The Faribault Falcon girls basketball team came into Thursday night's game with the Mankato East Cougars with the fourth-best defense in the Big Nine, at least by the only measure I go by -- points allowed per game. Unfortunately, Faribault was also last in the Big Nine in scoring points, averaging just 40.6 points per game. The Cougars were 11th in points scored and 10th in defense. The game was a snapshot of both teams' offensive woes.

Faribault had just three field goals the entire second half, and Mankato East had only four. The Falcons missed layup after layup after getting the contest down to a one-point deficit in the second half after trailing 27-26 at the break. Ellery Akemann led Faribault with 11 points, just three in the second half, and Breanna Bresnahan added 10. They were Faribault State Farm Insurance Agents Faribault players of the game along with sophomore Elana Palmer. Palmer tallied eight points and, more importantly, had a couple of blocked shots and some awesome rebounds in traffic.

After shooting six for eight from the free throw line in the first half, the Falcons were 10 of 17 in the second half, while Mankato East was 13 of 18 in the second half and finished the game 15 of 22. Turnovers were a problem for both teams, with Faribault collecting 16 and Mankato East 13. Neither team could score much off of them, as evidenced by the low-scoring game. The state of the game, in my opinion was points in the paint. Mankato East ended the contest with 22 points in the paint while Faribault had 10. Final score: Mankato East 49, Faribault 42.

The Falcons are still searching for their first Big Nine win of the season and are 2-15 overall; the Cougars captured their third win in the conference and are 3-14. Faribault travels to Henry Sibley High School on Saturday at 7 p.m. for a game and will play Albert Lea at home on Tuesday.

When the bleachers were all pulled up against the wall in the Mankato East gym last night and I was packing my equipment, I saw these shoes in the corner. I couldn't help but think how I never lost any shoes when I was a youngster and if I did, I'd be asked to pay back my parents in sweat equity. These look like some pretty nice shoes.