Several words come to mind when describing the Farmington girls basketball team's route of Rochester Mayo on Saturday, Dec. 9: disciplined; pressure; hustle; balance; a joy to watch. The Tigers doubled-up Mayo 66-33 to win their third straight game at home to start the season. With the win, they are 3-0 overall and start South Suburban Conference play this week with road games against Apple Valley and Rosemount.
Some themes you can take away from Farmington's victory over Mayo: they are very, very good. The Tigers are aggressive on the defensive end, jumping passing lanes, getting into guards' space and being generally disruptive. When they do force a turnover, which is often, it immediately becomes a fast break opportunity and they usually have a numbers advantage. Their offense is smooth, running through experienced guards and talented post players. They even run a high-low post offense and have the ability to do so effectively.
All of those aspects were on display against Mayo. The Tigers jumped out to a quick 14-3 lead midway through the first half and it probably should have been worse, as they failed to convert several layups early on. They extended that lead 31-8 with just a couple minutes left after harrying Mayo with an effective full-court press. Farmington led 37-12 at halftime and the game was pretty much over.
The second half was much like the first, with the added benefit of Farmington putting on a high-post, backdoor-cut clinic. The Tigers played 14 different girls in the game, 12 of them scored and they had three players in double-figures before the buzzer sounded on their 66-33 victory.
Surprisingly, head coach Liz Carpentier said it was not her team's best performance of the season.
"Playing against a 2-3 zone, the pace is a little different, I didn't think that we played very well in the first four or five minutes, we missed a ton of layups," she said, "but our shots started to go down, we did well rebounding and I thought we were good in transition."
Mayo's 2-3 zone did slow down Farmington's pace a little bit, but not nearly enough for a Tigers team that wants to get out and really run.
"We will always look to push the ball, just because we have so much athleticism that we can look to score that way, we're not going to walk it up the court," Carpentier explained.
Carpentier said that she was happy with how her team dominated the boards, their half-court defense and her offense's ability to get whatever shot they wanted. Despite the numerous positives, she did say there are some things they will need to work on as well.
"Crisper passing, pass-faking, hitting the open player right away," she said. "I thought it was good that we played against a 2-3 zone, the first two teams we played this season were all man (man-to-man defense)."
Carpentier also highlighted the play of several players.
"I thought (junior) Kaitlin Winston did a good job, especially on defense," she said. "I thought (freshman) Sophie Hart did a good job too, they both rebounded well. Molly (Mogensen, a sophomore) shot the ball well, she took high-percentage shots from the point guard position and just really got everybody involved. Morgan Ebel (sophomore) and Tarah DeCroock (senior), their outside shooting was timely."
Winston and Ebel both led Farmington with 11 points apiece. Mogensen added 10 points while DeCroock and Hart both added eight. Senior Ellie Clayton had four points while fellow seniors Christine Steffes and Lexi Laube each had three. Junior Abbie Clayton, freshmen Peyton Blandin and Paige Kindseth, and sophomore Katelyn Mohr all had two points each.
Farmington traveled to Apple Valley on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and then go to Rosemount on Friday, Dec. 15.