Girls basketball: Tigers doing it with defenseFor years, Farmington girls basketball coach Jason Berg has taught an up-tempo, full-court pressing style of defense designed to slow down opponents by baiting them into playing at an uncomfortably fast pace.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
For years, Farmington girls basketball coach Jason Berg has taught an up-tempo, full-court pressing style of defense designed to slow down opponents by baiting them into playing at an uncomfortably fast pace.
That approached has worked, to an extent. The Tigers have played at about a .500 clip over the last five years, and when they’ve been on the winning end it’s often been as a result of their defense forcing a high number of turnovers.
Now, the Tigers are finding even more success by toning their defensive pressure down a notch. With a lineup that often features three six-footers, the Tigers have spent more time dropping back into the lane and forcing opponents into perimeter jump shots. They’re still forcing more than 20 turnovers per game, but they’re also allowing fewer easy shots during their 4-0 start to the season.
“The biggest thing with our team defense is we are trying to stay between the ball and the basket — we have changed to a defense that really protects the lane and is not denying pass and being as disruptive,” Berg said. “Our overall size and length has allowed us to be very effective in this pack defense.”
The new defense has held all four opponents to 45 points or fewer while limiting them to 30 percent shooting.
“The big thing we try to focus on is forcing contested perimeter jump shots,” Berg said. “We try to keep the ball in front of us and on the perimeter. Most of our turnovers now come from teams basically dribbling into our help defense or tipping a pass once the dribble has been stopped.”
The Tigers stayed perfect with a 54-42 victory over Rosemount Friday night at Tiger Gym.
The home team held a 28-25 lead at the break, then extended their advantage to double figures in the opening minutes of the second half. The Irish managed just 17 points in the second half, and leading scorer Rachel Hoeppner was limited to 12 points.
Senior Taylor Meyer scored 14 of her game-high 18 points in the first half, including a buzzer-beating runner that pushed the Farmington lead to three.
Senior forward Jordan Bridges scored nine of her 11 points after halftime and hauled in 15 rebounds, helping the Tigers to a 40-25 edge on the glass.
Guards Paige Steele and Shelby Calhoun each added seven points and Elena Koch had four points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The Tigers surged to a 41-18 halftime advantage and never looked back in a 71-41 blowout over Hudson (Wis.) last Tuesday night at Tiger Gym.
The home team shot 51 percent from the floor, had 23 assists on 30 baskets and turned the ball over just eight times.
Meyer was 8 of 12 from the floor on her way to scoring a game-high 17 points. She also grabbed six boards and handed out four assists.
Elena Koch added 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and five blocked shots and Jordan Bridges helped out in the post with 12 points and six boards.
Jamie Kenealy tacked on nine points.
The Tigers hosted Lakeville South Tuesday night and are back in action Friday when they travel north to take on 0-4 Minneapolis Washburn.