Unbeaten Trojans Take Tigers to School
By Pat Rupp
Unbeaten New Prague (10-0) gave Farmington a lesson in basketball fundamentals in a 67-43 win over the Tigers Tuesday night at Tiger Gym.
Farmington coach Tharen Johnson said his team could take some tips from their former Missota Conference rival.
“You have to hope that playing teams like New Prague will make you better down the road,” he said. “Seeing a team like that early gives our guys a chance to see the level we need to get to by the end of the regular season.
“They are the best team we have faced so far. They would do well in the South Suburban Conference this year….They’ve already beaten Shakopee, Lakeville South, Burnsville and us.”
If there were a single thing that separated the two teams on Tuesday night, it was the Tigers’ inability to take care of the basketball. The locals finished the night with an eye-popping 20 turnovers that led directly to 25 New Prague points.
After the opening tip it took the Tigers almost three minutes to register their first shot attempt and nearly eight minutes to make their first basket. New Prague scored the game’s first 14 points and by halftime had doubled the score at 36-18.
“We didn’t play with composure when they put some defensive pressure on the ball,” Johnson said. “We have to keep working on reversing the basketball to the other side of the court when teams overload their defense to one side of the court. We settled for keeping the ball on the same half of the court which made it easy for them to play the passing lanes.”
It took almost as long for the home team to get going after intermission as the visitors reeled off the first eight points of the second half to stretch their lead to 26 points, a margin it maintained most of the rest of the way.
In addition to their turnover problems the Tigers had trouble in the paint where the Trojan’s Zach Hanson ruled the lane. Hanson finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Almost half of the New Prague points (32) came in the paint.
Sam Wilson scored 14 points to top the Farmington scoring charts but no other Tiger managed more than six. Wilson and Caden Freetly each pulled down four rebounds. Jameson Shrum dished out a team-high four assists.
“The most disappointing thing for me about the loss is when we had things go bad a couple of our guys pouted around instead of continuing to play hard,” Johnson said.
“I don’t always expect things to go perfectly but I do expect us to play our hardest the entire game.”
Farmington (4-3) moves back to South Suburban Conference play Thursday night with a road game at Eastview (3-6).