort.
Paige Gravenhof also scored in the double figures, recording 12 points for Worthington, who made 15 of 27 free throws.
Reilly Geistfeld scored a team-leading 13 points, while Taryn Tumbleson neared double-double territory with 12 points and eight rebounds for the Mavericks.
Kate Thiesse scored 11 points, while Ellie Kuehl tallied eight points.
The Mavericks made 21 of 56 from the floor, while swishing 3 of 9 free throws.
Martin County West (17-3, 11-1 Valley) travels to play Mankato Loyola in a 7:30 p.m. Valley Conference game on Friday night.
Worthington (16-2) plays host to New Ulm in a 2:30 p.m. nonconference game on Saturday.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain 55, St. James 42 - The Mustangs' balanced scoring attack took down the Saints 55-42 during nonconference action on Tuesday in St. James.
Brooke McDonald had a double-double performance of 14 points and 13 rebounds to pace the Mustangs.
Rachel Shumski poured in 14 points to go along with three assists, while Emily Zaharia also scored in double figures with 12 points for GHEC.
Kenlie Pytleski pulled down seven rebounds and pocketed three steals, while Mariah Jensen recorded three steals for the Mustangs.
The Mustangs made 23 of 59 from the floor, sinking 6 of 17 free throws.
Aubrey Eckstrom scored 14 points, while Julia Beckius netted 10 to top the Saints.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain (9-10, 6-4 Valley) travels to Okabena on Friday to play Southwestern United in a 6 p.m. nonconference game.
St. James (6-15, 1-8 SCC) travels to Blue Earth Area to play a 7:30 p.m. South Central Conference game on Friday.
Mountain Lake Area 81, Martin Luther 73 - Rachel Dukes and Signey Steosz scored co-game highs of 19 points each to help the Wolverines overcome a halftime tie to win 81-73 over the Knights on Tuesday in Mountain Lake.
Kayley Shoen and Amber Schulz each scored 18 points to help the Knights keep pace.
Shoen also doled out six assists and made four steals, while Schulz pulled down seven boards.
Alexis Brummond contributed 11 points and distributed three assists for the Knights.
The Knights made 29 of 47 from inside the arc, while going 0 for 2 from 3-point and making 15 of 23 free throws.
Martin Luther (7-12, 6-4 Valley) plays host to United South Central in a 7:30 p.m. nonconference game on Friday in Northrop.
Mountain Lake Area (9-10, 6-6 Red Rock) plays host to Red Rock Central in a 7:30 p.m. conference game on Thursday night.
North Union 62, Lake Mills 37 - The Warrior defense held the Bulldogs to just 37 points as North Union clinched a 62-37 victory on Tuesday night in Lake Mills, Iowa.
Sarah Rolling scorched the nets for a game-high 20 points, while Aurora Oliver poured in 13 to pace the Warriors in the win.
Alexis Valvick and Peyton Oleson each added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Warriors, who made 7 of 16 free throws.
North Union (13-6) travels to play in the opening round of Iowa Class 2A, Region 1 playoffs against Sibley-Ocheydan at 7 p.m. Saturday in Sibley, Iowa.
NU 25-14- 9-14-62
LM 9- 4-10-14-37
Jackson County Central 57, Blue Earth Area 52 - The Huskies held off the Bucs in the second half to hang on for a 57-52 nonconference victory on Tuesday in Blue Earth.
Kaitlyn Olsen scored a double-double of 24 points and 14 rebounds to go along with four steals to pace the Bucs comeback efforts.
Taylor Grandgenett recorded 11 points and pulled down five rebounds, while Paige Darrington grabbed eight boards and scored four points.
The Bucs made 12 of 49 from inside the arc, swishing 7 of 18 from 3-point land and making 7 of 10 free throws.
Blue Earth Area (7-11, 2-7 SCC) plays host to St. James in a 7:30 p.m. South Central Conference game on Friday in Blue Earth.
Jackson County Central (8-14) plays host to Worthington in a 7:30 p.m. game on Monday in Jackson.