Fairmont hoopsters oust Maple River in 2AA playoff clash
FAIRMONT — Every time the No. 5-seeded Maple River Eagles whittled No. 4-seeded Fairmont’s lead to two possessions, the trio of Madysen Allen, Cadence Becker and Brittney Mosloski restored the Cardinals’ margin to a comfortable distance Monday night.
Allen poured in a career-best 20 points, Becker tallied 15 points, Mosloski scored 12 off the bench, while Faith Olson distributed a game-best five assists to engineer Fairmont’s 72-64 victory over Maple River during Section 2AA, South Sub-Section quarterfinal basketball action at Cardinal Gym.
Fairmont (15-10) advances to face No. 1-seeded Waseca in a 6 p.m. sub-section semifinal Friday night at Mankato East High School. The Bluejays routed No. 8-seeded Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, 66-24.
Maple River ended its season with a 15-12 record.
“Mady just has a nose for the basketball and goes hard — but under control — every play out there,” Fairmont head coach Sara Junkermeier said in reference to the hard-working 5-foot-4 Allen.
After the Cardinals and Eagles traded the early lead five times, Becker and Allen produced the playoff clash’s sixth and final exchange on the scoreboard by triggering a pivotal 7-0 run with 7 minutes left before intermission.
Olson drove the wing before lobbing a low-post entry pass to Becker for the spinning lay-in before Allen swooshed a left-wing 15-footer. Rayah Quiring chipped in a solo free throw before Quiring spotted Mosloski in the paint for two more points and a 25-19 lead.
“Moz really went to battle inside tonight and grabbed a couple of key offensive boards when we needed them,” Junkermeier said in reference to Mosloski, who shared team-high rebounding honors with Becker with six apiece.
Eighth-grade phenom Claire McGregor, who finished with 15 points and a co-game-best eight rebounds off the Maple River bench, later hit a putback basket to narrow Fairmont’s lead to 27-23, but the Cardinals would answer.
Bryn Miller worked a perfect pick-and-roll with Olson for a low-post leaner to trigger Fairmont’s 9-2 run to close out the final 2 minutes of the first half.
Maggy Totzke then snapped the nylon cords on a 3-pointer before the Eagles’ Annabelle Birr’s putback interrupted the Cardinals’ surge. Mosloski then fed Becker for a basket in the paint before Allen spotted Miller for two more and a 36-25 lead by halftime.
McGregor’s traditional 3-point play pared the Eagles’ deficit to 37-32 with 14 minutes left in the second half, but Mosloski’s cross-over in the post countered for the Cardinals.
Isabella Nelson converted one of Ryann Klammer’s four assists into a Maple River basket, but Allen drained a 3-pointer to keep Fairmont ahead 42-34.
“We stayed composed every time they closed the gap on us during the second half, and that was a big factor behind our win,” said Junkermeier.
Ally Bruegger, who netted a game-high 21 points to reach 1,000 for her prep career, combined with Nelson to inch the Eagles within 47-43 only to watch Allen trigger an 8-0 run to give the Cardinals breathing room at 55-43 with 7 minutes remaining.
Allen, Totzke, Mosloski and Olson combined to make 11 of 12 free throws during the final 2 1/2 minutes to pace Fairmont’s 22-for-32 effort from the line on the game.
Miller finished with eight points for the Cardinals, while Totzke chipped in seven points. Nelson netted 11 points and eight boards for the Eagles, while Ashley Ulrich and Klammer chipped in eight and seven points, respectively.
Maple River 25-39–64
Miller 4-9 0-0 8, Allen 7-12 5-6 20, Becker 6-8 3-9 15, Totzke 1-2 4-4 7, Olson 0-3 3-4 3, Mosloski 4-7 4-4 12, Quiring 1-2 1-2 3, Gudahl 1-3 1-1 3, Schultz 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 24-46 22-32 72.
MAPLE RIVER (64)
Ally Bruegger 8-24 5-6 21, Nelson 4-8 3-4 11, Abby Bruegger 0-2 0-1 0, Ulrich 3-6 1-2 8, Klammer 2-4 3-7 7, McGregor 6-9 1-2 15, Birr 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 24-57 13-22 64.
3-pointers: Fairmont 2-4 (Allen 1-1, Totzke 1-2, Olson 0-1); Maple River 3-15 (McGregor 2-3, Ulrich 1-3, Ally Bruegger 0-7, Abby Bruegger 0-2). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Fairmont 32 (Becker and Mosloski 6 each); Maple River 32 (Ally Bruegger, Nelson and McGregor 8 each). Assists: Fairmont 15 (Olson 5); Maple River 10 (Klammer 4). Steals: Fairmont 6 (Olson 3); Maple River 4. Blocked shots: Maple River 5 (Nelson 3).