Fairmont rallies past New Ulm

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello New Ulm’s Brody Bolduan jumps to pass the ball past Jack Hested (3) of Fairmont during the second half Thursday at New Ulm High School.

NEW ULM — The New Ulm boys’ basketball team was off to a good start in Thursday night’s Big South Conference meeting with Fairmont at New Ulm High School.

Unfortunately for the Eagles (3-9, 0-5), the Cardinals (4-6, 1-3) battled back from 13 down in the second half to escape with a 44-41 win.

With a 7-2 New Ulm run opening the second half to give the Eagles a 32-19 lead, Fairmont was forced to take a timeout with 13:37 left to play. Over the next three minutes, however, the Eagles watched their big lead evaporate after a 10-2 Fairmont run brought the Cardinals within 5, 34-29.

Fairmont later tied it at 36-all after a 3 by Dalen Keltgen, but Jaden Domeier gave New Ulm the lead right back after driving the middle of the paint for a layup and a 38-36 lead. Fairmont’s 6-7 center Wyatt Frank, who finished the night with 10 points, then gave the Cardinals their first lead of the night, 39-38, with a little more than two minutes to play.

After Frank added another bucket inside moments later to put Fairmont ahead 42-38, New Ulm was in need of points fast and got 3 of them after a corner 3 by Brody Bolduan.

Nicholas Eversman then sank a pair of free throws to put the Cardinals up 44-41 with 23.7 seconds left to go. After drawing two late fouls and still not in the bonus, the Eagles had 6.1 seconds left to try to tie things up.

Reece Melby got off a 3 but couldn’t get the shot to drop under double coverage as time expired. Melby led New Ulm with 11 points, 11 rebounds and six steals, while Ashton Hames added 8 points.

Also for New Ulm, Noah Hauge added 4 points and seven assists, while Caden Hames had 4 points and six boards.

Regardless of the outcome, the Eagles still looked solid on defense for the majority of Thursday’s contest, which New Ulm head coach Matt Hauge was glad to see. He said that it was probably the best defense his team has played all year but added that the shots didn’t fall when they needed to in the second half.

“We told them at halftime that they [Fairmont] would probably go on a little run, but we’ve got to be ready for it,” coach Hauge said. “Our offense stalled a little bit middle way through the second half — I think that hurt us tonight.”

New Ulm took its first double-digit lead of the game in the first half, 20-10, after a 3 by Melby with less than six minutes to go until the half. The Eagles led 25-17 at the half.

New Ulm travels to Redwood Falls for a 7:15 p.m. nonconference matchup with Redwood Valley on Monday.