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Boys basketball: Tiger defense digs in during homestand

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It was a weird week for the Farmington boys basketball team.

Last Tuesday, the Tigers surrendered their highest point total since the first game of the 2004-05 season while losing a frantically-paced 104-99 overtime barn burner to fourth-ranked Lakeville North. In the contest, Xavier recruit JP Macura lit up the Tiger Gym scoreboard for a season-high 55 points and helped the Panthers hand Farmington its first loss of the young season.Farmington’s Zach Speikers rises up for two of his 31 points during last Tuesday’s loss to No. 4 North.

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The Tigers played two more home games over the next four days and gave up a combined 75 points — and neither Rochester Century nor Owatonna could come close to matching Macura’s 55 in a pair of lopsided Farmington victories.

Tenth-year head coach Shane Wyandt reached and surpassed 100 career wins during the week, reaching the century mark after last Thursday’s 58-39 victory over Century. No. 101 came on Saturday as the Tigers improved to 5-1 on the season with a 49-35 win over visiting Owatonna.

The Farmington defense limited Owatonna to 11 field goals. On the offensive end, the Tigers were once again balanced with four players scoring between eight and 11 points in the slowed-down affair. Mac Bassett led the team with 11 points, Zach Speikers scored 10 and Jordan DeCroock knocked down three three-pointers to finish with nine points.

Eli Rockett added eight points and six rebounds and Nick Varner hauled in a team-high 16 rebounds and grabbed four steals.

The Tigers led 15-3 early on and Owatonna never got within six the rest of the way. The Century game was also well in hand early with the Tigers taking a 37-15 lead into the break.

Rockett paced the team with 14 points and Speikers was right behind with 13 points, five rebounds and four steals. Bassett scored 10 points and Johnny Dittman tacked on eight points, four assists, four rebounds and four steals.

Scoring wasn’t a problem for either team in last Tuesday’s game against Lakeville North.

The Tigers took the early lead thanks to a barrage of three-pointers and still carried a 49-44 advantage into the halftime break. They moved ahead by as many as 12 points at 64-52 before the Panthers slowly started chipping away. The visitors completed the comeback when Macura tied the game at 92-92 with a pair of free throws in the final minute.

Farmington took its final lead at 98-97 on a Varner basket with 1:15 remaining in overtime, but the Panthers closed with a 7-1 run to pick up the win.

Macura finished with 32 of his 55 points in the second half and overtime. He was 18 of 20 from the free-throw line.

Speikers led the Tigers with a career-high 31 points. He made three three-pointers, grabbed six rebounds and dished out eight assists.

Varner came on strong in the second half to put up a season-high 25 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Dittman made four threes en route to 14 points and Bassett scored 11.

The Tigers closed out their four-game homestand with their final Missota Conference opener against rival Northfield Tuesday at Tiger Gym. Tomorrow night the team travels to St. Paul to face Harding.

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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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