Belle Plaine scratches Fairmont hoopsters

VERTICAL DEFENSE — Fairmont’s Sam Schwieger blocks a shot by Belle Plaine guard Andrew Hunsader (left) during season-opening nonconference basketball action Saturday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Walker Tordsen (15) and Wyatt Quiring (23), along with the Tigers’ Nathan Herman (35) trail the action. (Photo courtesy of Randy Chirpich)

FAIRMONT — Brody Curtiss pitched Class AA state runner-up Belle Plaine to a 6-5 comeback victory over Fairmont during last spring’s Section 2 championship baseball game.

Once again, Curtiss proved a proverbial thorn in the Cardinals’ side — this time on the prep hardwood court in Fairmont.

The hard-working 6-foot-2 Curtiss delivered a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds, while teammate Nathan Herman tallied a game-best 21 points to help the Tigers scratch the Cardinals, 69-57, during season-opening nonconference basketball action Saturday night.

Herman and Curtiss combined to make 16 of 22 free throws to pace Belle Plaine’s 24-for-32 team performance for 75 percent.

“When you shoot half as many free throws,” Fairmont head coach Jared Thompson said in reference to his lineup’s 11-for-16 effort at the charity stripe, “get outrebounded (37-30) and commit more turnovers overall, you’re probably not going to win.

“We struggled during the first seven minutes, but after that, I thought we were pretty even with them stat-wise for the rest of the game and that’s a good sign.”

Trailing 9-3 on the heels of Noah Hastings scoring the Tigers’ initial seven points of the season-opener, Sam Schwieger triggered the Cardinals’ countering 8-1 surge to actually grab an 11-10 lead.

Schwieger, who topped a balanced Fairmont scoring attack with 17 points, swooshed a 3-pointer off a Brady Allen assist before teammate Nate Kallenbach floated home a baseline runner.

Herman hit a solo free throw for Belle Plaine before Schwieger made a strong drive to the basket and converted a traditional 3-point play for a one-point Fairmont lead at the 12:54 juncture of the first half.

Andrew Hunsader and Patrick Bigaouette, however, countered for the Tigers by draining back-to-back treys off assists from Curtiss to spark a 12-0 run. Herman connected on 5 of 6 free throws before Schwieger’s aggressive drive to the rack ended the Cardinals’ scoring drought with 10 minutes remaining before halftime.

Curtiss’ hard work in the lane during the final minute of the opening half helped Belle Plaine build a 10-point lead by intermission.

Walker Tordsen, who scored all nine of his points and pulled down seven of his game-high 12 rebounds in the second half, kept Fairmont even with Belle Plaine for most of the second half.

The Cardinals held their own with the Tigers in the final 18 minutes, actually producing a 17-16 edge on the glass and matching the visitors with only five second-half turnovers.

Allen contributed nine points off Fairmont’s bench, Kallenbach collected eight points to go with three steals and three assists, while Derek Missling and Lucas Denney chipped in six and five points, respectively.

Hunsader and Hastings each contributed 11 points to the Tigers’ winning ways, with Hastings distributing a game-high five assists. Bigaouette tallied 10 points and eight rebounds off of Belle Plaine’s bench.

Fairmont (0-1) plays host to Blue Earth Area at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.

Belle Plaine (1-0) plays host to Bethlehem Academy at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.

Belle Plaine      36-33–69

Fairmont          26-31–57

FAIRMONT (57)

Schwieger 6-13 3-4 17, Missling 3-6 0-2 6, Tordsen 3-4 3-4 9, T. Johnson 1-4 1-2 3, Kallenbach 4-12 0-0 8, Allen 3-5 2-2 9, Denney 1-4 2-2 5, Quiring 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-48 11-16 57.

BELLE PLAINE (69)

Herman 4-7 10-14 21, Nelson 0-1 0-0 0, Curtiss 5-13 6-8 16, Hunsader 4-10 1-2 11, Hastings 2-9 6-8 11, Bigaouette 4-8 1-4 10, Otto 0-4 0-0 0, Dikmen 0-1 0-0 0, Bergs 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-53 24-32 69.

3-pointers: Belle Plaine 7-25 (Herman 3-6, Hunsader 2-4, Hastings 1-5, Bigaouette 1-3, Otto 0-3, Nelson 0-1, Curtiss 0-2, Dikmen 0-1); Fairmont 4-10 (Schwieger 2-4, Allen 1-2, Denney 1-2, Kallenbach 0-1, T. Johnson 0-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Belle Plaine 37 (Curtiss 11); Fairmont 30 (Tordsen 12). Assists: Belle Plaine 8 (Hastings 5, Curtiss 3); Fairmont 7 (Kallenbach 3). Steals: Belle Plaine 9 (Curtiss 3); Fairmont 3 (Kallenbach 3).

Hayden Berhow produced a game-leading 22 points to guide Fairmont to a 63-59 comeback victory over Belle Plaine during B-squad action Saturday in Fairmont.

Dustin Schultz generated 15 points for the Cardinals (1-0), Nick Eversman contributed 12 points, while Dylan Kennedy chipped in six points behind a pair of 3-pointers.

Jacob Roberts collected 11 points and seven rebounds to propel Fairmont to a 37-27 triumph over Belle Plaine during C-squad play Saturday in Fairmont.

Jack Hested supplied eight points and six boards for the Cardinals (1-0), Dan Betts pulled down 10 rebounds, while Caden Baarts pocketed six steals.

Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton 71, Truman/Martin Luther/ Granada-Huntley-East Chain 70 (OT) — The Bulldogs nipped the Jaguars by one point in overtime to capture the Tip-off Tournament championship on Saturday in Madelia.

Sam Eustice produced 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists to top JWP’s winning effort, while teammate Andrew King supplied 18 points.

Corbyn Burley chipped in 14 points for the Bulldogs, who made 24 of 61 field goals including 9 of 27 from 3-point range to go with a 14-for-20 effort at the free throw line.

Zayne Engel delivered a game-high double-double performance of 28 points and 14 rebounds to guide the Jaguars to runner-up team honors.

Derek Shoen produced 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists for the Jaguars, while teammate Mason Maloney supplied 15 points and six boards.

The Jaguars connected on 24 of 56 field goals, including 2 of 11 from 3-point distance, and 18 of 30 from the free throw line.

The Jaguars (1-1) travel to Wells on Tuesday night to face United South Central.

TMLG     29-36-5–70

JWP         30-35-6–71

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