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Boys basketball: Tigers upset No. 10 JM, move to 3-0

The Farmington boys basketball team improved to 3-0 for the first time since the 2007 season with a 79-69 upset on the road at 10th-ranked (Class 4A) Rochester John Marshall last Thursday night.

The Tigers inched ahead 38-30 by halftime, but the Rockets came back to tie the game at 49-49 early in the second half. It was still tied at 62-62 when Johnny Dittman knocked down a three-pointer to spark a late 13-0 run that put the visitors back in control.

“It was a very nice early-season win for us. The kids were ready and excited for the opportunity,” Farmington coach Shane Wyandt said. “I really liked our effort from start to finish as that was certainly our most complete game of the year.”

Dittman’s three was the Tigers’ lone long-range shot of the game, but they made up for it by running a patient offense and producing plenty of high-percentage shots in the paint. Eli Rockett dropped in a season-high 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, Mac Bassett scored 20 points and grabbed four boards and Nick Varner earned his second double-double in three outings with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The Tigers out-rebounded the Rockets 40-28, made 22 free throws and had 16 assists on 28 baskets.

“I thought they were much better decision-makers in this game. We kept talking about playing fast, but not in a hurry, and I think last night was a good example of that,” Wyandt said. “We pushed our pace on them most of the night, but didn’t take bad shots off the break. We were also content at taking our time in the half court sets.”

Dittman provided a team-high five assists. Fellow guard Zach Speikers scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds and Tyler VanWinkle (seven rebounds) and Jordan DeCroock (two rebounds, three steals, two blocked shots) contributed off the bench.

The Tigers opened the week with another victory in Rochester. They took on Mayo last Tuesday and outscored the Spartans 44-27 in the second half en route to an easy 81-54 final.

Speikers scored a game-high 20 points and added five rebounds and five assists. He was one of 11 Farmington players to get in the scoring column.

Rockett scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Varner hauled in 13 boards and dished out nine assists. Bassett chipped in with 11 points and Dittman, Varner and Wyatt Ferm scored seven points apiece.

Mayo scored the first six points of the game before the Tigers went on a 37-10 run.

The Tigers faced their toughest challenge of the young season Tuesday when they hosted fourth-ranked Lakeville North. The team is back at Tiger Gym tonight against Rochester Century.

“(The John Marshall game) was a nice step forward and now we must take another step against Lakeville North,” Wyandt said. “It’s early so we still have to keep things in perspective and keep working and improving.”