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Girls Basketball: Missed free throws costly in 80-78 setback

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Head coach Jason Berg expects a few mistakes here and there from his young Farmington girls basketball team.

In Saturday's season opener, 20 mistakes in the form of missed free throws were largely responsible for an 80-78 setback to Rochester Century in Rochester.

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"We played pretty well for the first game with such a young team," Berg said. "We shot over 50 percent from the field as a team, forced 32 turnovers, got to the free-throw line, but we did not shoot well from the line."

Farmington senior guard Kirstee Rotty poured in a game-high 29 points on 13-of-25 shooting from the floor, handed out five assists and grabbed four steals, but made just 2 of 6 charity tosses. As a team, the Tigers connected on just 8 of 28, or 29 percent.

Still, the team's offense proved productive, scoring 39 points in each half, limiting its turnovers to 21 and grabbing 36 rebounds despite the loss of two of its top three scorers from a year ago in post players Abby Kenealy and Carly Chell.

Taylor Meyer stepped in under the basket and provided 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, grabbing a team-high seven rebounds and adding three steals and two blocked shots. Junior guard Lauren McHenry joined Rotty and Meyer in double figures with 11 points, also on 5-of-8 shooting, and also provided six rebounds and five assists while committing zero turnovers.

Sophomore Jordan Bridges also helped out in the post in her varsity debut, scoring seven points and grabbing five boards, and Elena Koch added five rebounds.

"We held our own rebounding. We got out of position and fouled too much in the second half, which really slowed the pace of the game down," Berg said. "It also allowed them to rest -- they got tired in the first half."

The Tigers made their home debut Tuesday night against Winona and they will travel back down Highway 52 tomorrow night for another non-conference road game in Rochester, this time against Rochester Mayo. The team will have seven more non-conference games before opening up its Missota Conference schedule Jan. 13 at New Prague. Berg hopes by then his young players' increase in experience will start leading to a decrease in mistakes.

"We made some mistakes, but played our way out of them," he said. "As the kids get more comfortable with our system those mistakes and breakdowns will decrease."

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