Skip to main content

Cardinal girls fall in sub-section championship game against Fairmont

Lead Summary
Jason Berghorst for the Star Herald

The Luverne High School girls’ basketball team saw its record-breaking season come to an end Friday night in Worthington. 
The No. 2-seeded Fairmont Cardinals defeated the No. 1-seeded Luverne Cardinals 53-42 in the Section 3AA-South sub-section championship game. 
Luverne, which ended the season 23-5, set a new school record for number of wins in girls’ basketball with 23. The team also was undefeated in the section during the regular season. 
Fairmont jumped out to a quick lead at the start of the game, building a 7-0 lead in less than the first three minutes of play before Luverne’s Kira John scored the Cardinals’ first two points. 
The Fairmont lead grew to as much as 26-6 with about six minutes left in the first half before Luverne began to catch its breath and turn things around.
“Fairmont came out and punched us in the mouth,” said LHS head coach TJ Newgard. 
“We played shell-shocked for a majority of the first half but showed some life before halftime.”
Fairmont took a 31-15 lead into the locker room at the half. 
“In the second half we started to execute our game plan a little better, and we were able to get the easy looks we thought we could get,” Newgard said. 
Luverne continued to chip away at the Fairmont lead until LHS got to within six at 46-40 with about four minutes left in the game. 
“The girls showed a lot of grit and fight climbing back from a 20-point deficit to give ourselves a chance,” the LHS coach said.
“Getting it to a two-possession game with the ball, I thought we had a chance, but we were unable to convert.”
Fairmont went on to score seven additional points while Luverne added just two in the final four minutes. 
While LHS outscored FHS 27-22 in the second half, it wasn’t enough to overcome the large deficit from the first half. 
“We had far too many costly turnovers, missed box outs, missed free throws and missed layups to win at this point in the season,” Newgard said. “We have to come ready to play and avoid getting into such a big hole.”
He gave his girls credit for their efforts.
“Basketball is the hardest sport to win a section title in; you have to win a 16-team tournament,” Newgard said. 
“I’m proud of everything this group was able to accomplish this season, and I refuse to let one performance define them as a team. It’s hard to win games. It is really hard.”
Elizabeth Wagner led the offense for Luverne with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Christina Wagner tallied 11 points.
It was also the final game as Cardinals for seniors Brooklynn Ver Steeg and Madee Schmuck. 
“Brooklynn and Madee were the epitome of what a team needs in its seniors,” Newgard said. “They are both selfless and just great kids. We will sure miss having them around next year, but I am thankful for everything they have given to the program.” 
Box Score:
C. Wagner 3 1 2-4 11, Beyer 0 0 2-4 2, Ver Steeg 1 0 0-0 2, Sehr 0 0 2-2 2, E. Wagner 8 0 5-10 21, John 2 0 0-0 4
Team Stats:
Luverne: 15 of 37 (41 percent), 11 of 20 free throws (55 percent), 26 rebounds, 17 turnovers
Fairmont: 17 of 37 (46 percent), 14 of 23 free throws (61 percent), 27 rebounds, 12 turnovers

You must log in to continue reading. Log in or subscribe today.