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Girls basketball: Not quite enough

Early deficits came back to haunt the Farmington girls basketball team in a pair of games last week.

Trailing early against quality teams didn't help matters.

In a 64-56 loss at home to Lakeville South and a 51-41 loss at Rochester John Marshall, the Tigers were never able to finish off spirited comebacks.

"I think our kids walked away from those two games knowing we can compete with good teams," Farmington coach Jason Berg said. "We would not be afraid to play John Marshall again."

Going in, the Tigers knew a matchup with John Marshall was going to be tough. The Rockets won 20-plus games last year and only lost one player from that squad heading into this season. Getting down early against a team like that doesn't usually end in victory.

"They are picked to win their conference and win the section," Berg said.

Farmington trailed by 11 points midway through the first half, but battled back to cut the deficit to five points at halftime, 26-21. In the second half, John Marshall was able to maintain its lead, typically with the margin just three to six points.

Taylor Meyer led the Tigers with 14 points in the game, on 5-for-10 shooting. But shooting would be the key for Farmington down the stretch.

"We were just unable to make a big basket to get it below three points," Berg said. "We played well, only turned it over nine times and forced them into 24 turnovers. We probably got better shots than they did, we just did not shoot well."

Kirstee Rotty scored eight points for the Tigers. Elena Koch had five points and a team-high 11 rebounds.

Against Lakeville South, Farmington would again find itself in a close game late. But it was much the same story in the end.

The Tigers trailed 36-23 at halftime but closed to within a basket late. Again Farmington couldn't find the equalizer.

"We struggled in the first half with how they were defending us. They were physical and did not let us penetrate easily," Berg said. "We settled for too many contested shots. In the second half, the kids did a nice job of adjusting to how they were being defended. We spread the floor better and were able to take advantage of our quickness."

Rotty scored a team-high 18 against Lakeville South. Meyer added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Tanna Howie chipped in with 10 points.

"Tanna Howie did a nice job off the bench knocking down two 3-pointers when we made our run," Berg said.

Jamie Kenealy scored eight points.

The Tigers then had a bit of a break. They return to action tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 19 at Owatonna. They play again Saturday at Ellsworth before taking part in the Apple Valley holiday tournament from Dec. 27-30.