Pooley, Fairmont edge Luverne hoopsters, 59-55

POWER IN THE PAINT — Fairmont center Sawyer Tordsen (left) muscles around Luverne defender Gavin DeBeer (15) during Big South Conference basketball action Thursday night at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — With time ticking down in regulation and his team clinging to a one-point lead on Thursday night, Fairmont head coach Jared Thompson became the “basketball whisperer.”

“We were working the ball around the perimeter and I whispered to myself under my breath that I should call timeout … and then he shot it,” Thompson said in reference to Levi Pooley’s pivotal left-wing 3-pointer that staked the hometown Cardinals to a 55-51 lead over the visiting Luverne Cardinals with 1:14 remaining.

Gavin Junkermeier’s low-post basket later restored Fairmont’s lead to four with 18 seconds to go before Pooley converted both ends of a one-and-one situation to seal a 59-55 Big South Conference victory with 3.1 seconds showing on the scoreboard.

Gannon Ahrendt, who netted a game-best 19 points, tossed in a pair of 15-footers at the respective 48- and 7-second junctures to inch Luverne within two each time, but Pooley’s charity tosses finally iced the narrow win.

“Coaches, athletes and fans always say it’s a game of inches, but tonight it was a game of (internal) whispers,” Thompson said with a laugh. “No, really, for the first time since the beginning of the season, we played two good halves instead of just one tonight. We received good balance on offense and we only turned the ball over seven times tonight — that’s huge.

“Our bigs (Sawyer Tordsen and Junkermeier) dominated in the low blocks to get us going early, and that really opened things up.”

Junkermeier, who finished with 11 points, crashed the offensive glass for one of his seven rebounds before Pooley knocked down a left-wing 3-pointer for the early 5-2 lead.

Junkermeier and Tordsen, who topped Fairmont with 15 points and eight boards, combined in the paint to reel off the hometown Cardinals’ ensuing 10 points, with Luverne staying close thanks to Carter Sehr’s 3-pointer and floating runner at 15-13.

Hadan Toomer came off Fairmont’s bench midway through the opening half and tossed in nine of his 13 points by driving hard to the rim.

“Hadan probably had his best game as a Cardinal varsity basketball player tonight,” Thompson said in reference to Toomer’s 6-for-8 field-goal shooting performance. “He’s not the tallest guy out there (5-foot-11), but he knows how to finish inside because of his vertical (leap).”

Toomer’s 3-pointer gave Fairmont a 30-23 lead with 2 minutes left before intermission, but Gannon Ahrendt and Gavin DeBeer worked the baseline and lane, respectively, for 15-footers to whittle Luverne’s halftime deficit to just three.

Pooley’s second 3-pointer, followed by a Tordsen putback basket, staked Fairmont to its biggest lead at 47-38 midway through the second half, but Ahrendt answered the challenge with a trey and a 2-point basket to eventually inch Luverne within one at 52-51 with 2:06 remaining.

Pooley finished with 11 points, while David Maakestad and Brendan Schmidtke each distributed four assists for Fairmont.

DeBeer produced 12 points and doled out three assists for Luverne, while Sehr finished with 11 points on 5-for-18 shooting from the field. Gannon Ahrendt pulled down seven rebounds and pocketed three steals to go with his game-high 19 points for Luverne.

Fairmont (3-12) plays host to Tri-City United — which is comprised of Montgomery, Lonsdale and Le Center — at 7:30 p.m. tonight back at Cardinal Gym in Fairmont in a non-league contest.

Luverne (7-9) plays host to St. James Area tonight in another conference game.

Luverne       27-28–55

Fairmont    30-29–59


Tordsen 7-11 1-2 15, Junkermeier 5-6 1-2 11, Schmidtke 1-3 0-0 2, Pooley 3-15 2-2 11, Maakestad 2-4 0-2 6, Geiger 0-4 0-0 0, Toomer 6-8 0-0 12, Schrunk 0-3 1-2 1. Totals 24-54 5-10 59.


G. Ahrendt 8-13 2-4 19, DeBeer 6-10 0-0 13, Feit 2-3 0-0 5, Sehr 5-18 0-2 11, Cowell 0-0 0-0 0, Woodley 2-2 0-2 4, Sneller 1-1 0-0 3, L. Ahrendt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-47 2-8 55.

3-pointers: Fairmont 6-15 (Pooley 3-8, Maakestad 2-3, Toomer 1-2, Schrunk 0-2); Luverne 5-17 (G. Ahrendt 1-4, DeBeer 1-1, Feit 1-2, Sehr 1-9, Sneller 1-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Fairmont 30 (Tordsen 8, Junkermeier 7); Luverne 21 (G. Ahrendt 7). Assists: Luverne 15 (DeBeer, Feit, Sehr and Woodley 3 each); Fairmont 11 (Maakestad and Schmidtke 4 each). Steals: Fairmont 5; Luverne 5 (G. Ahrendt 3).

Nolan Schultze netted 15 points to steer Fairmont to a 49-37 victory over Luverne during B-squad action Thursday night.

Oliver Tordsen contributed 11 points to the hometown Cardinals’ win, while Landon Gilbertson supplied six points.

Martin County West 78, Alden-Conger 45 — Zach Anderson produced a game-best double-double performance to stampede the Mavericks to a 33-point Valley Conference victory over the Knights on Thursday night in Alden.

Anderson generated 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to complement dishing out four assists, while teammate Mitchell Weber neared double-double territory by netting 11 points and pulling down eight rebounds. Weber also doled out four assists.

Jamesson Forsberg collected 10 points, three steals and three assists for MCW, which connected on 16 of 34 shots from 2-point range and 12 of 34 from behind the 3-point arc.

Parker Hintz scored 11 points to top the Knights.

Martin County West (13-8) travels to Westbrook-Walnut Grove on Tuesday night for a nonconference contest.

Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther 65, Madelia 56 — Jakob Fischer tied his own career-best single-game scoring mark with 26 points to engineer the Jaguars’ nine-point Valley Conference victory over the Blackhawks on Thursday night in Northrop.

Fischer neared double-double territory by grabbing eight rebounds to complement pocketing three steals in the victory.

Jackson Madsen turned in a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Jaguars, while teammate Carter Fox chipped in 12 points.

Hayden Jones netted 17 points to top Madelia, while Tony Zaleski chipped in 14 points.

The Jaguars (10-8) travel to Mankato Loyola on Tuesday night for another conference game.

Girls Basketball

Luverne 70, Fairmont 45 — Elizabeth Wagner erupted for a game-best 27 points and garnered eight rebounds to power Luverne to a 25-point Big South Conference triumph over Fairmont on Thursday night in Luverne.

Averill Sehr contributed 18 points to Luverne’s winning ways, while Kiesli Smith chipped in seven points.

Freshman guard Brylee Miller tossed in a team-best 15 points, grabbed five boards and pocketed three steals to pace Fairmont’s effort.

Grace Pendergast supplied 12 points, four steals and three assists to Fairmont’s cause, while teammate Olivia Ortega chipped in four points, five rebounds and four assists.

Fairmont made 16 of 40 field goals, including 6 of 12 from 3-point range, and 7 of 9 free throws on the night.

Fairmont (10-7) travels to Waseca on Monday night, while Luverne (15-2) plays host to St. James Area tonight.

Luverne downed Fairmont in B-squad action, 41-28, Thursday night.

Meredith Nemmers generated nine points and nine rebounds for Fairmont, Carys Gudahl scored five points, while Norah Traetow pulled down six boards.


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