Jaguars Claw Their Way to 66-50 Win over Tigers
by Pat Rupp
The young and mostly under-sized Tigers faced off against a tall and veteran Bloomington Jefferson squad Thursday night at Tiger Gym and when the dust settled the Jaguars had ground out a 66-50 non-conference victory.
As was the case in Tuesday’s nine-point loss to Shakopee, the first half played a big part in the final outcome. The game was close early before the visitors went on an 11-2 run to take a 21-9 lead. The Jaguar lead swelled to 35-17 by intermission.
“I didn’t think we necessarily had a slow start against Shakopee,” Tiger coach Tharen Johnson said. “It was close until about halfway through the first half.
“But we definitely did not start well against Jefferson. I would attribute the slow start to way too many turnovers early. We can’t score if we aren’t getting shots.”
The Jaguars also did a good job of limiting Tiger leading scorer Sam Wilson over the first 18 minutes. They sent multiple defenders at the senior forward and held him scoreless until three minutes remained in the half.
Wilson scored four quick points to open the second half to cut the deficit to 14 points at 35-21 but the Tigers would get no closer the rest of the way. The Jaguars biggest lead came at 60-38.
“We have to execute better offensively,” Johnson said. “Jefferson is a very experienced team and they were playing at a different speed than we were. Our younger players aren’t used to that time of game speed. ..We also can’t turn the ball over like we did tonight and we have to rebound better.”
The Tigers finished the night with 21 turnovers that led to 17 Jefferson points.
“We have been stressing cutting down our turnovers,” Johnson said. “We need to continue to get better in that area in our practices next week before the holiday tournament.”
Jefferson won the battle of the boards by only a 26-18 margin but was a plus-13 in second chance points and a plus-three in transition points. Add them up and it was the difference in the final score.
Wilson scored 18 of his team-high 22 points in the second half to lead the Farmington offense for the fourth straight game. Wilson connected on nine of 16 from the floor and nailed a pair of three-pointers.
“Sam knows he can play with any of these guys,” Johnson said. “In the second half he took it upon himself to initiate things.”
Senior guard Kole Hinrichsen added 10, seven of them coming in the first half. No other Tiger scored more than five points.
Caden Freetly dished out six assists for the Tigers. Miles Mendes had a team-high four rebounds and Hinrichsen and Wilson each came up with a pair of steals.
6’7” senior Tyler Riemersma and 6’6” senior Peter Gathje led Jefferson combined for 34 points and 14 rebounds to pace Jefferson.
Farmington (2-2) plays in the Hastings Holiday Tournament Dec 29-30. The Tigers open play Friday, Dec 29, against Prescott, Wisconsin. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:00.