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Farmington girls' basketball goes 1-2 at St. Olaf

The Farmington Tigers girls' basketball team competed in the Holiday Hoops Classic held at St. Olaf College Dec. 28-30. The Tigers faced their toughest competition of the season so far as they went 1-2 in the tournament, where they beat Providence Academy handily and fell to Beaver Dam (Wis.) and Grand Rapids.

The tournament losses brought an end to their undefeated season and they are now 8-2 overall (3-0 and tied for first in the South Suburban).

Heading into the tournament, Farmington had won three SSC matchups and another non-conference game against Edina. Head coach Liz Carpentier said that her team was playing some of its best basketball heading into the Holiday Hoops Classic.

"When starting the South Suburban Conference and playing three conference games, we have really been playing solid team defense," she explained. "Outside of the Prior Lake game, we have always locked down on defense and the biggest part of that has been defensive rebounding. We are hitting the boards well and limiting teams to one shot. On offense, we are sharing the basketball and playing unselfish. Our team has seen success when we get everyone involved in scoring and we have multiple players that can step up and score on any given night."

Carpentier said that a significant part of the team's success has been the play of underclassmen, especially the freshmen.

"Sophie Hart has been a fantastic presence in the paint, both offensively and defensively," she said. "The guard play of Paige Kindseth and Peyton Blandin is progressing. The other positive has been the consistent play of sophomore Morgan Ebel—she has been scoring consistently and a leader on the floor."

The Tigers fell 55-37 to Beaver Dam, defending state champions across the border. Farmington trailed by only four at the end of the first half 26-22, but then was outscored by 14 in the second half.

Senior Ellie Clayton led Farmington in scoring and was the only one in double-figures with 11 points.

"We played well defensively but shot poorly and were not patient on offense," Carpentier said about the game.

They then took on Grand Rapids, who are ranked fifth in class 3A, and Carpentier said her team struggled to take care of the ball in the 56-47 loss.

"We definitely need to get better at taking care of the basketball," she said. "We are not always making the best decisions with the basketball. Going forward, if we are going to be successful, we need to get better at executing offensively and it starts with being disciplined. It finally caught up with us versus Grand Rapids — we turned the ball over 21 times and lost."

Sophomore Molly Mogensen had a breakout game with 18 points for Farmington, followed by Clayton who had seven.

Farmington ended the tournament on a high note with a blowout 56-36 win over Providence Academy. Clayton and Hart each had 12 points, Mogensen added 10 and Kindseth contributed seven.

Carpentier emphasized the need for her team to play consistently at a high level and said that the Holiday Hoops Classic was an important experience, as the very good teams helped expose areas that the Tigers will need to work on in the future.

Heading into the tournament, Farmington was ranked ninth in class 4A. They will to Lakeville South on Friday, Jan. 5.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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