MCW sinks FTs, Cardinals

ST. JAMES – Martin County West’s Reilly Geistfeld and Fairmont’s Courtney Mosloski each delivered key double-double performances off of their respective benches during Tuesday night’s Section 3AA, South Sub-Section semifinal basketball clash.

Outstanding efforts, especially considering both up-and-coming hoopsters are freshman post players.

Geistfeld generated half of her 16 points from the free throw line, including five of the Mavericks’ 11-for-11 second-half performance, while teammate Kate Thiesse scored a game-high 19 to help the No. 2 seeds fend off the No. 3-seeded Cardinals’ comeback, 63-55, in St. James.

Martin County West (22-4) advances to face No. 1-seeded Worthington (20-5) at 7 p.m. Friday night in Windom for the South Sub-Section championship. The Trojans fended off No. 5-seeded Windom, 57-47, to reach the next round.

Fairmont, which won 11 of its previous 14 games, ended its season with a 13-13 record.

“Kate Thiesse really brought a lot of energy to the court tonight and her teammates really fed off of that,” Cardinal mentor Don Waletich said. “We dug ourselves a hole during the first half (a 35-22 deficit), but I was really proud of the way our girls battled back during the second half.”

Trailing 54-43, Mosloski pounded the low post area to generate three of her team-best 13 points and garner three of her game-leading 11 rebounds to inch Fairmont within nine with 6:27 remaining in regulation.

After Waletich called timeout, point guard Sierra Schultz and power forward Alex Christianson triggered the Cardinals 5-2 mini-run to whittle the Mavericks’ margin to 56-50 with 3:26 left in the game.

MCW mentor Rodger Taylor, however, opted for a delay strategy and his hoopsters made nearly a minute and a half evaporate before Geistfeld delivered a pivotal 3-point play off the offensive boards with 3 minutes remaining.

“She played like a freshman during her first three possessions tonight, but after that she settled into a groove for us,” a smiling Taylor said in reference to Geistfeld. “I thought Reilly and Bailey Tish really gave us big minutes off of the bench tonight.”

Tish, a backup center, produced eight clutch points on nearly flawless shooting to combine with Geistfeld for 24 valuable reserve points.

Kristen Campe drilled a 3-pointer to inch the Cardinals within six with 2 minutes to go before Maverick guard Taryn Tumbleson delivered a court-savvy upcourt pass to a breaking Kate Thiesse against Fairmont’s full-court pressure. Thiesse hit the layup with 55 seconds remaining before Schultz swooshed a long 2-pointer from the left corner at the 13-second juncture.

Geistfeld, however, converted a one-and-one situation with 10 seconds to go to seal the Mavericks’ victory.