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Boys basketball: Losing streak reaches seven

Farmington senior guard Justin Lavey drives around a North St. Paul defender during the second half of last week's 38-36 loss at Tiger Gym.

Coaches often talk about the importance of consistency when evaluating the play of their respective teams. Predictably, the first half of the 2009-10 season has been filled with inconsistency for the new-look Farmington boys basketball team.

The Tigers started out with two straight solid wins over Rochester John Marshall and a ranked Winona team in early December. They then dropped their next five, allowing an average of 76.2 points per game. The defense was noticeably better in the first game of the new year last Tuesday against North St. Paul, but the offense lagged in a 38-36 home loss. Coming off the program's lowest-scoring game since February of 2005, the Tigers were outscored 41-18 in the first half Friday at Wazyata before a strong second half where they outscored the Trojans 38-23 in an eventual 64-56 loss.

With their losing streak at seven games, things don't get any easier for the Tigers over the next two weeks as they square off against Hill-Murray, Chaska, Shakopee, Prior Lake and Owatonna.

"We are starting to see some improvement on defense but we are not doing things consistently," head coach Shane Wyandt said. "We must continue to improve on both ends of the floor.... This tough schedule should pay off later as long as we continue working and getting better."

Against Wayzata the Tigers were led by senior Justin Lavey's 16 points. Josh Ruthenbeck and Alex Michels stepped up with 14 and 13 points, respectively, and Kyle Winkelman added five points and eight assists.

Connor Duffy helped establish a 37-32 advantage on the boards with 10 rebounds. That rebounding helped the Tigers establish their fast break in the second half.

"When we rebounded well that led to our transition game, which is when we are at our best," Wyandt said.

With three starters injured, the pace was considerably slower in last Tuesday's 38-36 loss to North St. Paul.

The Tigers trailed 23-16 at the break and were still behind by 10 before they went on an 11-3 run in the final minutes. It was still a two point game when Farmington got the ball with 13 seconds left, but the Tigers missed three potential game-tying shots and a tip-in in the closing seconds.

Winkelman finished with 11 points, Duffy scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Alex Michels had five points and a team-high 11 rebounds.