Marshall girls hoopsters press out win over Fairmont

ONE-HANDED RUNNER — Fairmont center Nevaeh Rahm (33) shoots a running one-hander of Marshall defender Abigail Panka (left) during Big South Conference basketball action Saturday night at Cardinal Gym. The Tigers’ Brianna Simpson (23) watches the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Both the Fairmont and Marshall girls basketball teams exert blanketing defensive pressure from end-to-end, with the two Big South Conference programs combining for 21 victories prior to Saturday night’s head-to-head clash.

Ironically, the old idiom of “something’s got to give” rang true as guards Brianna Simpson and Taleigha Bigler proved the recipients of five steals apiece to pace the visiting Tigers’ 3-to-1 plus ratio in turnovers (39-13) over the Cardinals in Fairmont.

“Both of us like to trap out of the full-court press, and it’s effective because we rotate nine, 10 and 11 players each throughout the game,” said Marshall head coach Dan Westby, whose lineup exited Cardinal Gym with a 68-35 league victory in hand. “We (coaching staff) were both surprised and impressed by the way Fairmont rebounded tonight.

“Their ability to box out and keep us from getting second chances kept them close throughout most of the game,” added Westby, whose team was outboarded by the Cardinals, 32-30.

Marshall offset Fairmont’s prowess on the glass by garnering 13 of its 27 steals during the initial 18-minute half.

After Kate Busche drilled a 3-pointer to inch Fairmont within 4-3, Simpson’s basketball-hawking defense and drive-to-the-rim offense served as the catalysts behind the visiting Tigers’ early 10-0 surge.

Simpson, who produced a game-best 19-point performance on 8-for-11 field-goal shooting, delivered 2-point baskets at the beginning, middle and end of Marshall’s double-figure outburst.

Simpson drove the left wing for a runner before Bigler hit center Randi Wendorff for a sweeping leaner through traffic. Simpson tossed in a floater off the dribble, Wendorff displayed her athleticism with a steal-turned-end-to-end layup and Simpson chipped in a steal-turned-breakaway basket to create a 14-3 margin.

“I was proud of the way our girls battled back after trailing by 11 early,” said Fairmont assistant coach Sara Gudahl. “We worked the ball inside and that helped open up the outside.”

Nevaeh Rahm and Abby Cihoski executed a perfect high-low post play, with Cihoski banking in the baseline leaner to trigger the Cardinals’ ensuing 9-2 spurt to close within four.

Hope Klanderud fed Rahm for a low-post basket before Ava Terfehr drove and spotted Busche for a top-of-the-key 3-pointer. Brylee Miller then cashed in Grace Pendergast’s skip pass for a 15-footer along the baseline to narrow Fairmont’s deficit to 16-12 with 9 1/2 minutes left in the opening half.

After Miller and Klanderud each knocked down 3-pointers to keep the Cardinals within 27-20, Reese Drake came off the Marshall bench to distribute two assists and created one steal to serve as the catalyst behind an 11-0 surge that bridged intermission.

Leah Jones tossed in a cutter off a Wendorff assist before Reese Drake set up both Simpson and Wendorff for breakaway baskets with time winding down. Bigler capped the first half with an “and-1” 3-point play with 16 seconds left before the break en route to a 36-20 edge.

Trailing 51-25 on the heels of the Tigers’ 10-0 offensive outburst — highlighted by 3-pointers from reserves Lexie Bednarek and Kennedy Drake, Pendergast reeled off six unanswered points on the strength of a traditional 3-point play and a trifecta to pull Fairmont within 20.

Morgan Bjella and Hall Casavan, two more key Tiger reserves, equally combined for eight straight points during the final 4 minutes of regulation to put the game out of reach. Kate Busche and Pendergast each tallied six points to top Fairmont, Miller produced five points and a co-game-best four assists, Cihoski tallied five points and Rahm grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

Wendorff finished with 10 points, a co-game-high four assists and three steals for the Tigers, while Bednarek netted seven points to top Marshall’s nine reserves — who combined for 32 points on the night.

