Girls Basketball: Bouncing back
Dealing with a relatively inexperienced crew, the Farmington girls basketball team knew one aspect of its game could help it stay competitive.
Tigers coach Jason Berg wanted his team to attack and get to the free-throw line.
The strategy worked in the opener, but Farmington failed to convert once it reached the free throw line and lost a close game. Last week's pair of games provided a bit more of what the coach was expecting.
The Tigers were getting to the charity stripe, and made enough of the freebies to record their first two wins of the season.
"One of my goals this year was to be more aggressive on offense and get to the line more," Berg said. "We have averaged around 30 free throws per game. If we can continue to do that, we are going to have a chance to be successful every game. We shoot free throws in practice, but don't talk too much about makes and misses. It doesn't make much sense to focus on misses."
Farmington hit enough of those free throws to beat Winona, 57-51, and Rochester Mayo, 74-62.
"The kids did a good job of learning from the first game versus (Rochester Century), and applied those lessons to the next two games," Berg said. "We were able to look at the parts of the Century tape and see some of the things we had been working on and how those applied to the game. The kids were able to see in game situations how drills applied, and took those drills to heart last week.
"You can make a lot of improvement after game one because now all the stuff in practice has meaning."
Kirstee Rotty has led the team in each game this season. She scored 23 points against Winona as the only player in double-figures. She added six rebounds, four steals and two assists, while going 8-for-11 from the free-throw line.
Against Mayo, Rotty had a team-high 19 points with nine rebounds and three steals.
Elena Koch, Taylor Meyer, Sarah Silber, Jordan Bridges, Nicole Clifton, Jamie Kenealy and Isis Alexander are among the inexperienced players who have received significant playing time.
"They had success at the JV level last year," Berg said. "They give us a different look than what we have had the past few years -- they are an athletic group with length. Their skills and athleticism really fit into how I would like to play. As they get more comfortable with the speed of the varsity games, and finer points of our system, our team will continue to improve."
Koch had eight points and a team-high 13 rebounds against Winona. She added nine points and 12 rebounds in the win against Mayo. Meyer scored 12 points against Mayo as one of three players in double-figures.
Tanna Howie added 10 points against Mayo. Lauren McHenry had 11 assists in the two games.
"I thought we would be able to score," Berg said. "I feel good about being able to put a lot of different combinations of five players on the floor who can score. If we move the ball and find the open person, we should get high-percentage shots. I really believe shooting percentage has to do with how unselfish a team plays. You really have to share the ball to shoot over 50 percent."