Tigers Down Trojans 61-55 for Third Straight
by Pat Rupp
Farmington (7-2) used a pesky full court press and some clutch free throw shooting down the stretch to post a 61-55 non-conference win over old Missota Conference rival New Prague Tuesday night in New Prague.
The win was the third straight for the Tigers who were coming off a sweep of Irondale and Prescott, Wisconsin in the Hastings Holiday Tournament.
“New Prague likes playing at a slower pace offensively so we pressed them to force them to play faster than they wanted,” Tiger coach Tharen Johnson said. “I thought the press was effective. We gave up a few easy baskets, but we also generated some easy scores for ourselves off some of their turnovers.”
The Tigers forced the Trojans into 17 miscues that resulted in 19 Farmington points.
The first half was close early, with Farmington behind the outside shooting of Adam Weed and the inside play of Miles Mendes eventually giving the visitors the biggest lead of the half at 29-22. New Prague outscored its guests by 7-2 the rest of the period, however, to trail by just two at intermission at 31-29.
Weed canned a trio of three-pointers and finished with 11 points in the half. Mendes chipped in with eight in the opening period.
New Prague took an early edge in the second half and eventually built a nine-point cushion at 45-36 That’s about time the Tigers started playing long ball.
Caden Freetly drained a three to start the rally and Weed nailed two more from long range to cut the deficit to three points. Then consecutive baskets by Mendes and Brock Mogensen tied it up at 50 points apiece.
The score was tied again at 52-52 when Zach Hedquist hit a driving lay-up and then after a Trojan free throw, made one of two from the line for a two-point lead. Hedquist later added another bucket and Weed and Gabe Bassett each sank two key free throws down the stretch to seal the deal.
The Tigers who have had their problems at the charity stripe most of the season hit 12 of 16 from the line for the game and five of six in the closing minutes.
“Outside of one travel call, our guys stayed very poised down the stretch,” Johnson said.
Weed had by far his best game of the season, going 7-11 from the floor, including 5-6 from behind the three-point arc.
“Adam had a big game for us,” Johnson said. “He was the one guy we had that was consistently hitting his jump shot from the outside. Adam had a hand injury from football and was struggling with his shot early but as his hand has healed up, he’s really been a good shooter.”
Mendes finished with 13 points, including one of his signature dunks. Freetly had a nice all-around game with nine points, six rebounds and five assists. Hedquist scored seven points and Shrum chimed in with four points, six rebounds and four steals.
The Tigers get back to South Suburban Conference business Thursday night when they host Lakeville South at Tiger Gym.
“The New Prague game was a big win against a Section 1 team,” Johnson said. “The South game will be another big one for us.”