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Girls basketball: Section upset bid falls short at Rochester

The Farmington girls basketball team was four minutes away from pulling off a big upset against Rochester Mayo in last Wednesday's Section 1AAAA tournament opener.

The Tigers committed some costly fouls and turnovers down the stretch and saw a six-point lead disappear in the final four minutes as the second-seeded Spartans advanced with a 47-42 victory in Rochester.

"It was a great game. We had it within our grasp," said Farmington coach Sondra Chadwick, whose team finished 6-20 in her first year at the helm. "The team played outstanding defense in the game. They pressured the ball in the backcourt, and we clogged up the lane, holding their two leading scorers to only six points in the first half. Once we got into foul trouble in the second half, though, some of that defensive intensity let up."

Mayo post player Lauren Ulsh did the bulk of her damage in the second half, scoring 16 of her team-high 18 points as Farmington standout Taylor Meyer was in and out of the game with foul trouble.

Meyer, a University of Minnesota Duluth recruit, scored 12 points in the first half and finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in her final game as a Tiger. She closes her career third in program history with 1,301 points despite missing the first 10 games of this season with a knee injury.

Seniors Isis Alexander and Mariah Mincke added 11 and eight points, respectively, in their final games. Freshman Sofia Chadwick contributed another solid all-around floor game with nine points, four assists and four steals.

In all, the Tigers lose seven seniors from this year's team that finished seventh in the Missota Conference at 4-10. For coach Chadwick, the team's improvement after an 0-9 start is what she will remember the most.

"Although I am competitive, I have never liked to define success solely by wins and losses. And this season is a perfect example of why," she said. "These girls have dramatically improved from the start of the season. They showed that they were resilient and throughout the course of the season they became a competitive team."

Chadwick hopes the team can carry over its second-half success into next season. She figures her group of returning guards will once again allow the team to pressure the ball on the defefensive end and push the pace on offense.

"I am looking forward to picking up the tempo -- being able to play at a fast-paced speed and focus on full-court defensive pressure," she said. "We were not able to do that as much this season as I would have liked. But we have a lot of athletic and fast kids coming up."