Tiger Cagers Claim First Conference Win
by Jim Hoey
Buoyed by 16 points from senior forward Caden Freetly and 13 from junior guard Adam Weed, the Farmington High boys’ basketball team scored a convincing 65-47 win over the visiting Eastview Lightning on Friday night at the FHS gym. It gave the Tigers their first conference win (1-3 South Suburban) and improved their overall log to 8-4. Eastview, meanwhile, fell to 5-7 overall and 1-3 in league play.
While the game started 40 minutes late, the Tiger five quickly established control of the game with efficient offense and an alert defense. Weed drilled three three-pointers and senior guard Zach Hedquist pumped in two more as Farmington was deadly from long-range in a crisply-played first half. The Tigers led 34-20 at intermission and controlled the tempo throughout. The home team held their opponents scoreless in the final three minutes before halftime.
Second-year head coach Tharen Johnson, said, “I thought we played really well defensively, to hold Eastview to just 20 points in the first half and less than 50 for the game. I thought the boys played well in our full-court press and kept the pressure on them all game.”
Eastview’s Tate Machachek, a talented sophomore, scored the first nine points for the Lightning to keep his team within reach as the Tigers claimed an early 20-9 lead. Weed totaled 11 of his points in the first half and Hedquist had all of his 8 points in the pivotal first half. The turnover-prone (21) Lightning, meanwhile, were throttled by the Tiger defenders and made just two three-pointers the entire contest. Max Bolger, Eastview’s leading scorer averaging 15 a game, was held to just five points. Slender 6’8” sophomore center Steven Crowl, added 10 points for veteran coach Paul Goetz.
Muscular power forward Brock Mogensen added nine points for the Tigers while junior forward Miles Mendes chipped in with eight. Junior guard Jameson Shrum scored five points and led the team with six assists while hauling down five rebounds. Freetly led the home team with nine rebounds.
The Tigers displayed more balance and depth than the youthful Lightning on this frigid night, an indication that things are definitely improving for the Tiger program. FHS shot 45% from the field while Eastview was at 43%. The Tigers outrebounded the Lightning 33-22, including 11 offensive boards. Farmington was 8-10 at the free-throw line while Eastview was 11-17.
“Offensively, we shared the ball well,” remarked Johnson. “Caden Freetly was attacking well and Shrum and Mendes were setting up teammates for open looks and Hedquist, Weed, and Jacob Bormann did a good job of knocking those down. Brock Mogensen did a good job of crashing the glass and cleaning up some of the shots that didn’t go in.”
In the second half, Freetly and Mendes keyed the offense while Eastview struggled with shot selection and turnovers. The Lightning pulled to within 34-24 but a Mendes layup and Freetly’s old-fashioned three-point play in a 10-second span gave the hosts a 15-point lead and the Tigers cruised throughout a foul-filled second half.
The Tigers surged out to a 23-point lead at 56-33 with less than eight minutes left in the contest. With the victory, the 2017-18 team has secured as many wins as they had in Johnson’s inaugural season a year ago and its just midway through the season.
“I felt that it was our most complete game of the season,” said Johnson of the win. “We’ve had some other wins but we had stretches in those games where we didn’t play well. Against Eastview, we played with focus from start to finish. Now, we need to continue to do that through the remainder of the year.”
The Tigers will play at Eagan on Tuesday, Jan. 16 in the hopes of earning a second-straight triumph before hosting Burnsville on Friday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.