ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Luverne comeback attempt falls short, Fairmont wins South Section 3AA girls final

Fairmont held on to beat Luverne 53-42 for the South Section 3AA girls basketball championship Friday night

basketball

WORTHINGTON -- The Fairmont High School girls basketball team got off to an outstanding start against Luverne Friday night in the South Section 3AA championship game at Worthington High School. And though LHS had the momentum through most of the second half, the final result went Fairmont’s way, 53-42.

With the win, Fairmont will play Montevideo, a 41-26 winner over New London-Spicer in the northern half of the section, for a state tournament berth. The game will be next Friday at 8 p.m. at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.

Montevideo is the north’s top seed. Fairmont is the second seed of the south.

Luverne Elizabeth Wagner (5) finds the seam between Fairmont defenders Cadence Becker (31) and Cassidy Schultz (13) to make a shot at the basket during Section 3AA South Basketball tournament play Friday night in Worthington.
Luverne's Elizabeth Wagner (5) finds the seam between Fairmont defenders Cadence Becker (31) and Cassidy Schultz (13) to make a shot during Section 3AA South girls basketball tournament play Friday night in Worthington.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

FHS used a pair of steals, a block and a travel call against Luverne to score the first seven points on Friday. The score was 26-6 at the five-minute mark and 31-15 at the half.

But Luverne didn’t earn the No. 1 south seed for nothing, and immediately in the second half the Cardinals used sisters Elizabeth and Christina Wagner to score inside to cut their deficit. The Wagners -- who are fine post players -- move smoothly to the basket with or without the ball, and they know how to finish. On Friday when they got their hands on the ball they usually scored.

ADVERTISEMENT

Luverne guard Emma Beyer (2) has her shot at the net spoiled by Fairmont forward Brittney Mosloski in Section 3AA South Basketball tournament play Friday night in Worthington.
Luverne guard Emma Beyer (2) has her shot at the net spoiled by Fairmont forward Brittney Mosloski Friday night. Tim Middagh / The Globe
Tim Middagh / The Globe

An easy Elizabeth Wagner shot inside made the score 37-27 at the 11-minute mark. At 5:16 a 3-pointer by Christina put her team within eight, 44-36. With under two minutes to go, the score was 46-40. After that, Fairmont played smart basketball, protecting its possessions.

“We just built ourselves too big of a hole and didn’t give ourselves enough time. I think we were outworked (in the first half). I think that was the first time all season we were outworked,” said LHS head coach TJ Newgard. “I think we were a little bit tentative.”

The result upped Fairmont’s record to 24-3. Luverne finished its season at 23-5.

In a December matchup between the two teams, Luverne won, 45-49. Fairmont senior forward Cadence Becker, who scored 18 points in the game, said she and her teammates wanted revenge.

“We came out with a lot of fire. It was a good team atmosphere in the locker room,” she said.

Luverne Head coach TJ Newgard calls a timeout in Section 3AA South Basketball tournament play against Fairmont Friday night in Worthington.
Luverne Head coach TJ Newgard calls a time-out in Section 3AA South basketball tournament play against Fairmont Friday night in Worthington.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

For much of the second half, however, Fairmont seemed to lose its fire, allowing the Wagners too many touches inside and failing to rebound the ball as it did in the first half.

The problem seemed mainly an inability to box out.

“That was something Coach J (Sara Junkermeier) was getting on us about. Every time-out, she was talking about boxing out,” Becker said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Luverne’s game plan was to get the ball to the Wagners, said Newgard. But it took a while for the game plan to kick in.

“We just didn’t execute in the first half. We did some good things in the second half, but just built ourselves too big a hole,” Newgard explained.

Emma Gudahl, a senior guard, led Fairmont with 19 points.

For Luverne, Elizabeth Wagner finished with 21. Christina had 11.

Luverne 15 42

Fairmont 31 53

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
What To Read Next
ST. CLOUD -- The Minnesota West women’s basketball team eased to victory over host St. Cloud Tech on Saturday, 93-40. But it was St. Cloud Tech getting the better of the West men’s team, 84-64.
WORTHINGTON -- Morris-Benson started well in both games, sweeping the Worthington Trojans girls and boys hockey teams on Saturday.
The Worthington Trojans earned their highest-ever place at a Minnesota Class A True Team meet with a score of 174.525. Big Lake won the meet with a score of 176.2.
Friday night high school sports roundup: