FAIRMONT - Class 2A, No. 2-ranked Fairmont stormed out of the lockerroom to open the second half of Saturday night's basketball battle with Granada-Huntley-East Chain, and never looked back.
Mitch Pfingsten registered a game-high 22 points, while teammate Josh Eversman produced a double-double of 14 points and 12 boards to propel the Cardinals to a 64-41 non-league victory over the visiting Mustangs in Fairmont.
Despite being outrebounded by a 24-15 margin in the first half, GHEC pared Fairmont's lead to six points with 5 minutes remaining before intermission.
HANGING ON THE RIM — Granada-Huntley-East Chain’s Josh Johanson (12) and Fairmont’s Ben Abel (23) leap for a rebound as the basketball momentarily hangs on the rim during nonconference action Saturday night in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Mitch Pfingsten (right) and the Mustangs’ Josh Wolter look on. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Trent Stensland nailed his second 3-pointer of the opening half off one of Jared Green's four assists to draw the Mustangs to 31-26 before Eversman and Pfingsten countered.
Eversman sank two free throws before Pfingsten tossed in a left-corner 2-pointer off a Taylor Beebe assist to push the Cardinals' margin back to 10.
Josh Johanson, who topped GHEC with 12 points, hit a cutter to the basket off a Green pass before Eversman and Pfingsten answered during the final minute of the opening segment.
Ironically, Eversman's backdoor lay-in off one of Pfingsten's four assists and Pfingsten's ensuing free throws at the 20-second juncture triggered the Cardinals' 17-1 run that bridged the halftime break.
"We (coaching staff) really didn't say much to them (during intermission)," Fairmont head coach Jared Thompson said with a shrug of his shoulders.
Ahead 39-27, Pfingsten drilled a 3-pointer to open the second half before Eversman distributed one of his four assists to Jay Ruen for a breakaway basket.
Ryan Shumski, who neared double-double territory by collecting eight points and a team-best eight rebounds, sank the front end of a two-shot foul situation to interrupt the Cardinals' offensive surge.
Nick Roggow tossed in two of his nine points from the low post before Ruen pocketed a steal and fed Eversman for a layup. Eversman then drained a right-wing 3 before Ben Abel added a solo free throw to extend Fairmont's lead to 52-28 with 13 minutes remaining in regulation.
Luke Becker connected on a pair of 3-pointers to pace his 10-point effort in complementing his six rebounds on the game for the Cardinals.
Stensland and Logan Pytleski scored eight and six points, respectively, for the Mustangs, while Josh Wolter supplied four steals and four assists.
Fairmont (12-1, 4-1 South Central) travels to New Ulm on Thursday night, while Granada-Huntley-East Chain (2-6, 2-2 Valley) plays host to conference opponent Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Tuesday at East Chain School.
Kale Fritz scored 21 points to guide Fairmont to a 49-30 victory over North Union during B-squad action Saturday in Fairmont.
Jack Waletich supplied 11 points, Walker Tordsen tallied eight points, Eli Green distributed six assists, while Tyler Tennyson pulled down four rebounds for the Cardinals (9-0).
Tordsen and Waletich each scored 12 points to steer Fairmont to a 55-43 triumph over St. James on Friday night during B-squad action in St. James.
Fritz contributed 10 points to the Cardinals' winning cause, while Green doled out five assists.
Tyler Johnson and Caleb Lloyd each scored eight points to engineer Fairmont's 38-30 victory over St. James during C-squad action Friday night in St. James.
Johnson then scored nine points, but North Union edged Fairmont, 30-28, during C-squad play on Saturday in Fairmont.
Christian Engeman added five steals for the Cardinals.
Mountain Lake Area 71, Windom Area 61 - Center Carter Kirk neared rare quadruple-double territory in helping power the Class 1A, No. 3-ranked Wolverines to a 10-point non-league victory over the Eagles on Saturday in Mountain Lake.
Kirk scored 15 points, pulled down a game-best 14 rebounds, blocked seven shots and distributed seven assists.
Andrew Hempeck generated a double-double of 10 points and a game-best 12 assists to go with seven rebounds for MLA.
Cody Klassen poured in 22 points to top the Wolverines' balanced attack, while Josh Fast chipped in 13 points.
Sam Huska scored a game-high 23 points to top Windom Area, while teammate Bryce Bever netted a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Wolverines built a 37-28 lead by halftime.
Mountain Lake Area (10-0) plays host to Adrian on Thursday.