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Cardinals hold off Saints, 68-59

GETTING UP — Fairmont Cardinal guard Zach Jorgensen (11) goes up for a layup during Big South Conference basketball action against St. James Area on Monday in St. James. The Cardinals Gavin Junkermeier (14) and David Maakestad (1), and the Saints’ Alex Stresemann (15) and Connor Jones (bottom) watch the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ST. JAMES — Fairmont’s offense spread the ball around, while St. James Area’s ran through one man.

Three Cardinal players reached double-digit scoring to power Fairmont to a 68-59 Big South Conference win over the Saints on Monday in St. James.

Hayden Jones was the lone Saint to reach double digits, scoring 35 of the Saints points and never having fewer than half the Saints’ total at any point in the matchup.

The team’s battled to a 19-18 Fairmont advantage with 6:32 left in the first half before the Cardinals were able to open the lead going into halftime.

Zach Jorgensen made a post-spin move into a short fadeaway for two of his team-high 19 points, then he turned a steal into a layup to put the Cardinals up 23-18.

Sawyer Tordsen scored a putback layup, then made a short jumper to put the Cardinals up 27-19 with 3:16 remaining.

Jones scored the final seven SJA points of the half, including three free throws and two layups off drives.

Tanner Rosch scored the Cardinals final five points, sending Fairmont into the break with a 32-23 lead, off two free throws and a left-wing 3 off one of Levi Pooley’s game-high six assists.

“I thought we played gritty,” Cardinal head coach Jared Thompson said. “We hadn’t played a really competitive game in two weeks. … Just like the last time we played St. James, … they went on a big run and cut the lead to 1. … It seems like we’ve had the ability to respond to those big runs.

“There were mistakes here and there, but when it really mattered we took care of the ball and knocked free throws down.”

The Saints stormed back to start the second half.

Jones drove to a floater in the lane, then assisted Michael Suarez for a right-corner 3 to bring the Saints within 32-28.

The pair repeated their effort for another 3 to bring the Saints within one, causing Thompson to call his first timeout of the second half with 15:35 left.

Jorgensen and Jones went back and forth to keep the game close.

Jorgensen dished out two assists, one to Pooley and one to Rosch, and hit a mid-range jumper, while Jones scored four points before Alex Stresemann assisted Connor Jones for a 3 to bring the Cardinal lead to 39-38.

Tordsen then started the Cardinal run to build the lead they would keep.

Pooley assisted Tordsen for a mid-range jumper, then Gavin Junkermeier hit a putback 2 and Rosch sank one of two free throws to put the Cardinals up 44-38.

Hayden Jones scored the next nine Saints’ points to keep SJA in the game, but after Jacob Crissinger sank two left-wing 3s and Jorgensen hit another short jumper, the Cardinal lead was too much to overcome.

Fairmont made 10 of 12 free throws in the final few minutes to maintain its advantage.

Fairmont hit 50 percent of its shots overall, 23-for-46, and made 12 out of 18 free throw attempts.

The Saints made 19 of 42 attempts, and hit 14 out of 17 tries from the charity stripe.

Jorgensen led the Cardinals with 19 points, while poking away three steals and dishing out three assists. Rosch scored 15 points and brought down five boards for the Cardinals, while Crissinger hit 4 of 10 attempts from 3, while making two free throws, for 14 points.

Junkermeier led the Cardinals with six rebounds to complement seven points, and Pooley led the game with six assists.

Jones led all scorers with 35 points to complement team highs in rebounds (5), assists (3) and steals (3).

“He’s gotta be averaging about 30 this year,” Thompson said of Jones. “The problem is, our best defensive matchup on him is a guy we can’t afford to get in foul trouble. We try to keep Zach (Jorgensen) off him as long as we can. If we play these guys again, we’ll have to come in with a different plan because we’re 0-2 in slowing him down. We’re 2-0 in getting wins, but he scored over 30 both times.”

Fairmont (5-4) goes to Worthington for another Big South matchup at 7:15 p.m. Thursday. SJA (2-10) plays host to St. Clair at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

Fairmont 32-36–68

St. James Area 23-36–59

Fairmont (68)

Jorgensen 8-12 2-2 19, Rosch 4-8 2-5 15, Crissinger 4-10 2-2 14, Tordsen 4-5 1-2 9, Junkermeier 2-2 3-3 7, Pooley 1-5 2-2 4, Maakestad 0-4 0-2 0. Totals: 23-46 12-18 68.

SJA (59)

H. Jones 11-19 11-14 35, Stresemann 3-5 0-0 8, Suarez 2-10 0-0 6, Stevens 1-2 2-2 4, Balbuena 1-1 1-1 3, C. Jones 1-2 0-0 3, Luna 0-1 0-0 0, Firchau 0-1 0-0 0, T Olson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 19-42 14-17 59.

3-pointers: Fairmont 8-25 (Crissinger 4, Rosch 3); SJA 5-18. Fouled out: Suarez (SJA). Rebounds: Fairmont 26 (Junkermeier 6, Maakestad & Rosch 5 each); SJA 19 (H. Jones 5 & Balbuena 5 each). Assists: Fairmont 12 (Pooley 6, Jorgensen 3); SJA 7 (H. Jones 3). Steals: Fairmont 10 (Jorgensen 3); SJA 8 (H. Jones 3). Blocks: Fairmont 1; SJA 1.

Fairmont took a 37-29 win during B-squad action Monday in St. James.

Gavin Rodning was the lone Cardinal to reach double-digits with 17 points. Blake Hilgendorf hit two 3s for six points, while Armando Hernandez scored five points for the Cardinals.

Fairmont defeated St. James Area, 36-35, during C-squad action Monday night in St. James.

Haden Toomer led the Cardinals with 15 points, while Trevor Maakestad chipped in six points.

Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 48, Martin County West 46 — Jamis Ulman connected on two free throws with 7 seconds left to propel the Knights past the Mavericks during Valley Conference action Monday in Sherburn.

Mitch Weber led the Mavericks with 16 points, while Zach Anderson had 10 points, four steals and four assists. Tanner Sinn added 10 points to the MCW effort, complementing a team-high eight rebounds, while Cash Owens poked away four steals and brought down six rebounds.

MCW shot 12-for-31 from 2, made 5 of 16 attempts from 3 and hit 7 out of 13 free throw tries.

Drew Dahl led the Knights with 12 points,while Miles Flack added 11.

MCW (5-7) goes to Madelia for another Valley Conference matchup at 7:15 p.m. Friday.

LCWM 26-22–48

MCW 11-25–46

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