After facing an 11-point halftime deficit, BEA clawed their way back within five points after a deep three and two free throws from Dallas Barslou on consecutive possessions, to close the gap to 39-34.
Back-to-back threes immediately following the Buccaneer burst, by Fairmont’s Jay Ruen, quelled any hopes of a double-digit comeback.
The Cardinals were not satisfied with regaining their previous lead, scoring six more unanswered points to extend their advantage to 17 midway through the second half.
A Steven Plocker rebound and basket ended the Fairmont onslaught and triggered another BEA attempt at closing the gap.
Brady Anderson nailed a three, Sam Lee made a nice post move for a basket and Barslou and Monson combined for three free throws to get the Bucs back within nine points.
Fairmont once again responded with the three ball. This time it was Lukas Hested who converted a 3-point try to boost the Fairmont lead back to double digits.
After that shot, the Bucs cut down the Cardinal lead below 10 only once. Luke Monson connected on a 3-point shot at the top of the key to make the score 56-47.
From that point on, the Cardinals outscored Blue Earth 13-7 en-route to their 69-54 win.
A bright spot for the night was the play from Monson. The 6-foot-4 center showed no signs of slowing down after his buzzer-beater the previous game against New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva. Monson kept the momentum going, scoring 16 points against Fairmont.
The up-and-coming Buc star utilized devastating post moves to take advantage of an undersized Fairmont front-court for the majority of his buckets.
Barslou and Brandyn Olsen were next in line in the scoring column, putting in nine points apiece. Barslou shook off a scoreless first half to connect on two field goals and four free throws in the final 18 minutes.
Olsen put in a bank shot from 3-point land as time expired in the first half to prevent being scoreless in the opening frame.
Like his backcourt teammate, he found his stroke in the second half, racking up six points.
Other Buc scorers were Anderson with eight, Lee six and Plocker six.
Fairmont benefitted from a balanced attack with four Cardinals scoring double figures. Levi Becker led the team with 15, Hested put in 12, Jay Ruen scored 11 and Michael Forster also accounted for 11.
The loss drops BEA to 5-8 overall and 2-3 in the South Central Conference. Despite the set back, the Bucs have still won four of their last six.
BEA played Cannon Falls Saturday after the Register’s deadline. Tuesday the Bucs will be hosting Maple River. The B game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 3, they will travel to St. Peter to take on the 12-1 Saints. St. Peter’s only loss was suffered Dec. 15 in an 81-77 overtime battle against Fairmont. The tipoff for the B game Friday is set for 6 p.m.