Cards edge boys …
The Blue Earth Area Buccaneers jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, but in the end it was the visiting Fairmont Cardinals who came away with the 52-48 victory in a South Central Conference contest last Tuesday.
Success at the free throw line played a major part in determining the victor. The Cardinals converted 9 of 12 attempts while the Bucs were only 3 of 14 from the charity stripe.
Nick Lee and Nate Carr provided the early firepower for the Bucs, who suffered their first loss of the season. The duo combined to score the home team’s first nine points.
A traditional three-point play by Cardinals guard Justin Heinrich got the visitors on the scoreboard. Fairmont put together an 11-4 scoring run to pull within two points of their I-90 rivals at 13-11.
Zach Roggow, a 6-foot forward for the Cardinals, would score six of his teams next eight points, including the basket at the 6:14 mark that would give his team their first lead of the night at 19-18.
Hard work by Heinrich on the offensive boards boosted the visitors lead to three points before Lee and Riley Holmseth hit back-to-back treys and the Bucs recaptured the lead at 24-21.
Heinrich answered with a 3-pointer of his own to knot the score at 24. Fairmont added a basket by Brandon Splinter to claim a 26-24 half time edge.
The Bucs kept it close in the second half and gained a tie at 31-31 when good ball movement led to an easy basket for Taylor Owen. A Lee jumper would tie the score again at 33.
Heinrich swiped the ball from a Bucs player underneath the Fairmont basket, and the resulting bucket gave the Cardinals the lead for good.
A trey by the Cards’ Kevin Hanson staked the visitors to their biggest lead of the night at 44-37, but baskets by Carr and Lee narrowed the gap to three points at 44-41.Fairmont built their lead back to six points but a trey by Carr with 2:11 left in the game brought the Bucs back within three at 49-46 and resulted in a Fairmont time out.
The Bucs had numerous opportunities to tie the game or take the lead. They headed to the free throw line seven times in the closing two minutes but could make only two of their attempts.
Even then they still gave themselves a chance to tie the game. Trailing 51-48, they managed to get off three shots from beyond the arc, but could not get one to fall. Heinrich iced the game with a free throw at the seven second mark, giving the Cards their 52-48 triumph.
Lee finished the game with 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Nate Carr added 12 points and Garrett Anderson tallied seven and nine rebounds.
The Bucs next game is Monday night, December 28 as they host Granada-Huntley-East Chain in the Buc Holiday Invite.