FAIRMONT - Josh Eversman displayed his long-distance shooting skills to establish a high-scoring pace during Saturday's basketball season-opener before capping Fairmont's 14-point triumph over Windom Area with an exclamation point.
The 6-foot-4 Eversman delivered a game-best 29 points, including seven 3-pointers and a pair of second-half dunks, to complement 11 rebounds in engineering the Class 2A, No. 4-ranked Cardinals' 79-65 nonconference victory over the Eagles in Fairmont.
"Obviously, Josh's numbers speak for themselves today," said Fairmont head coach Jared Thompson. "He hit all four of the 3s that he shot in the first half, and I thought he and Nick Roggow did a nice job of playing well with two fouls each without picking up a third during the latter stages of the opening half.
ELEVATING — Fairmont’s Josh Eversman elevates to shoot a jumpshot over Windom Area’s Victor Ogeka (11) during season-opening basketball action on Saturday at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. Fairmont’s Mitch Pfingsten (3), Jay Ruen (red 35) and Nick Roggow (41), along with Windom Area’s Jacob Gotto (24) and Bryce Bever (white 35), watch the low-post action. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"Before that stretch, we just seemed to be trading baskets with them."
After Windom center Bryce Bever converted one of his co-game-best 11 boards into a putback basket to whittle Fairmont's lead to 27-23, Eversman and Roggow combined for a 9-0 run to establish the game's first double-digit lead with 3 minutes remaining before halftime.
Mitch Pfingsten, who produced a double-double performance of 15 points and a game-best 10 assists, spotted Eversman cutting along the baseline to trigger the Cardinals' ensuing run that widened the lead to 36-23.
Eversman, who scorched the Cardinal Gym nylon cords on 7-for-9 shooting from behind the bonus arc, drilled a right-wing 3-pointer before Nate Johnson delivered back-to-back assists to Roggow.
Roggow, who displayed his own deft shooting touch by drilling 6 of 7 field goals en route to 14 points, tossed in a 14-foot baseline jumper off Johnson's wraparound pass before nailing a right-corner 2-pointer.
"I was pleased with how we moved the ball, especially during the second half," Thompson said in reference to Fairmont's runs of 9-0 and 11-2 during the final 15 minutes of regulation. "When you have four guys in double figures (in scoring) and 20 assists, everybody's moving the ball and the guys are staying active."
After Victor Ogeka's 3-pointer narrowed the Eagles' gap to 46-39 during the second half's early stages, Eversman engineered the Cardinals' second 9-0 of the game by converting Jay Ruen's assist into a left-corner trifecta.
Pfingsten then hit a patented gliding 15-footer in traffic before Pfingsten pocketed a steal and alertly delivered a perfect lead pass to a breaking Eversman for a one-handed throw-down. Pfingsten then threaded an assist through traffic to Roggow for a runner in the lane to cap a 55-39 edge with 13 minutes remaining.
Ruen, who rounded out the Cardinals' four double-figure scorers with 12 points, nailed a 3-pointer to help counter treys from the Eagles' Jacob Gotto and Bever.
Clinging to an 11-point lead, Eversman snapped the nets on another 3-pointer to serve as the catalyst behind Fairmont's 11-2 surge.
Cardinal guard Taylor Beebe bookended Eagle guard Sam Huska's driving basket with a right-corner 2 and a left-side trey off an Eversman assist.
The two sharpshooters traded roles on the next trip downcourt, with Beebe spotting Eversman for a left-corner 3 to extend the lead to 69-49 with 7:45 left in the game.
Eversman ended the season-opener by pocketing a steal to the wing, drove the distance and shook the basket supports with a two-handed slam with 2:13 remaining.
Gotto produced team-bests of 15 points and eight assists for the Eagles, Huska tossed in 12 points, Ogeka tallied 10 points off the bench, while Bever neared double-double territory with nine points and 11 boards.
Fairmont (1-0) plays host to Worthington at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Cardinal Gym.
Windom Area (0-1) plays host to Cedar Mountain/ Comfrey at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
Jack Waletich delivered 12 points, including two free throws with 4.7 seconds remaining in regulation, to guide Fairmont to a season-opening 46-40 victory over Windom Area during B-squad action Saturday at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont.
Walker Tordsen contributed eight points and six rebounds to the Cardinals' winning ways, while Kale Fritz supplied eight points.
Tyler Tennyson chipped in seven points for Fairmont (1-0), while Josh Liljenquist added six points.
Theo Krumholz netted 14 points and six rebounds to pace Fairmont's 38-30 season-opening triumph over Windom Area during C-squad play Saturday in Fairmont.
Matt Larson and Carter Lloyd each produced nine points for the Cardinals (1-0), while Tyler Johnson garnered seven rebounds and distributed four assists.