Boys basketball: Farmington won games at Red Wing and Northfield last week
After hovering around the .500 mark throughout the first month of the season, the Farmington boys basketball team seemed to hit its stride just in time for the start of the Missota Conference season.
The Tigers (8-5) surged to the top of the league standings by scoring a pair of road wins last week. They opened with a 75-54 rout of the rival Raiders last Tuesday at Northfield, and then came from behind to edge ninth-ranked (Class 3A) Red Wing 77-67 in overtime Friday night in Red Wing.
Head coach Shane Wyandt is happy with the start, but knows it doesn't get any easier this week as the Tigers opened a three- game homestand at Tiger Gym with 7-3 New Prague Tuesday and take on fourth-ranked Holy Angels tomorrow night.
"We're pleased with our start to conference, but have to realize it's just that, a start," he said. "Our league is loaded with good teams this year and there will be all kinds of parity within it. You truly have to be ready every night. I'm pleased that our team defense has been really improving and I think if we can play more consistently and take care of the basketball we'll be a tough team to beat."
All those elements came together late in Friday night's game at Red Wing. After trailing throughout the second half, the Tigers went ahead on a Mac Bassett three-pointer with three minutes to go and never trailed the rest of the way. They started overtime with an 8-2 surge and outscored the Wingers 15-5 in the extra session.
"We had several guys step up with baskets, free throws and some huge rebounds," Wyandt said. "During the game we committed too many turnovers and were a little out of sync at times, but I give our guys a lot of credit for sticking with the gameplan and executing down the stretch."
Zach Speikers led four Tigers in double figures with a season-high 22 points. Teammate Johnny Dittman was right behind with a season-best 21 points.
"As a sophomore (Speikers) is starting to get more comfortable and will have games where we need him to be our top scorer. Luckily for us we have a few guys that can fill that role on any given night and we can have balanced scoring across the board on other nights," Wyandt said. "Zach had some struggles, as did others, with the ball, but he did a nice job of shaking that off and did some really good things in the second half and OT."
Bassett tacked on 15 points and Darren Beenken scored 13 to go along with a team-best eight rebounds.
Beenken took on the scoring role last Tuesday in Northfield. He exploded for a season-high 26 points and the Tigers pulled away for a 75-54 win.
Speikers added 16 points, Nick Varner chipped in 10 points and Eli Rockett added nine. The Tigers led 44-31 by halftime and ended up getting nine players in the scoring column.