PREP BOYS' BASKETBALL: Windom falls to FairmontJACKSON — For the first time since 2008 the Windom boys’ basketball team will not be in the section championship game.
JACKSON — For the first time since 2008 the Windom boys’ basketball team will not be in the section championship game.
The Eagles won their section in 2010, advancing to the state tournament and lost in the section title game in both 2009 and 2011.
But they fell two games short of that game this season, losing in the South Sub-Section semifinals of Section 3AA Thursday to Fairmont, 70-61.
“It was a good basketball game between two good teams,” Windom head coach Dane Nielsen said. “Obviously Fairmont is a good team, they recorded one of the best seasons in their school’s history and they’ve been rated in the top-10 in the state. We’re a good team too. It was a good, competitive basketball game, but we came out on the short end a little bit.”
The Cardinals got off to a quick start in the game, establishing a 17-9 lead with seven minutes left to play in the first half.
But the Eagles went on a 21-15 run to close out the half and were only down by two points (32-30) at halftime.
And although they never held the lead in the game, they remained down by only a handful of points for much of the second half as well, down by three (55-52) with six minutes left in regulation.
But things fell apart for Windom in those final minutes of play. What started as just a three-point deficit quickly turned into a 10-point shortage (65-55) with three minutes left in the game.
The Eagles were never able to recover from that last minute surge by the Cardinals and ended up losing the game by nine points (70-61).
“We forced shots,” Nielsen said. “The reason the game was close the entire way is because we had good offensive spacing and the ball went in the paint. Then we got away from that because we had guys drive in and they didn’t look to pass, their heads were down. We went down and forced a couple shots and we didn’t get anything out of it.
“That was the difference in the game. It was just that four to five minutes where we were forcing things. It’s good to play with a sense of urgency, but not how we did it without passing the ball. We went to the basket thinking ‘How can I score?’ instead of ‘Who can I pass to?’”
Nielson thought the team did a better job of passing the ball through the first three quarters of the game.
But, overall, he was most impressed with the performances the Holt twins put up.
Seniors Jake and Lee Holt each finished the game with double-doubles and rarely came out of the game, maybe sitting for a handful of minutes the entire contest.
Lee Holt had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Jake Holt had 26 points and 13 rebounds.
“For Jake to shoot like that, and rebound like that and shoot 78-percent from the 2-point range is unbelievable,” Neilsen said. “And all that with two or three guys on him and getting hacked at all the time. It’s unbelievable. Both him and Lee are just unbelievable that way.”
Collin Lovell added seven points for the Eagles and Andy Pfeffer had six points and three assists for Windom.
Fairmont was led by Mitch Pfingsten’s 21 points, while Levi Becker and Jay Ruen each added 15 points for the Cardinals.
Another key difference in the game was the nine 3-pointers Fairmont sunk. The Cardinals were an unprecedented 9-for-20 from the 3-point range, something that is hard to top — especially in the playoffs.
Fairmont (22-5) advances to the South Sub-Section of Section 3AA championship game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against Worthington.
After ending the regular season on a rough note — going just 1-6 in their last seven regular season contests — the Eagles’ (15-11) season comes to an end.
“I think we left everything we had on the court. I thought that was important,” Nielsen said. “Statistically everything was the same. We had the same rebounds, turnovers, everything. They shot just a little bit better of a percentage and that’s what did it. That was the difference in the ballgame.
“But we’re happy with our season. It was up and down, sure, but I think everyone had a great time. It didn’t end how we had hoped, but we have room to grow for next year.”
Windom 30 31 — 61
Fairmont 32 38 — 70
Windom (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Lovell 2-0-1-7, L. Holt 0-6-3-15, J. Holt 1-11-1-26, Pfeffer 0-2-2-6, Gotto 1-0-2-5, Cuppy 0-1-0-2. Total 4-20-9-61.
Fairmont (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Pfingsten 3-3-3-21, Becker 2-4-1-15, Ruen 1-4-4-15, Hested 2-0-2-8, Noll 1-0-3-6, Forster 0-1-2-4, Holm 0-2-0-4, Hanson 0-0-2-2. Total 9-14-11-70.
Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jocelyn Syrstad can be reached at 376-7335.