South Sends Tigers into Post-Season with a Loss
By Pat Rupp
The first time Farmington and Lakeville South squared off this season at Tiger Gym the Cougars buried the Tigers under an avalanche of 11 three-point baskets in an 85-59 South Suburban Conference win.
In Friday night’s regular season finale played at South, Farmington defended the three much better but still came out on the short end of a 60-52 final score.
“South took it to us the first time around,” Farmington coach Tharen Johnson said. “We did a terrible job in our transition defense that lead to a lot of easy layups and open three’s. We also didn’t take care of the ball and they scored 25 points off turnovers.
“In practice we worked hard on our press-breaker and we did a much better job taking care of the ball. We also made some adjustments defensively to try and limit the number of shots of their all-conference point guard Jack Sorensen. I thought the team executed well and we gave ourselves a chance defensively.”
Both teams struggled offensively in a low-scoring first half which saw Farmington lead by six early before the Cougars rallied to take a 23-21 lead at intermission.
The second half featured a string of runs with the Cougars opening on a 9-0 spurt to take an 11-point lead before the Tigers responded later with an 11-0 run to lead by three at 42-39.
After Caden Freetly’s basket tied the count at 47’s with six minutes to play, South outscored Farmington 13-5 down the stretch to nail down the win.
The Tigers hurt themselves for the second straight game in the shooting department, converting only 19 of 57 attempts for 33 percent. They also lost the rebounding battle 37-31 and gave up 28 points in the paint.
On the plus side, Farmington limited its turnovers to a manageable 10 and scored 14 second chance points against a much taller opponent.
Freetly filled up the stat sheet with 14 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double., Sam Wilson also scored 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Kole Hinrichsen added 12 points, all in the second half.
The loss left the Tigers with a final regular season mark of 8-18, including a 3-15 mark against South Suburban Conference opposition. They will drag a nine-game losing streak into the opening round of next week’s Section 1AAAA quarterfinals.
Farmington drew the No. 6 seed in the section and will travel to Rochester next Wednesday night to take on third-seeded John Marshall (23-3) who went a perfect 22-0 in the Big Nine Conference. The Rockets are led by highly-recruited Division I prospect Matthew Hurt.
“I really like the way we are starting to come together as a team after getting all our players back healthy from illness and injuries,” Johnson said. “Our last two games should give our players confidence going into playoffs. If we get hot shooting the ball, we can give some higher seeds problems.”