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Girls basketball: Turnovers prove costly in losses to Shakopee, Prior Lake

A combined 39 turnovers overshadowed stretches of well-played basketball for Farmington last week.

The Tigers got sloppy with the ball and saw their lead disappear over the final eight minutes of last Tuesday's 53-42 home loss to Shakopee. Things got worse on Friday night when a 14-point second half turned a five-point lead over sixth-ranked (Class 4A) Prior Lake into a 64-42 Missota Conference setback.

"The common thread would be taking care of the ball," coach Jason Berg said.

The Tigers had played what Berg considered his team's best half of basketball this season in the first half at Prior Lake, committing just four turnovers and holding the 11-5 Lakers to 23 points. But the combination of several defensive letdowns and 12 turnovers allowed the home team to put up 41 points over the final 18 minutes.

"We played great in the first half, really dominated play. We got more shots than they did, out-rebounded them and forced more turnovers than we had," he said. "In the second half we got loose with the ball, tried to force too many passes ... and did not do a good job of defending the drive as a team -- too many drives for easy baskets."

Meanwhile, the Tigers couldn't buy a basket. They shot 27 percent from the floor and failed to put a player in double figures. Taylor Meyer and Paige Steele each finished with nine points, Jamie Kenealy added eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds and Lauren McHenry and Shelby Calhoun each scored six points.

The Tigers shot 37 percent on their home court last Tuesday, but after overcoming a slow start they went scoreless over the final eight minutes in an 11-point loss to the Sabers.

"We really struggled at the beginning of the Shakopee game and dug a hole with turnovers," said Berg, whose team fought back to within 31-24 at the break. "We fought back to take the lead with eight minutes to go, but we didn't score the rest of the game and turned it over a bunch during that stretch."

Meyer finished with a team-high 11 points and Elena Koch added 10 points and nine rebounds. Steele tacked on eight points and snagged four boards.

Despite the pair of losses that dropped the Tigers to 7-6, Berg said he was pleased to see his team outplay a quality opponent for an entire half. Now he just wants them to extend that effort to the entire length of the game.

"We can really build off the first half of the Prior Lake game. We really outplayed a highly-ranked team on their court," he said. "We just need to keep working so we can sustain that over an entire game versus a really good team."

The Tigers resume their conference slate this week with home games against Northfield on Tuesday and Holy Angels on Friday.