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Boys rally late only to fall in semifinals Thursday in Windom

Lead Summary
John Rittenhouse

A spirited comeback in the second half went unrewarded when the Luverne Cardinals took on Fairmont in a semifinal-round game of the South Section 3AA Boys’ Basketball Tournament Thursday in Windom.
Luverne, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, trailed No. 2 Fairmont by 12 points with 5:32 remaining in the game.
The Cardinals clawed their way back into contention and trailed by one point with less than 10 seconds left, but FHS withstood the challenge to secure a 61-59 win.
The loss ends Luverne’s 12-14 campaign.
Luverne dropped a 61-51 decision when the same teams met in Fairmont Dec. 14, but the rematch turned into a nail-biter.
LHS never sported a lead during the contest, but the Cards were in a position to win the game in the final seconds.
The score was knotted at two early in the first half before Fairmont went on a 9-2 run to open an 11-4 cushion.
Luverne’s Isaiah Bartels made one free throw at the 11:51 mark to make it an 11-7 game before FHS reeled off eight consecutive points to lead 19-7 with 8:35 remaining.
LHS trailed by eight (27-19) when Gannon Ahrendt canned a three-point shot at 4:13, setting up a 10-5 surge ending with Jayson Rops canning a three-point shot at 1:31 that made it a 32-29 game.
Fairmont scored the final three points of the stanza to lead 35-29 at the intermission.
Luverne’s Nick Feit scored the first two points of the second half to trim the difference to four points (35-31) before Fairmont scored six consecutive points to extend the lead to 10 points (41-31).
A three-point shot by Luverne’s Bailey Cowell closed the gap to three points (45-42) at the 11:22 mark of the second half, but FHS countered with a 10-1 run to open a 55-43 lead with 5:32 left to play.
The next 5:24 belonged to the Cardinals, who chipped away at Fairmont’s advantage to trail by one (60-59) when Cowell canned a pair of charity shots with 8.6 seconds left.
LHS got the ball back with 2.3 seconds remaining with the ball near midcourt, but the Cardinals couldn’t connect on an inbound pass that was intercepted by Fairmont.
Fairmont’s Jake Hested was fouled with one second remaining after foiling Luverne’s inbound play and sank one free throw to end the scoring in the game.
Bartels led the Cardinals with 24 points, while Cowell chipped in 12.
Box score
Cowell 3 1 3-4 12, Sehr 1 0 0-0 2, Bartels 7 2 4-8 24, Ahrendt 2 1 0-0 7, Feit 3 1 0-0 9, DeSollar 0 0 0-0 0, Beyer 0 0 0-0 0, Rops 1 1 0-0 5.
Team statistics
Luverne: 22 field goals made, seven of 12 free throws (58 percent).
Fairmont: 19 field goals made, 15 of 23 free throws made (65 percent).

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