FAIRMONT - Kenzie Beekman probably is best known for her ability to spike a volleyball after guiding Marshall to the 2013 Class AA state championship and earning a spot on the all-tournament team.
The 5-foot-10 Beekman, however, displayed her basketball skills on Tuesday night, scoring six points during the Class 3A, No. 5-ranked and undefeated Tigers' pivotal 15-0 run against the Fairmont Cardinals during the early stages of their nonconference clash of hardwood titans in Fairmont.
Beekman ignited Marshall's double-figure scoring surge at the 13-minute mark to transform the Tigers' narrow 7-6 edge into a 16-point lead midway through the first half.
DRIVE FROM?THE TOP — Fairmont’s Kayla Lardy (left) drives into the lane against Marshall’s Marah Mulso during basketball action Tuesday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Kristen Campe (back) watches the play. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Beekman finished with 15 points and six steals, while teammate Sarah Buysse produced 17 points, seven rebounds, six steals and seven assists to fuel the Tigers' 63-46 victory over the Cardinals.
Marshall, who improved to 12-0 overall, halted Fairmont's winning streak at five in a row.
"I thought we defended their post players well during the first half, but they got too many looks inside for our liking during the second half," Tiger head coach Dan Westby said in reference to the Cardinals outscoring his lineup 30-26 during the final 18 minutes. "Our defense worked hard, but you have to tip your hat to Fairmont for battling us right to the end."
Indeed. After Cardinal power forward Courtney Mosloski converted Kristen Campe's assist into a baseline bank shot to slice the home team's deficit to 7-6, Beekman and the Tigers pounced to 15 unanswered points to build a 22-6 lead with 8 minutes left in the opening half.
Callie Graff drilled one of the orange-and-black attack's three 3-pointers during the uninterrupted run before Beekman pounded the paint for a 10-footer.
Lexi Saugstad came off the Marshall bench to snap the Cardinal Gym nets on the first of her two 3s before Beekman pocketed a steal and went the distance for the layup.
After Fairmont mentor Don Waletich called timeout at the 10:30 mark, Beekman nailed a baseline jumper off one of Buysse's game-high seven assists before Morgan Saugstad spotted Lexi Saugstad for another trifecta.
Center Kayla Lardy, who produced a double-double performance of 14 points and a game-high 11 boards to complement four blocked shots, cleared the defensive glass to help the Cardinals end their scoring drought.
Lardy kicked the basketball out to Sierra Schultz, who threaded a low-post entry pass to Alex Christianson for a leaner in traffic.
"I was proud of the way that Kayla stepped up her game tonight. Her leadership and determination really kept our girls working hard throughout the game," said Waletich, whose lineup played within one point - 40-41 - of Marshall after trailing 22-6. "It was good for our girls to play a team the caliber of Marshall and fight back in the second half."
Lardy converted Sierra Schrader's assist into a low-post basket before Mosloski delivered a spin move along the baseline for a late bucket to pare the Cardinals' gap to 35-16 by intermission.
Christianson later worked the baseline and lane to produce eight of her 12 points on the night, while Lardy also tallied eight second-half points and garnered five boards to help Fairmont to a 12-9 second-half rebounding edge en route to a 24-23 margin on the glass overall.
"We got a couple of quick baskets to open the second half, but we couldn't put them away. You have to give Fairmont credit for pounding the ball inside at us during the second half," said Westby.
Christianson's left-wing bank shot and Schultz's runner off the drive pulled the Cardinals within 14 midway through the final half, but that's as close as Fairmont would get. Tiger forward Morgan Saugstad scored all 10 of her points during the final 18 minutes, while Buysse tossed in eight of her game-high 17 to preserve the victory.
Fairmont (13-3, 5-0 South Central) plays host to conference opponent Waseca on Friday night, while Marshall (12-0) plays host to Sioux Falls Washington on Friday night.
Marshall rolled by Fairmont in B-squad action, 58-5, Tuesday night in Fairmont.
