FAIRMONT - Defense, defense and more defense.
Fairmont's trademark defense matched a single-game school record in holding New Ulm to eight points per half en route to a 55-16 South Central Conference basketball victory on Thursday night at Cardinal Gym.
The Cardinals' airtight defensive performance tied the mark of 16 points allowed by St. James on Dec. 16, 1977.
DEFENSIVE PRESSURE — Fairmont forward Pauli Anderson (41) applies defensive pressure to New Ulm’s Ellishah Stone (31) during South Central Conference basketball action Thursday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Haley Harder (red jersey) and the Eagles’ Meleah Reinhart look on. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"I knew we were in the ballpark of the record for fewest points allowed in a game, but I originally thought it was 15," said Fairmont head coach Don Waletich. "It's nice that we were able to tie the record tonight."
Ironically, New Ulm committed only 14 turnovers on the game, but the Cardinals' smothering defense forced the Eagles into a 15 percent shooting performance from the floor - a mere 6 of 39 on the night.
Ellie Schneider's 15-foot jumper near the free throw line inched New Ulm within 5-4 during the game's initial stages before Kayla Lardy's putback basket triggered Fairmont's ensuing 9-0 run.
Sierra Schrader, who contributed nine points to the red-and-white's balanced scoring attack, sliced through traffic for a runner before Courtney Mosloski's two free throws extended the Cardinals' lead to 11-4. Emily Kim, who supplied seven points, got the roll on a 3-pointer to widen the home team's lead to double digits at the 10-minute juncture.
Mosloski, who produced eight points, six boards and three steals, then swooshed a baseline jumper off one of Sierra Schultz's game-best four assists to stake Fairmont to a 26-8 halftime edge.
Mosloski's 12-foot jumper also served as the catalyst behind the Cardinals' 18-3 surge that bridged intermission.
Kristen Campe delivered a perfect low-post pass to Lardy for a lay-in before Schultz weaved through defenders before spotting Mosloski for a low-post bank shot to open the second half.
Alex Christianson, who delivered a game-high double-double performance of 10 points and 10 rebounds, later muscled home a basket in traffic to force a New Ulm timeout at the 14:42 mark.
Taylor Bolduan drained a left-wing 3-pointer to end New Ulm's scoring drought at the 13:30 juncture before Christianson and Schrader ignited 10 more unanswered points to extend the lead to 42-11 with 8:44 remaining in the game.
Kelsey Anderson hit a left-wing 18-footer for the Eagles at the 7:42 mark before the Cardinals' Haley Harder hit a pull-up 10-footer to trigger a 13-0 game-ending run.
Pauli Anderson scored a career-high eight points for Fairmont, while Kim chipped in a pair of free throws down the stretch.
"I thought Pauli gave us good post play off the bench during the second half," Waletich said in reference to Anderson's 3-for-5 shooting effort from the floor and 2-for-2 free throw accuracy.
Fairmont (12-2, 5-0 SCC) plays Jackson County Central at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Jackson in a rescheduled nonconference game.
New Ulm (1-9, 1-4) plays host to Mankato East on Tuesday night.
New Ulm edged Fairmont, 34-31, during B-squad action Thursday night in Fairmont.
Marisa Nelson collected eight points and five rebounds to help pace the Cardinals, while Marissa Voss tossed in six points.
Sophie Brau chipped in four points for Fairmont, while Abby Fitzgerald garnered six rebounds.
Taylor Crissinger produced 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals to guide Fairmont to a 50-30 triumph over New Ulm during C-squad action Thursday night in Fairmont.
Alli Lardy generated eight points and five blocked shots for the Cardinals, Brooke Hunwardsen tallied seven points, while Claire Cutler chipped in six points.
Martin Luther 53, Granada-Huntley-East Chain 48 - The Knights converted 26 of 35 free throws to edge the Mustangs by five points during Valley Conference action Thursday night in Northrop.
Amber Schulz generated a team-best 15 points and pulled down eight rebounds for Martin Luther, while teammate Kayley Shoen delivered 14 points, including a 9-for-10 performance from the charity stripe.
Alexis Brummond contributed eight points for the Knights, who made 9 of 23 shots from 2-point range and 3 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc.
Rachel Shumski produced a game-high 19 points to complement five rebounds and five assists to pace GHEC's effort.
Mariah Jensen supplied 10 points, five steals and three assists for the Mustangs, who hit 19 of 48 shots from 2-point distance. GHEC also hit 2 of 9 from behind the 3-point line and sank 4 of 6 at the line.
Martin Luther (3-6, 2-3 Valley) travels to Lake Crystal on Monday night, while Granada-Huntley-East Chain (3-5, 3-3) plays host to Nicollet tonight at East Chain School.
Martin County West 70, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 28 - Taryn Tumbleson delivered a game-best 16 points to top a balanced scoring attack as the Mavericks stampeded to a 42-point Valley Conference victory over the Knights on Thursday night in Sherburn.
Kate Thiesse generated 15 points and seven rebounds for MCW, while Reilly Geistfeld supplied 12 points and five steals.
Morgan Larson distributed four assists for the Mavericks, who scorched the nets on 30 of 50 field goals for 60 percent to complement 10-for-14 shooting at the line.
Martin County West (9-1, 5-0 Valley) plays host to Mountain Lake Area on Tuesday night in Sherburn.
Blue Earth Area 51, Medford 32 - Paige Darrington finished just one rebound shy of a double-double performance to power the Bucs to a 19-point nonconference win over the Tigers on Thursday night in Blue Earth.
Darrington scored 14 points to complement nine rebounds, while teammate Kaitlyn Olsen tallied 15 points to top a balanced BEA offensive attack.
Jenna Stevermer contributed 13 points and three steals, while teammate Karli Olsen pulled down a game-best 10 boards for the Bucs.
BEA connected on 12 of 43 shots from 2-point range, 6 of 19 behind the 3-point arc and 9 of 15 at the line.
Blue Earth Area (4-5, 1-3 South Central) travels to St. James tonight.