Tigers Move to 4-1 with Road Win over Jefferson
by Pat Rupp
Seniors Caden Freetly and Zach Hedquist combined for 32 points to lead Farmington to a 55-53 non-conference win over Bloomington Jefferson Friday night in Bloomington.
The victory raised the Tigers’ early season record to 4-1 with South Suburban Conference play slated to begin next Tuesday night.
Friday’s contest in Bloomington looked to be a cake walk for the visitors in the early going. Farmington used a suffocating man-to-man defense and a balanced offense to score the first 12 points of the night.
At one point the Tigers were sitting on a 22-6 cushion but the Jaguars closed the opening half on a 15-5 run of their own to cut their halftime deficit to just six points at 27-21.
“The defense was good early,” Farmington coach Tharen Johnson said. “We had them scouted well and the boys were communicating, not allowing them to get the shots they’re accustomed to. Caden Freetly did a great job defending their top player.
“Right before halftime Jefferson stopped playing their center and went with all guards. That took our guys a little time to adjust to their applying more pressure and over-helping on our screens.”
Jefferson quickly tied the game early in the second half and eventually took a two-point advantage at 36-34. Consecutive baskets by Jacob Bormann, Freetly and Brock Mogensen put the Tigers back in the lead that they would never surrender.
Two big three-pointers, one by Hedquist and another by Adam Weed, stretched the Farmington lead to 46-39 and an old-fashioned three-point play by Miles Mendes extended it to eight points with the clocking winding down.
That’s about the time free throw shooting became an adventure for the Tigers. From there until the final horn, Farmington went to the strip 14 times but converted just four. That combined with a couple of late turnovers, one a controversial charging call, and the Jaguars were able to make the final score closer than it should have been.
“The guys really shared the ball well on offense and found the open man,” Johnson said. “We hit 9 of 16 three’s with Caden (Freetly) and Zach (Hedquist) both making three.
“But down the stretch we didn’t execute as well as we need to,” Johnson said. “We left too many points at the free throw line and we had some unforced turnovers and bad fouls that let Bloomington back in the game.
“In the end though we did what we needed to do to win on the road against a team that was conference champs and beat us by 16 points last season…So far I have been proud of the resolve of our team.”
Freetly finished with a game-high 20 points with classmate Hedquist joining him in double figures with 12. Freetly also had a team-high seven rebounds as well as four assists. Weed tallied eight points and Mendes added seven.
Johnson said he knows Tuesday’s South Suburban Conference opener at Prior Lake will supply his team with a big challenge.
“They play a similar style defense to Jefferson so hopefully our team can keep making the correct reads and adjustments on offense to find open shots,” he said.
“Defensively they have has two 6’10 forwards so we will have to make sure our guys are prepared to deal with their height inside. I’m confident in the time our boys have put in the weight room and that we will be able to counter the height disadvantage with our team strength.”
After Tuesday’s night’s league opener the Tigers are idle until December 28 when they begin a two-night engagement at the four-team Hastings Holiday Classic. Other teams in the tourney include Hastings, Irondale and Prescott, Wisconsin.