Tigers Down Century in a Shootout
by Pat Rupp
Before Friday night’s season opener with Rochester Century Farmington coach Tharen Johnson voiced concern about where his team’s points would come from after losing Sam Wilson and Kole Hinrichsen to graduation last spring.
After the Tigers’ 94-80 non-conference win at Tiger Gym, Johnson must feel a bit of relief as five Tigers scored nine or more points against their Section 1AAAA rivals.
“Usually the defense is ahead of the offense in the early games,” Johnson said but tonight we did a good job of moving the ball and finding the open man. We missed some shots we should have made but overall I was pleased with how we ran the offense and shared the ball.”
The game was decided by three distinct Farmington runs. The first came right out of the gate when baskets by Jamer Shrum and Caden Freetly and a three-pointer by Zach Hedquist keyed an opening 16-4 spurt before the Panthers could get their game legs.
Century pecked away at its early deficit and closed the first half on a 17-10 run of its own to close the margin to 45-37 at the halftime break. Freetly had ten first half points, Shrum nine and Brock Mogensen eight.
A big side story of the first half was the mounting foul trouble for both teams. A total of 24 infractions were whistled in the first 18 minutes, 14 of them against Farmington. Thirteen of the visitors’ points in the first half came from the charity stripe.
Just as it had in the first half the home team came out blazing after intermission, canning five of its first seven field goal tries in a 14-4 spurt to extend the lead to a game-high 18 points at 59-41.
The Panthers wouldn’t go away, however, and with 5:00 minutes remaining in regulation the visitors had made it a two-possession game at 79-73.
That’s when Farmington stepped on the gas and put together its third big run of the night, this one a 15-7 closing spurt to seal the deal. Miles Mendes had six of the Tiger points in the outburst, including a rim-rattling dunk with 1:40 to play.
“I thought Brock (Mogensen) also played a big part in how well we closed the game,” Johnson said. “He had a big put-back of a miss by Miles and then hustled all the way down to the other end of the floor to make a key defensive play.”
Freetly and Mogensen led all Farmington scorers with 18 points each. Freetly also contributed 4 rebounds and 5 assists despite battling foul trouble most of the night. Mogensen, who averaged three points a night as a junior, did his damage on 8 of 9 shooting from the field and Shrum added 17 to go with a solid floor game. Mendes scored all 11 of his game total in the second half. Jacob Bormann added nine, Adam Weed seven and Hedquist and Jarrett Hunt six apiece.
The Tigers committed 11 more fouls in the second half, giving them a game total of 25 that helped Century finished with 23 points at the foul line.
“I think officials call games closer early in the season,” Johnson said. “But we had some bad fouls where we were caught not moving our feet and at times our transition defense was pretty poor. We will have to get better there.”
As for the gaudy point total in game one, Johnson said his team always likes to play at a faster pace but that on this night the opportunities dictated the big number on the home half of the scoreboard
“When you run the offense and move the ball, you get good shots,” he said.
Next up on the schedule is a trip to Rochester next Tuesday night for a date with another Section rival, Rochester Mayo. Thursday the Tigers return home to entertain Minnetonka and Saturday they host St. Anthony in a rare matinee game.