Alexis Bass scored three points for the Cardinals, while Marissa Voss added two points.
Marshall defeated Fairmont in C-squad play, 37-18, Tuesday night in Fairmont.
Nine different players scored two points each for the Cardinals.
Martin County West 64, Mountain Lake Area 29 - The Mavericks stampeded to a 42-9 lead by halftime and never looked back en route to a 35-point nonconference triumph over the Wolverines on Tuesday night in Sherburn.
Reilly Geistfeld produced a double-double performance of 16 points and 12 rebounds to top MCW's statistical charts, while teammate Madyson Larson also scored 16 points.
Kate Thiesse delivered a double-double effort of 12 points and 10 boards to go with five steals for the Mavericks, while Ellie Kuehl pocketed seven steals and distributed five assists.
Taryn Tumbleson garnered five steals and doled out four assists for MCW, which hit 28 of 71 field goals and 8 of 15 free throws on the game.
Martin County West (10-1, 5-0 Valley) plays Granada-Huntley-East Chain on Thursday night at East Chain School.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain 77, Nicollet 49 - Ryan Shumski scorched the nets on 11-for-14 field-goal shooting to generate a game-best 23 points to steer the Mustangs to a 77-49 Valley Conference victory over the Raiders on Tuesday night in Nicollet.
Shumski also grabbed seven rebounds, while teammate Logan Pytleski delivered 18 points and five boards.
Josh Johanson netted 17 points for GHEC, Trent Stensland chipped in eight points and six rebounds, while Jared Green added eight assists.
The Mustangs made 30 of 52 shots from 2-point range, 4 of 11 behind the 3-point arc and 5 of 11 at the free throw line.
Matt Christenson scored 20 points to top Nicollet, while Jay Hendrycks supplied 12 points.
The Raiders connected on 17 of 41 shots from 2-point distance, 2 of 6 from behind the bonus arc and 9 of 22 at the charity stripe.
Granada-Huntley-East Chain (4-8, 4-3 Valley) travels to Trimont on Monday to face Martin County West.
Truman/Martin Luther 71, Alden-Conger 54 - Alex Weihe collected a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds to engineer the BluejayKnights' 71-54 Valley Conference victory over the Knights on Tuesday night in Truman.
Weihe also rejected four shots and pocketed three steals, while teammate Sam Geistfeld also delivered a double-double of 17 points and 10 boards. Geistfeld also distributed six assists and pocketed five steals.
Adam Neumann contributed 13 points and five assists to TML's winning ways.
The BluejayKnights hit 27 of 61 field goals and 8 of 10 free throws on the game, while the Knights made 19 of 53 shots from the floor and 7 of 10 at the stripe.
Eli Hallman scored 19 points to pace Alden-Conger,
Truman/Martin Luther (4-9, 2-4 Valley) travels to Madelia on Friday night.
Mankato Loyola 61, Martin County West 53 - Carson Seifert blistered the nets on 16 of 19 field goals to produce a game-high 42 points in propelling the Crusaders to an eight-point Valley Conference victory over the Mavericks on Tuesday night in Mankato.
Cordell Weber scored 16 points to top MCW's balanced offensive effort, while teammates Alex Biehn and Jake Sinn contributed 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Mavericks made 15 of 26 shots from 2-point range, 7 of 23 from behind the 3-point arc and only 2 of 3 at the free throw line.
Martin County West (6-4, 4-1 Valley) plays host to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Friday night in Trimont.
Le Sueur-Henderson 83, Blue Earth Area 77 - Jordan Kahlow and Tremaine Wadley each scored 18 points to pace the Giants' six-point non-league decision over the Bucs on Tuesday night in Le Sueur.
Luke Monson, who poured in an incredible 44 points against United South Central on Monday night, followed up with a double-double performance of 30 points and 13 rebounds to pace Blue Earth Area.
Derek Johnson contributed 14 points and six assists to the Bucs' cause.
Blue Earth Area (3-9, 2-4 South Central) plays host to New Ulm on Friday night.