Fairmont hoopsters win classic crown

MIDCOURT SPRINT — Fairmont guard Abby DeWitt (middle) outsprints Windom Area forward Maurissa Isaacs (front left) to the loose basketball near midcourt during the Windom Area Holiday Classic’s championship game on Friday in Windom. Fairmont’s Alli Lardy (back left) and Taylor Crissinger (21), along with Windom Area’s Kyli Naumann (far right) trail the action. DeWitt, Crissinger and Isaacs were selected to the all-tournament team for their efforts. (Photo by Greg Abel)

MIDCOURT SPRINT — Fairmont guard Abby DeWitt (middle) outsprints Windom Area forward Maurissa Isaacs (front left) to the loose basketball near midcourt during the Windom Area Holiday Classic’s championship game on Friday in Windom. Fairmont’s Alli Lardy (back left) and Taylor Crissinger (21), along with Windom Area’s Kyli Naumann (far right) trail the action. DeWitt, Crissinger and Isaacs were selected to the all-tournament team for their efforts. (Photo by Greg Abel)

WINDOM — After a 7-year hiatus from the Windom Area Holiday Classic, the Fairmont Cardinal girls basketball team emerged victorious on Friday during its return to the two-day event.

Fairmont outscored the host Windom Area Eagles 12-0 during the final seven minutes of regulation to cap a 47-30 triumph en route to the four-team tournament championship hardware.

The Cardinals defeated Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, 68-57, during opening-round action on Thursday night.

All-tournament selection Taylor Crissinger, who finished with a double-double performance of 11 points and a team-best 11 rebounds, swooshed a pivotal 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining in the first half to regain a two-point margin for Fairmont by intermission.

The 6-foot forward produced 11 of the Cardinals’ 24 first-half points to fend off the hometown Eagles’ late 7-0 scoring surge. Sami Bartelt’s cutter through traffic and runner off the glass via Halle Jackson’s assist staked Windom Area to its only lead of the championship clash at 22-21 just 28 seconds before halftime.

Fairmont assistant coach Lucas Kaplan, who filled in for head coach Don Waletich due to illness, issued a halftime challenge to his players and the red-and-white answered during the ensuing 18 minutes.

“Our second-half defense was much better,” said Kaplan. “We (coaching staff) wanted the girls to extend our defense, challenge every shot and box out better.”

Fairmont executed the game plan to a tee, limiting Windom Area to only 15 percent field-goal shooting — 3-for-20 — during the second segment, including a shutout during the final seven minutes.

The Cardinals also executed the other part of the needed equation by outrebounding the Eagles by a 19-9 margin during the home stretch. Windom Area actually outboarded the taller Fairmont lineup 19-13 in the opening half.

“Offensively, we moved the basketball a lot better and didn’t force it,” said Kaplan.

After Windom Area forward Madison Maras buried a pull-up 15-footer to inch her lineup within 33-30, Lexi Lunn and Claire Cutler countered with a two-player, inside-outside strategy. Lunn drilled a clutch 3-pointer from the left corner off a Claire Cutler kickout pass before Lunn fed Cutler for a low-post lay-in during the next trip downcourt.

Guard Abby DeWitt, who also was named to the all-tournament team, utilized a penetrating drive in traffic to set up Alli Lardy’s traditional three-point play for a 41-30 lead with 4:26 remaining in regulation.

Lardy, who finished with a team-best 13 points, cashed in the last of Lunn’s game-best five assists for a low-post leaner before Crissinger spotted Claire Cutler for an 8-footer in the paint. Kylee Harder then converted DeWitt’s third assist into the final basket.

Crissinger produced four assists and three steals to complement her double-double performance for the Cardinals, while Claire Cutler finished with eight points and six rebounds.

Lunn tallied six points to go with her five assists, DeWitt chipped in five points, three assists and two steals, Brenna Cutler pocketed three steals and Lardy added six boards.

Maras topped all scorers by generating 14 points for the Eagles, while Isaacs tallied six points, a game-best 12 rebounds and a team-high three steals.

Fairmont (6-3) plays host to Big South Conference opponent St. James Area at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Cardinal Gym.

Windom Area (3-6) plays host to Mountain Lake Area at 6 p.m. Tuesday night in the first game of a non-league varsity doubleheader in Windom.

Fairmont     24-23–47

Windom      22-  8–30

FAIRMONT (47)

Crissinger 4-11 1-2 11, B. Cutler 1-1 0-0 2, Lardy 6-9 1-3 13, DeWitt 2-7 0-0 5, Lunn 2-6 0-0 6, C. Cutler 3-6 2-2 8, Mosloski 0-2 0-0 0, Moeller 0-0 0-0 0, Harder 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 19-43 4-7 47.

WINDOM (30)

Maras 4-12 6-8 14, Will 0-4 0-0 0, Bartelt 2-5 1-4 5, Isaacs 3-12 0-0 6, Naumann 0-4 0-0 0, Jackson 0-2 3-4 3, Hauge 0-2 0-4 0, Thompson 1-4 0-0 2, Walinga 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 10-45 10-21 30.

3-pointers: Fairmont 5-12 (Crissinger 2-4, Lunn 2-4, DeWitt 1-4); Windom Area 0-5 (Isaacs 0-5). Fouled out. B. Cutler. Rebounds: Fairmont 32 (Crissinger 11); Windom Area 28 (Isaacs 12). Assists: Fairmont 13 (Lunn 5, Crissinger 4, DeWitt 3); Windom Area 4. Steals: Fairmont 9 (Crissinger and B. Cutler 3 each); Windom Area (Isaacs 3).

Boys Basketball

Martin County West 63, Benson 55 — The Mavericks rallied from a two-point halftime deficit to post an eight-point victory over the Braves during the consolation championship game in the Redwood Valley Holiday Invitational on Friday in Redwood Falls.

Logan Ebeling produced a double-double performance for MCW, scoring 13 points to complement a game-high 10 rebounds.

Wyatt Geistfeld topped all scorers by generating 16 points to go with six rebounds and four assists for the Mavericks, while teammate Cam Dressen supplied 11 points and four assists. Matt Holm rounded out MCW’s balanced offensive attack with 10 points.

The Mavericks connected on 11 of 21 free throws, 6 of 17 shots from behind the 3-point arc and 17 of 31 attempts from 2-point range.

Ty Hedman and Max Peterson scored 13 points apiece to pace the Braves, while Justin Goossen chipped in 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Peterson also distributed four assists.

Benson made 7 of 15 free throws, 8 of 27 from 3-point range and 12 of 28 from 2-point distance.

Martin County West (1-8) travels to Alden-Conger next Friday night for a Valley Conference game.

MCW       28-35–63

BEN         30-25–55

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