Faribault surges past New Ulm boys

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm’s Reece Melby takes a shot between a pair of Fairbault defenders during the first half Friday at New Ulm High School.

NEW ULM — In what was a slow start to Friday night’s nonconference boys’ basketball game, New Ulm was unable to hold off a late Faribault surge and fell 57-49 at New Ulm High School.

The Eagles were only able to get one shot to fall in the first 10 minutes of play on a 3 by Reece Melby and trailed by as much a 7 in the first half. Melby later sank his third 3-pointer of the night to tie the game up at 17 with 3:45 left in the half.

The Eagles took a 22-21 lead into the break after beating a Faribault press and finishing off with an and-one by Ashton Hames with 1:04 left in the half.

First-year Eagles head coach Matt Hauge was happy with how his guys responded in the second half, however, and said that he was going to focus on taking positives away from the loss.

“Faribault’s going to be a good team,” Hauge said. “They’re a Big 9 school, very physical, so I thought our kids did a pretty good job with playing physical right with them. But overall, I think for the first game, obviously you’d like to win it, but we’ll keep getting better and we’ll take out the positives that we had tonight.”

New Ulm jumped out to a 26-21 lead to start the second half after a bucket inside each from Melby and Brody Bolduan. After the Falcons knotted it up at 27, Melby and Faribault’s Mitch Nelson traded a pair of 3s each before Ashton Hames ended the 3-point party with a bucket inside to put the Eagles ahead 35-33.

Melby gave the Eagles their final lead of the night, 43-42, after an and-one with 6:06 to play. The Falcons later went on a 6-0 run to lead 50-44 with 2:33 to go, and New Ulm was unable to get closer than 2 the rest of the way.

Melby led the Eagles with 20 points and six rebounds. The 6-5 forward knocked down five 3s in the game.

“Reece is a good shooter, but a lot of things we’ve talked about this year is he’s going to try to bang it down low a little bit,” Hauge said. “So that’s something we need to work on on offense, kind of a little inside-out game for him, but he shot the ball really well tonight.”

Braden Zimmerman had 10 points for New Ulm, while Caden Hames added 5 points and 11 rebounds. Ashton Hames and Jaden Domeier added 5 points apiece for the Eagles.

The Falcons were led by Joe Palmer with 19 points, while Nelson added 12 points.

New Ulm (0-1) is at Blue Earth Area for a 7:30 p.m. Big South Conference matchup on Thursday.