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Waseca grinds out basketball win over Fairmont

KNOCKED DOWN — Fairmont forward Rayah Quiring (5) gets bumped to the Cardinal Gym hardwood floor by Waseca post player Camryn McQuery (32) during Big South Conference basketball action Friday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — For the second time during a five-day span, the Fairmont Cardinals and Waseca Bluejays locked up in a low-scoring defensive struggle reminiscent of the sports movie classic “Hoosiers.”

Melady Renteria delivered game-bests of 14 points and four steals, while Brittney Draeger contributed 11 points, six boards and three assists to help Waseca eke out a 40-35 Big South Conference victory over Fairmont on Friday night at Cardinal Gym.

The Bluejays avenged their 37-34 defeat at the hands of the Cardinals on Monday night in Waseca to split the seasonal series.

“Both defenses kept grinding and grinding and grinding tonight,” said Fairmont head coach Sara Junkermeier, whose lineup attempted just 23 field goals overall, but did make 11 for 47.8%. “We ran a number of plays in practice to get ready for tonight’s game, but Waseca’s defense cut off everything we tried to run.”

Cadee Becker reversed the Cardinals’ early 8-7 deficit into a four-point lead by converting a traditional 3-point play after corraling the loose basketball along the baseline. Becker then tallied two more of her team-high nine points by hitting a low-post leaner off an assist from Cassidy Schultz with 8 minutes left in the opening half.

Jaden Hiller, however, nailed both of her 3-pointers to help the Bluejays regain a one-point edge with 4:59 to go before halftime. Hiller swooshed a right-wing trey off a Draeger penetrate-and-kick pass before the Cardinals’ Faith Olson countered with a left-wing trifecta off one of Madysen Allen’s three assists.

Hiller then cashed in Madeline Bulfer’s assist for a left-wing 3 before Renteria banked home a cutter off a pinpoint dish from Gabby Rodriguez for an 18-15 lead.

Rayah Quiring later inched Fairmont within one only 22 seconds before halftime by tossing in a backdoor baseline jumper off a Becker assist.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they did not attempt a field goal until 5 minutes had elapsed during the 18-minute second half, while the Bluejays managed to net only four points to that juncture for a 23-19 margin.

Draeger’s 3-pointer widened Waseca’s lead to 26-19 with 12 1/2 minutes left in regulation before Allen and Maggy Totzke countered for Fairmont. Allen sank a solo free throw before hitting a low-post leaner off an Olson inbound pass for the Cardinals’ initial made field goal of the second half at the 11:05 mark.

Totzke buried a clutch 3-pointer to whittle Fairmont’s deficit to 28-25 with 7:25 remaining, but Renteria’s slashing drives down the lane and Draeger’s 5-for-6 shooting performance from the charity stripe during the final 47 seconds sealed Waseca’s narrow win.

Olson scored seven points for the Cardinals, while Allen collected five points, four rebounds and three assists. Quiring chipped in four points, four boards and three steals, while Totzke netted five points.

Hiller finished with eight points for the Bluejays.

Fairmont (4-4) travels to New Ulm next Friday night for another conference game, while Waseca (4-4) hits the road to Waterville on Tuesday night to face Class A, No. 4-ranked Waterville-Elysian-Morristown in a non-league clash.

Waseca 19-21–40

Fairmont 18-17–35

FAIRMONT (35)

Becker 3-4 3-5 9, Quiring 1-3 2-3 4, Miller 1-1 1-2 3, Allen 2-3 1-2 5, Olson 2-9 1-2 7, Mosloski 1-1 0-2 2, Schultz 0-0 0-0 0, Totzke 1-2 2-2 5. Totals 11-23 10-18 35.

WASECA (40)

Draeger 2-9 5-6 11, Rodriguez 1-3 0-0 2, Renteria 6-7 1-3 14, Hiller 3-6 0-0 8, McQuery 1-9 2-2 4, Wadd 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 13-37 9-13 40.

3-pointers: Waseca 5-10 (Draeger 2-4, Hiller 2-4, Renteria 1-2); Fairmont 3-11 (Olson 2-9, Totzke 1-2). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Fairmont 20 (Schultz 5); Waseca 20 (Draeger 6, Wadd 5). Assists: Fairmont 9 (Allen 3); Waseca 5 (Draeger 3). Steals: Waseca 11 (Renteria 4); Fairmont 9 (Quiring 3).

Fairmont fended off Waseca’s second-half rally to net a 34-25 victory during B-squad action Friday night at Cardinal Gym.

Abby Cihoski scored eight points to top the Cardinals’ winning performance.

Nevaeh Rahm and Ava Terfehr each poured in 17 points to power Fairmont to a 54-21 rout over Waseca during C-squad action Friday night in Fairmont.

Rahm also pulled down seven rebounds, while Terfehr pocketed five steals. Grace Pendergast contributed six points and six rebounds to the win, while Hope Klanderud chipped in six points and four assists.

The Fairmont eighth-grade girls hoopsters netted back-to-back wins earlier in the week.

Ellie Ortega scored 12 points to pace the Cardinals’ 28-14 triumph over Blue Earth Area on Thursday. Meredith Nemmers contributed five points to the win, while Bella Schroeder chipped in four points.

Brylee Miller tossed in 14 points to steer Fairmont to a 32-21 victory over Martin County West on Tuesday. Ortega supplied nine points, while Nemmers contributed seven points.

Boys Basketball

Waseca 83, Fairmont 46 — The Class AA No. 1-ranked Bluejays shot 55 percent from the field, including 11 of 26 from 3-point range, to coast by the Cardinals during Big South Conference basketball action Friday night in Waseca.

Ryan Dufault led the Bluejays with 21 points, while teammate Kyreese Willingham totaled 18. Matt Seberson joined Dufault and Willingham in double-digit scoring with 12 points.

Jacob Crissinger was the high scorer for the Cardinals with 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting from behind the arc, while Zach Jorgensen scored 10 points and brought down four rebounds.

Sawyer Tordsen led the Cardinals with six rebounds, while Levi Pooley distributed a team-high four assists.

Fairmont made 17 of 49 shots overall, including 6 of 19 from 3-point range, while making 6 of 14 free throw attempts.

Waseca outrebounded the Cardinals 39-20.

Fairmont (4-4) plays host to New Ulm at 7:30 p.m. next Friday night at Cardinal Gym. Waseca (8-0) travels to New Ulm for a 7:30 p.m. matchup Tuesday night.

The Bluejays overcame two Cardinals scoring in double digits for a 62-48 win in B-squad action Friday in Waseca.

Prince Lebbi led the Cardinals with 15 points, while Blake Hilgendorf added 12 points to the Cardinals’ efforts. Jamie Mueller added seven points for Fairmont.

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