FAIRMONT - Fairmont center Kayla Lardy and her Cardinal teammates must like playing back-to-back basketball games.
Lardy erupted for an impressive double-double performance of a team-high 20 points and a game-best 16 rebounds to complement three steals and a game-best six assists to power Fairmont to a 50-40 nonconference victory over the Luverne Cardinals on Saturday night in Fairmont.
"We've had quite a week - three wins in three games over the last six days," Fairmont head coach Don Waletich said in reference to his lineup's 48-43 victory over Jackson County Central on Monday and a 47-35 triumph over Blue Earth Area on Friday night. "I thought our girls shot the ball really well tonight, especially considering we just played the night before."
The hometown Cardinals scorched the Cardinal Gym nylon nets on 20 of 34 field goals for a staggering 58.8 percent, paced by power forward Alex Christianson's 7-for-10 shooting performance and Lardy's 7-for-11 effort. Lardy also sank 6 of 7 free throws.
In fact, Fairmont warmed the gymnasium by connecting on 11 of 18 shots from the floor - 61.1 percent - during the opening half to build a 12-point edge by intermission.
While Fairmont displayed its perimeter prowess, Luverne's shooting proved as cold as the temperature outside as the visitors missed their first dozen field-goal attempts of the game.
The hometown Cardinals built a 17-2 lead off of the opening tip before guard Kaitlin Wohnoutka made the visitors' first field goal - one of her five 3-pointers - at the 9-minute mark of the initial half.
Wohnoutka displayed her tenacity by delivering 11 of Luverne's 16 first-half points to prevent a Fairmont runaway.
The 5-foot-4 guard finished with game-highs of 26 points and five steals, but her yeoman effort was not enough to offset the hometown Cardinals' high-low tandem of Lardy and Christianson.
Center Tara Sudenga's traditional 3-point play off a Wohnoutka assist whittled Luverne's deficit to its smallest of the second half at 42-34 with 6 minutes remaining.
Lardy and Christianson answered down the stretch to guide Fairmont to a double-digit margin of victory.
Tracy Thiesse fed Lardy for a critical low-post turnaround before Lardy turned playmaker by spotting Christianson along the baseline for a leaner to restore a double-figure lead at 46-34 with 3 minutes remaining.
Christianson netted 14 points for the hometown Cardinals, Thiesse and Kristen Campe each supplied five points, while Sierra Schultz contributed four points, seven rebounds and three assists.
McKayla Schilling delivered six points, six rebounds and three assists to Luverne's effort, while Sudenga chipped in six points.
Fairmont (5-9) plays host to Ellsworth at 6 p.m. tonight in Game 1 of a non-league varsity doubleheader at Cardinal Gym.
Luverne (7-9) plays host to Southwest Conference opponent Pipestone Area on Tuesday night.
Stanley 0-5 0-0 0, Schilling 2-9 2-2 6, Sudenga 1-4 4-7 6, Rust 0-7 2-4 2, Wohnoutka 9-21 3-4 26, Haugen 0-6 0-0 0, Dohlmann 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 12-54 11-17 40.
Christianson 7-10 0-0 14, Thiesse 2-4 1-2 5, Lardy 7-11 6-7 20, Campe 2-6 0-0 5, Schultz 2-3 0-0 4, Kim 0-0 0-0 0, Wegener 0-0 1-2 1, Atzenhoefer 0-0 1-2 1, Mosloski 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-34 9-13 50.
3-pointers: Luverne 5-27 (Wohnoutka 5-12, Haugen 0-5, Schilling 0-4, Stanley 0-3, Rust 0-3); Fairmont 1-3 (Campe 1-2, Thiesse 0-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Fairmont 33 (Lardy 16); Luverne 23 (Schilling 6). Assists: Fairmont 17 (Lardy 6; Christianson, Schultz and Campe); Luverne 5 (Schilling 3). Steals: Luverne 10 (Wohnoutka 5); Fairmont 5 (Lardy 3).
Haley Harder generated 11 points, four steals and three assists to guide Fairmont to a 31-17 victory over Luverne during B-squad action Saturday night.
Courtney Mosloski netted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Cardinals, Sophie Shelgren pocketed six steals, while Sydney Glienke added four steals.