FAIRMONT - A tale of two halves and a dose of perseverance.
Martin County West erased a game-opening 9-1 deficit, a four-point gap at intermission and a 22-percent field-goal shooting performance during the first 18 minutes of its nonconference basketball clash with Fairmont on Friday night at Cardinal Gym.
The Mavericks scorched the nylon nets on 13 of 23 shots from the floor in the second half and bridged halftime with an 11-0 run to eclipse the Cardinals, 52-43.
CONTESTING THE SHOT — Martin County West forward Kate Thiesse (31) contests a jumpshot by Fairmont’s Alex Christianson during non-league basketball action Friday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. Martin County West point guard Morgan Williamson looks on. Photo by Leanna Becker
"Seven minutes into the game, we did not have an offensive rebound and we had more turnovers than points," said MCW mentor Rodger Taylor, whose lineup missed its first 11 field goals of the game en route to a 6-for-27 performance during the first half. "With both (starting guard) Taryn (Tumbleson) and (starting forward) Kate (Thiesse) sitting with two fouls each, we made a nice comeback with our bench."
MCW freshman post player Reilly Geistfeld netted five of her seven points, while guard Whitney Smith tallied all four of her points during the opening half to match a pair of inside baskets from both Fairmont center Kayla Lardy and reserve forward Madison Geerdes.
Lardy, who produced six points to complement stellar game-best numbers of 15 rebounds, six assists, five steals and four blocked shots, tossed in a cutter in traffic off an Emily Kim assist to extend the Cardinals' lead to 21-15 with 1:22 left before intermission.
Smith, however, hit a turnaround jumper from the low post off one of Madyson Larson's four assists just before halftime to serve as the catalyst behind the Mavericks' ensuing second-half surge.
Tumbleson, who delivered a game-leading 16 points to complement four assists, hit a low-post turnaround before pickpocketing a backcourt steal and converting the layup to knot the game at 21-all.
Larson, who delivered 10 points and seven rebounds, hit a runner in traffic before delivering a traditional 3-point play off an assist from Smith to swing a 26-21 lead to MCW at the 13:33 mark.
Geistfeld, however, hit a 12-foot jumper off a Tumbleson assist before Tumbleson nailed a key 3-pointer to restore the Mavericks' comfortable cushion.
Kristen Campe converted one of Lardy's pinpoint assists into a backdoor lay-in to finally end Fairmont's scoring drought at the 13:16 juncture before Geerdes drove the paint for two more to slice MCW's lead to 26-25 with 12:05 to go.
Alex Christianson, who delivered 10 points despite experiencing foul trouble, worked the low post to trim Fairmont's deficit to 34-31 on the heels of teammate Emily Wegener's baseline jumper off a Sierra Schultz assist.
MCW freshman guard Ellie Kuehl, however, drilled a pair of 3-pointers off Tumbleson assists to offset baskets from Christianson and Campe before Kuehl hit a runner to widen the visitors' edge to 44-35 with two minutes remaining.
Tracy Thiesse drilled a pair of 3-pointers during the final 1:20 of regulation to whittle the Cardinals' deficit to under double digits, but Tumbleson converted a one-and-one situation in the waning seconds to seal the victory.
Kuehl delivered eight points off the Mavericks' bench, while Geerdes and Thiesse supplied seven and six points, respectively, for the Cardinals.
Fairmont (1-6, 0-2 South Central) faces Sioux Falls Roosevelt at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, in the St. Cloud Tech Invitational.
Martin County West (8-1, 6-0 Valley) is idle until playing host to Mankato Loyola on Jan. 4 in Trimont.
Hailey Leiding scored 11 points and teammate Whitney Smith added nine points to help guide Martin County West to a 51-29 victory over Fairmont during B-squad action Friday night in Fairmont.
Cassidy Krusemark collected 17 points and seven rebounds to top the Cardinals, while Sophie Shelgren added five points.
Fairmont defeated Martin County West, 47-34, during C-squad action Friday in Fairmont.
No individual statistics were reported.
North Union 28, West Bend-Mallard 19 - Dena Looft netted nine points and four rebounds to help pace the Warriors' nine-point Corn Belt Conference victory over the Wolverines on Friday night in Armstrong.
Madison Bollig scored six points for North Union, Aurora Oliver garnered six boards, Cheyanne Boland pocketed four steals, while Jasmine Clausen produced four rebounds and three assists.
The Warriors hit 6 of 24 shots from 2-point range, 5 of 17 from behind the arc and 1 of 6 at the free throw line.
Cassie Gerhardt scored 12 points to top WBM.
North Union (7-3, 4-1 Corn Belt) travels to Corwith, Iowa, on Jan. 4 for a game with Corwith-Wesley-Luverne.
WBM 5 2 4 8 - 19
NU 7 2 13 6 - 28
Fairmont 85, St. James 79 - Josh Eversman poured in a career-high 26 points behind 6-for-6 shooting from 3-point range to help the Class 2A, No. 11-ranked Cardinals claim an 85-79 South Central Conference shootout with the Saints on Friday night in St. James.
Eversman also garnered 11 rebounds to net a double-double performance on the night.
Jay Ruen contributed 20 points and three assists to the Cardinals' balanced high-octane offense, while Mitch Pfingsten supplied 17 points and three assists.
Levi Becker chipped in 10 points and five assists for Fairmont, which connected on 23 of 43 shots from 2-point range for 53 percent, 11 of 23 from behind the 3-point arc and 6 of 10 at the charity stripe.
Walker Froehling erupted for a game-high 29 points to top St. James, while teammate Zach Brandts supplied 21 points.
The Saints made 20 of 49 field goals inside the arc, 9 of 19 from 3-point territory and 12 of 15 at the free throw line.
Fairmont (5-2, 1-0 SCC) opens the Bethany Lutheran College Tournament against New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27, in Mankato.
St. James 36-43-79
Spencer Chirpich collected nine points, five assists and five steals to pace Fairmont's 42-34 victory over St. James during B-squad action Friday night in St. James.
Parker Monsen and Derek Hunwardsen each netted seven points for the Cardinals (4-3), Ben Abel tallied six points and five boards, while Nate Johnson chipped in six points.
Josh Liljenquist scored 10 points to help steer Fairmont to a 43-31 triumph over St. James during C-squad action Friday night in St. James.
Tyler Tennyson produced nine points and five steals for the Cardinals (4-3), Noah Quiring chipped in seven points and six boards, while Anthony Shimon added four points and nine rebounds.