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Boys basketball: One weird week

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Boys basketball: One weird week
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Farmington has found some frustrating ways to lose basketball games this season, but Tuesday night's game against New Prague topped them all.

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The Tigers led by three points with 10 seconds left when Alex Michels missed the front end of a 1-and-1. The rebound was tipped around under the basket for a couple of seconds before a New Prague player secured the ball and passed it ahead to Danny Geiger who -- unaware his team needed three points to tie the game -- dribbled inside the three-point line and made a move toward the basket. He made the two-pointer that should have secured a one-point victory for the home team, but a Farmington player committed a foul that allowed Geiger to complete a three-point play and send the game into overtime.

In the extra session, New Prague built a four-point lead before baskets by Mike Jolliff and Connor Duffy tied the game with under a minute left. It was 73-73 when Geiger drove the lane and kicked it out to Jed Kreuser, who nailed what turned out to be the game-winner.

"We threw the game away. It was absolutely surreal," Farmington coach Shane Wyandt said. "Just unbelievable. I've never seen it happen like that before."

It's been a season of heartbreak for the 4-13 Tigers. Six of their losses have been by at least 13 points, but six others have come by a combined 22 points.

"Sometimes those are the toughest, especially when it ends like last night," Wyandt said. "The kids had that game won, so to have that mistake at the end was tough. In all six of those games we've had opportunities to tie the game at the end and we've come up short. That's a little tough."

Farmington struggled to stop the tandem of Geiger and Cale Girten, who combined to score 60 of New Prague's 76 points. Meanwhile, the Tigers countered with a more balanced offense that featured five players in double figures for the first time this season. Kyle Winkelman poured in a team-high 24 points, Lavey scored 12, Jolliff and Duffy each tacked on 11 and Michels finished with 10.

The Tigers led 42-32 at the break, but were outscored 33-23 over the final 18 minutes. The fast start was a far cry from the team's previous outing when it scored just eight points and shot 3 of 30 from the field in the first half of Friday's 63-33 loss at Holy Angels.

Winkelman led the team with seven points, Lavey scored six points and Duffy had five.

Before the offensive collapse at Holy Angels and the nightmare finish against New Prague, last Tuesday's game at Northfield probably would have been considered Farmington's craziest game of the season.

The Tigers trailed by 11 points at the break and by as many as 18 points midway through the second half before a late barrage of three-pointers and clutch free-throws forced overtime. Two extra sessions passed before Wyandt's winded Tigers escaped their biggest rival's gymnasium with a 69-66 victory.

"What a weird game," Wyandt said. "We had no energy and looked done. We changed a couple things up defensively and just slowly started chipping away."

Winkelman supplied several big baskets down the stretch and finished with 27 points. He made six shots from beyond the arc and 7 of 9 from the free-throw line while also handing out six assists. Two Winkelman free throws and four more by Lavey helped give the Tigers the lead in the second overtime period.

Lavey finished with 16 points and Duffy and Michels each scored 10.

The Tigers play again tomorrow night when they travel west to take on Hutchinson in a Missota Conference game.

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Matt Steichen
Matt Steichen has been the sports editor at the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has previously been a sports writer at the Sioux City Journal and Le Mars Daily Sentinel and the sports editor at the Austin Daily Herald.
(651) 460-6606
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