FAIRMONT - Mitch Pfingsten delivered 27 points to help engineer then No. 10-ranked Fairmont's 64-59 basketball victory over then top-ranked St. Peter on Jan. 24 at Cardinal Gym.
Pfingsten earned KEYC-TV prep athlete of the week honors last Friday, while the Cardinals climbed four spots to No. 6 in the latest Class 2A state rankings.
The high-scoring junior guard and his Fairmont teammates proved more than worthy of the respective prep hardwood accolades during their first South Central Conference game in a week.
IT’S MINE — Fairmont’s Justin Barnes (11) snares the long rebound away from St. James’ Zach Brandts (second from left) during South Central Conference basketball action Thursday night in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Josh Eversman (25), Mitch Pfingsten (3) and Ryan Noll (31), along with the Saints’ Devon Schmitz (23), watch the action. Photo by Leanna Becker
Pfingsten produced game-leading totals of 26 points, six steals and four assists to complement a team-best seven boards to power No. 6 Fairmont's 70-40 conference rout over the St. James Saints on Thursday night in Fairmont.
"In the first half, I thought we were still coming down a bit from the big win over St. Peter last week," said Cardinal mentor Jared Thompson, whose lineup held a narrow 31-24 halftime lead over the high-octane Saints, who average 66 points per game. "We finally elevated our defensive pressure and energy during the second half, and that really got us going again."
Pfingsten converted one of Ryan Noll's three assists into a cutter in traffic to trigger Fairmont's 9-0 run to build a 16-point lead during the first 4 minutes of the second half.
Bryce Holm and Noll sank solo free throws before Pfingsten swooshed one of his six 3-pointers off a Levi Becker assist. Levi Becker then sank a pair of charity tosses for a 40-26 edge.
Zach Brandts, a 20-point plus scorer, later converted a traditional 3-point play to ignite the Saints' countering 7-0 run. Brandts added another runner in the lane before teammate Walker Froehling sank two free throws to reduce St. James' deficit to 41-33 with 10 and a half minutes left in regulation.
Unfortunately for the Saints, the Cardinals reeled off an incredible 22-1 run that spanned more than 5 and a half minutes to put the final outcome out of reach.
Fairmont applied full-court man-to-man defensive pressure to trigger the initial eight-point surge as Jay Ruen tossed in a baseline leaner and Pfingsten hit a runner in the lane. Pfingsten then pocketed back-to-back thefts, scoring a layup on the first and flipping a scoop pass to Noll for a gliding lay-in on the latter steal.
St. James called timeout at the 9:32 juncture, but the short recess did not interrupt Fairmont's offensive avalanche.
Pfingsten snapped the nylon nets on another trifecta off a kickout pass from Holm before Ruen converted back-to-back assists from Pfingsten into slashing runners through the lane.
Brandts, who finished with a team-best 12 points to complement eight rebounds, connected on the front end of a two-shot foul situation to slightly interrupt the Cardinals' outburst.
Holm converted a one-and-one situation, Josh Eversman cleaned the glass for a putback basket before Luke Becker nailed the first of his two 3-pointers to cap a 63-34 lead.
Sam Carlson sank a long 2-pointer from the top of the key to end St. James' field goal drought with 4:34 remaining in regulation.
Ruen and Levi Becker each contributed eight points to the Cardinals' winning ways, while Holm supplied seven points and six rebounds.
Ryan Menssen delivered nine points for the Saints, while Froehling generated seven points and eight boards.
Fairmont (14-3, 6-0 SCC) travels to Pipestone on Saturday for a 6 p.m. game.
St. James (1-16, 0-8) hits the road to Jackson County Central on Saturday.
Spencer Chirpich erupted for 16 points, six assists and six steals to power Fairmont to a 58-47 victory over St. James during B-squad action Thursday in Fairmont.
Ben Abel contributed 15 points and six rebounds to the Cardinals' winning ways, Derek Hunwardsen tallied nine points, Cole Emler scored seven and Kale Fritz pulled down six rebounds.
The Fairmont B-squad (12-3) travels to Pipestone on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. game.
Tyler Tennyson pocketed 13 points and seven steals to pace Fairmont's 39-31 triumph over St. James during C-squad action Thursday in Fairmont.
Noah Quiring collected 10 points and seven boards for the Cardinals, while Chris Andrews chipped in six points and five rebounds.
Sleepy Eye Public 75, Truman/Martin Luther 67 - Brandon Polesky netted 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists to guide the Indians to a 75-67 non-league victory over the BluejayKnights on Thursday in Sleepy Eye.
John Mangen contributed 12 points to Sleepy Eye's victory, while teammate Jake Trebesch netted 11 points and seven rebounds.
Sam Geistfeld poured in a game-leading 22 points to complement six boards for TML, while teammate Chandler Greier chipped in 13 points
DaMarko Thomas produced a double-double performance of 11 points and 11 rebounds for the BluejayKnights, who made 25 of 57 field goals and 11 of 22 free throws on the game.
Truman/Martin Luther (9-8, 5-4 Valley) plays host to Cleveland tonight in Truman.