FAIRMONT - Fairmont head boys basketball coach Jared Thompson did not know if his Class 2A, No. 7-ranked Cardinals would be a bit rusty during Saturday night's playoff opener on the heels of a nine-day layoff.
Thompson received the answer to that question by the 14-minute mark of No. 1-seeded Fairmont's Section 3AA, South Sub-Section quarterfinal game with the No. 8-seeded Luverne Cardinals in Fairmont.
Jay Ruen, Josh Eversman and Mitch Pfingsten combined for a game-opening 9-0 run, and the hometown Cardinals never looked back en route to a 79-47 rout over Luverne at Cardinal Gym.
RELEASE POINT — Fairmont guard Mitch Pfingsten releases a jumpshot over Luverne defenders Nicholas Overgaard (2) and Josh Slieter during Section 3AA, South Sub-Section quarterfinal basketball action Saturday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. Fairmont’s Taylor Beebe (21) and Nick Roggow (bottom left) watch the action. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Fairmont (21-4) advances to face No. 5-seeded Blue Earth Area at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the sub-section semifinals in Windom.
Luverne ended its season with a 4-22 record.
"I didn't know what to expect after not having played since Feb. 13, but I thought our guys looked sharp from the get-go," said Thompson. "We did a nice job of keeping our composure when Luverne went to an early delay game, and our quick run out of the gate definitely countered that strategy."
Ahead 20-11, Eversman, who connected on 8 of 12 field goals to pace an 18-point performance, tossed in a running half-hook shot to trigger Fairmont's ensuing 12-0 run to build a commanding lead by the 2-minute juncture.
Nick Roggow swooshed a 15-footer off one of Ruen's three assists before Ruen sank a pair of free throws and hit a putback basket.
Eversman then nailed a 17-footer from the left elbow before Ben Abel tossed in two more free throws to establish a 32-11 margin.
Pfingsten, who delivered a game-best 20 points to complement a game-best six steals and three assists, later converted a one-and-one situation just before halftime to extend Fairmont's edge to 41-16.
The hometown Cardinals scorched the nets from the charity stripe, making all eight attempts in the opening half en route to an 88-percent performance overall - 21 of 24.
Fairmont widened its lead even further midway through the second half as Luke Becker drilled a pair of 3-pointers, Taylor Beebe nailed a trey and Pfingsten delivered a traditional 3-point play through traffic for a 60-28 edge.
Ruen contributed 10 points, five rebounds and three assists to Fairmont's winning ways, Roggow delivered eight points and five boards, while Becker supplied eight points.
Josh Slieter and Nicholas Overgaard each netted 11 points to top Luverne, while teammate Blake Richters chipped in eight points and five rebounds.
Eversman 8-12 1-1 18, Ruen 3-4 3-4 10, Roggow 4-7 0-0 8, Becker 3-7 0-0 8, Pfingsten 6-11 7-9 20, Abel 0-1 2-2 2, Beebe 1-2 0-0 3, Tordsen 0-0 4-4 4, Brown 0-3 0-0 0, Monsen 0-1 2-2 2, N. Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Emler 0-1 0-0 0, Hunwardsen 0-0 2-2 2, Mielke 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 26-52 21-24 79.
Slieter 5-11 1-2 11, Ziegler 2-2 0-2 5, Hiller 1-3 2-2 4, Richters 3-6 2-2 8, Sawtelle 1-10 1-2 4, Overgaard 4-7 0-0 11, Siebenahler 1-2 0-0 2, Rops 0-0 0-1 0, Stemper 0-1 0-0 0, Vajgrt 0-1 0-2 0, Bosch 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 18-44 6-13 47.
3-pointers: FHS 6-15 (Becker 2-5, Pfingsten 1-1, Ruen 1-2, Beebe 1-2, Eversman 1-3, Brown 0-1, Emler 0-1); Luverne 5-13 (Overgaard 3-6, Ziegler 1-1, Sawtelle 1-4, Richters 0-1, Vajgrt 0-1). Fouled out: Ziegler. Rebounds: FHS 29 (Ruen and Roggow 5 each); Luverne 18 (Richters 5). Assists: FHS 13 (Eversman, Ruen and Pfingsten 3 each); Luverne 6 (Ziegler 3). Steals: FHS 11 (Pfingsten 6); Luverne 2.
Blue Earth Area 65, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 55 - Luke Monson produced a game-leading double-double to power the No. 5-seeded Bucs to a 10-point victory over the No. 4-seeded Knights during Section 3AA, South Sub-Section quarterfinal action Saturday night in Lake Crystal.
Blue Earth Area (11-14) advances to face No. 1-seeded Fairmont at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the sub-section semifinals in Windom.
Monson poured in a game-best 34 points to complement a single-game school-record 25 rebounds to pace the Bucs' winning ways.
Bailey Olson scored 11 points for BEA, while teammate Conor Barnett distributed six assists.
The Bucs connected on 24 of 50 field goals, including 4 of 14 from 3-point range, and made 13 of 23 free throws.
Bryson Yackel scored 21 points to top LCWM, while Mark Jacobs and Michael Coates chipped in 16 and 13 points, respectively.
The Knights made 19 of 51 field goals, including 8 of 24 behind the arc, and hit 9 of 14 free throws.
B.E. Area 35-30-65
Jackson County Central 68, Martin County West 53 - Jon Harmening and Zach Schwarting combined for 44 points to steer the No. 3-seeded Huskies to a 15-point Section 3AA, South Sub-Section quarterfinal victory over the No. 6-seeded Mavericks on Saturday night in Jackson.
Jackson County Central (17-9) advances to face Class 2A, No. 9-ranked and No. 2-seeded St. James (20-5) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night in the sub-section semifinals in Windom.
St. James gained the next round via a 69-58 victory over No. 7-seeded Windom Area.
Martin County West ended its season with a 12-12 record.
Harmening delivered a game-high 24 points, Schwarting tallied 20 points, while teammate Brady Place chipped in 10.
Richard Eckmann generated 15 points and five rebounds to top MCW, while Jake Sinn supplied 12 points and five rebounds.
The Mavericks hit 18 of 59 field goals, including 8 of 33 from 3-point range, and 9 of 10 free throws.
The Huskies sank 17 of 21 free throws and 23 of 43 field goals, including 5 of 18 from 3-point range.