Lakers Break Away Late in Win Over Tigers
By Pat Rupp
When Prior Lake and Farmington met earlier in the season in Prior Lake the Lakers used their big front line and pressure defense to roll to a 26-point win.
In Tuesday’s rematch, the Tigers did a much better job rebounding and handling the pressure before the Lakers pulled away late to score a 52-43 South Suburban Conference victory.
“The main difference was we took care of the ball,” Farmington coach Tharen Johnson said. “Prior Lake likes to press and play pressure defense and last time we played them we turned the ball over 16 times and they scored 21 points off those turnovers.
“Last night we only turned the ball over 10 times. That allowed us to set our defense and get more shot opportunities. We spent over half our practice preparing for their press and the boys really responded well.”
The Lakers jumped ahead early 17-5 but Farmington battled back to within six points at halftime behind 11 points from Sam Wilson.
Wilson and Kole Hinrichsen each drained three-pointers to tie the score and the teams would be tied again at 31’s before Brock Mogensen’s three from the left wing gave the home team its only lead of the night at 34-33.
The contest was knotted again at 36’s and 39’s but the Lakers used a couple of clutch three-pointers and seven free throws in the final two minutes to close on 13-4 run.
Wilson, still bothered some by an ankle injury two weeks ago, led all scorers with 23 points. Caden Freetly chipped in with eight points.
“Sam is getting better every day,” Johnson said. “It looks like he still is a little effected by the ankle on certain plays but he is definitely getting his explosiveness back.”
“Sam was very aggressive last night and I think our team feeds off that. There were a couple times Sam maybe forced his shot too much but other times he was making plays that no one else on our team has the ability to do.”
When all was said and done, it was poor shooting that cost the Tigers the upset. Farmington shot an anemic 31.4 percent overall and made just 5 of 23 (21.7 %) from behind the three-point line.
The Tigers actually won the rebound battle 24-23 with Miles Mendes leading the way with six. Wilson and Hinrichsen had five boards apiece.
“I really liked the way our team battled,” Johnson said. “Prior Lake has a lot of size and our guys stepped up to the challenge. It helped getting Miles back to help combat their height.”
“In the end, we just didn’t hit enough shots. We had our opportunities with some open three’s and some shots around the rim but could not finish on enough of them…Then a defensive miscommunication late that lead to them hitting a big three-pointer that kind of did us in.”
Farmington (8-17) closes out its regular season Friday night with a road game at Lakeville South. Section 1AA post-season play begins next week.