Girls basketball: Tiger offense struggles in section loss
Owatonna's packed-in zone defense dared Farmington to make some perimeter jump shots during last Saturday's Section 1AAAA semifinals.
The Tigers couldn't do it. Coach Jason Berg's team shot just 28 percent from the field -- including a 1-for-14 showing from beyond the three-point arc -- in a 50-31 season-ending loss to the second-seeded Huskies.
"We just did not make any perimeter jump shots. (Taylor ) Meyer hit one three and we hit only two other jump shots," Berg said. "With them packing it in we needed to make a few jumpers and we just did not hit any."
The Tigers, who finished with a record of 11-15, were still within 20-13 after a slow-paced first half. They made their lone run of the game after the break when baskets by Meyer, Elena Koch and Isis Alexander made it 24-22 Owatonna with 10 minutes remaining.
"It was really the only time all night we were able to string multiple good offensive possessions together," Berg said. "That allowed us to press and get the game moving a little bit."
The Huskies responded, however, closing the game out with a 26-9 run to advance to a section final date with top-seeded Northfield.
The loss ended the prep career of lone senior Lauren McHenry. McHenry averaged 4.1 points per game and is currently 10th in the state in assists with 112. In Saturday's finale she had just one point, but led the team with five assists and four steals.
"Lauren is a great leader -- one of the hardest working players I have coached in the past four years," Berg said. "She has been a huge part of the success and building process since I have been coaching the past four years."
Leading the group of returning players next year will be Meyer, who finished with a team-high 14 points on Saturday and averaged over 12 per game this season. Also returning will be Alexander and Koch, who each scored six points against Owatonna, and varsity regulars Jordan Bridges, Shelby Calhoun, Jamie Kenealy, Mariah Mincke, Tia Jacoby and Sarah Silber.
They will be joined by Paige Steele, who was the team's starting point guard before suffering a season-ending injury during the season, and a cast of B squad and JV players who combined to win 28 games this season. Berg is hoping some of those players can develop offensive abilities that match the program's defensive prowess.
"The key for our program is for our kids to improve individually on offense," he said. "We need to become better jump shooters. We need some kids to step up and consistently hit jump shots. That will make everything else on offense easier."