The Defense Rests at St. Anthony
by Pat Rupp
Maybe it was the emotional residue left over from the previous night’s buzzer-beating loss to Apple Valley or the fatigue of playing three games in five days against teams with a combined won-lost record of 34-6.
Whatever the reason, the Tigers defense was a no-show Saturday in a 93-76 loss to old Tri-Metro Conference rival St. Anthony Saturday afternoon at St. St. Anthony.
“No one besides Sam (Wilson) was tough enough to guard their post player,” Tiger coach Tharen Johnson said. “The defensive principles we work on in practice daily went out the window. Guys weren’t communicating. We were giving up the baseline. We were falling for their perimeter shot fakes. I’m at a loss or words.”
The Huskies who finished the contest hitting almost 56 percent of their shots took an early 4-2 and never relinquished it. They led by as many as 15 points midway through the first half before seniors Wilson and Kole Hinrichsen fueled a mini-run late in the period to cut the deficit to 45-34 at intermission.
The Tiger defense had no answer for the inside presence of Rhys Langums who would go on to lead all scorers with 33 points and when he wasn’t scoring his teammates were lighting up the scoreboard from the outside. St. Anthony finished the half with seven three-point baskets.
The second half was a little more competitive but the game’s outcome was never in doubt
“I was disappointed in both our effort and our execution,” Johnson said.” We took too many quick shots instead of using our athletic advantage to get the ball inside…It was especially disappointing after being so proud of how we competed the night before.”
Wilson led Farmington scorers with 31 points, the same total he had the night before against Apple Valley. It was the second time this season the senior forward has put together back-to-back 30-point efforts. Caden Freetly added 15, Adam Weed 12 and Hinrichsen 10.
The defense wasn’t the only aspect of Farmington’s game that had an off day. The Tigers got off 20 more shots than the Huskies but made just 28 of 72 for a tepid 39 percent. They were ice cold from behind three-point arc, going nine for 35 (26 percent). St. Anthony, meanwhile, canned 11 of 18 from long range.
Wilson and Freetly led the Tigers in rebounding with eight apiece. Hinrichsen pulled down seven. Jameson handed out a team-high five assists; Miles Mendes had four.
The winners also helped themselves at the foul line, going 24 of 32 while the Tigers converted 14 of 20 tries.
Farmington (6-7) jumps back into the South Suburban Conference fray next week with a Tuesday night game at Prior Lake and a Friday home match-up with Rosemount.