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Eagles hold off Fairmont

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau New Ulm’s Colton Benson (21) celebrates a Fairmont turnover in the first half of Friday night’s Big South Conference boys’ basketball game at New Ulm High School.

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Eagles jumped to a quick 11-0 lead over Fairmont in the first two minutes of the game but then had to hold off the Cardinals as New Ulm remained on top of the Big South East Conference with a 69-55 win on Friday night.

Charlie Osborne led New Ulm (10-4, 5-0) with 26 points. Zander Fischer added 16 and Colton Benson tossed in 11.

Jacob Gressinger led Fairmont (4-9, 0-5) with 15 points.

“Credit Fairmont,” New Ulm coach Matt Dennis said. “They play a physical style of ball and in the first half they took us off of our game. They forced us to get into foul trouble because they crashed the boards so hard. They did a lot of nice things that made it really tough for us.”

But it looked early-on that the Eagles were going to run the Cardinals out of the gym.

New Ulm jumped to that fast 11-0 run which ended on a Benson 3 and forced the Cardinals to call a timeout.

“We got off to a hot start and you hope that the adrenaline does not come crashing down but sometimes it does,” Dennis said. “That was the case tonight.”

A Charlie Osborne 3 made it 14-1 before the Cardinals slowly picked away.

They cut the lead to 17-13 and then took leads of 25-23 and 29-25 before free throws from Garrett Foley cut the lead to 29-28 and then New Ulm regained the lead on a four-point play from Charlie Osborne.

It was also a first half that New Ulm got into foul trouble, with Fischer heading to the bench with three fouls at the 7:29 mark.

“Plus we took some poor shots on offense,” Dennis said. “And Garrett (Foley) came off of the bench — he held the ship together. Jonah Tess came in — he is undersized. He played hard.”

Foley’s basket to close out the first half saw New Ulm ahead 34-32.

The Eagles then got some breathing room early in the second half when James Osborne canned a 3 to start the second half. New Ulm later took a 10-point lead at 46-36 on a Collin Horning 3.

The Eagles held a 55-45 lead on back-to-back baskets by Fischer.

Another basket from Fischer made it 61-51 with three minutes left as New Ulm pulled away.

“We just had players making plays tonight and we got stops when we needed to and we made enough good decisions down the stretch,” Dennis said.

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