Fairmont (9-6) travels to Redwood Falls on Tuesday night to square off against Redwood Valley in another conference game, while Marshall (13-5) hits the road to Pipestone Area tonight for a league contest.

Marshall      36-32–68

Fairmont      20-15–35


K. Busche 2-8 0-0 6, O. Ortega 1-1 1-4 3, Cihoski 2-5 1-3 5, Pendergast 2-6 1-1 6, Miller 2-5 0-0 5, Terfehr 1-2 0-0 2, Rahm 1-6 0-6 2, Klanderud 1-2 0-0 3, Geerdes 0-0 1-2 1, E. Ortega 0-1 0-0 0, Reyes 1-2 0-0 2, Ehlert 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-39 4-16 35.


Jones 2-4 0-0 4, Wherry 0-0 0-0 0, Wendorff 5-9 0-0 10, Simpson 8-11 3-5 19, Bigler 1-4 1-1 3, Panka 1-3 0-0 2, Andries 0-1 2-2 2, Bednarek 2-7 2-2 7, K. Drake 1-2 0-0 3, R. Drake 2-4 0-0 6, Casavan 3-5 0-5 6, Bjella 2-3 0-2 4, Gillingham 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-54 8-17 68.

3-pointers: Fairmont 5-14 (K. Busche 2, Pendergast, Miller and Klanderud 1 each); Marshall 4-12 (R. Drake 2, Bednarek and K. Drake 1 each). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Fairmont 32 (Rahm 9); Marshall 30 (Bigler and Casavan 5 each). Steals: Marshall 27 (Bigler and Simpson 5 each, Wendorff and R. Drake 3 each); Fairmont 5. Assists: Marshall 16 (Wendorff 4); Fairmont 11 (Miller 4).

Bishop Garrigan 63, North Union 49 — Iowa State University basketball commit Audi Crooks erupted for a game-best 41 points to power the Iowa Class 1A No. 1-ranked Golden Bears to a 14-point victory over the Class 2A No. 10-ranked Warriors on Friday night in Armstrong.

Crooks, who leads Class 1A with a 30.2 points per game scoring clip, connected on 11 of 16 free throws to help pace her high-scoring ways.

Molly Joyce contributed 14 points to the win by Garrigan, who built a 34-25 halftime advantage.

Naomi Jones netted 17 points and grabbed five rebounds to top North Union, while Emily Meyer contributed 13 points.

Libby Stevens supplied nine points, Olivia Von Bank chipped in five points, while Olivia Merrill pulled down four boards for the Warriors.

North Union made 13 of 29 shots from 2-point range, 3 of 14 behind the 3-point arc and 14 of 20 at the free throw line.

North Union (13-4) plays host to Eagle Grove on Tuesday night in Armstrong, while Bishop Garrigan (16-1) travels to Forest City, Iowa, for a Tuesday night clash.

Boys Basketball

North Union 74, Bishop Garrigan 65 — Point guard Kyan Jones produced a double-double performance to propel the Warriors to a nine-point Iowa prep victory over the Golden Bears on Friday night in Armstrong.

Jones tossed in 13 points and distributed a game-best 11 assists, while teammate Kody Irmiter also scored 13 points to complement pulling down five rebounds.

Aiden Lofstrom generated 11 points for the Warriors, Danyal Fothergill tallied 10 points and garnered six rebounds, Grady Madden delivered 10 points, while Preston Guerdet made three steals.

The Warriors made 18 of 31 shots from 2-point distance, 6 of 18 behind the 3-point arc and 20 of 34 at the free throw line.

Carter Schwab netted a game-best 16 points to pace Garrigan, while teammates Ryan Noonan and Drew Fogarty scored 13 points apiece.

North Union (12-6) plays host to Eagle Grove on Tuesday night in Armstrong.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.65/week.

Subscribe Today