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Boys basketball: Red Wing holds off rally, 72-71

Tyler Van Winkle dribbles the ball into the paint during a recent home game.

Red Wing narrowly avoided giving away another big second half lead to Farmington in Friday night’s second Missota Conference meeting of the season.

In the first clash back on Jan. 10, the Tigers fell behind by as many as 20 points before roaring back for a 69-64 triumph at Tiger Gym. The Wingers pulled ahead by as many as 12 points with six minutes to play in Friday’s rematch, and got some measure of revenge for the collapse a month earlier as Farmington missed three shots in the final minute of a 72-71 Red Wing victory.

“We knew they were going to be up for this game and we found out they were,” Farmington coach Shane Wyandt said. “It was a nice comeback again by our guys, but Red Wing just made a couple more plays this time around.”

The Tigers (15-7, 5-5) took their final lead on Zach Speikers’ mid-range jumper with 1:30 to go. Red Wing moved back in front with a lay-up on its next trip down the floor, and defended enough on its next two trips down the floor to force misses by Speikers and Nick Varner. Farmington got one more chance to win the game after a missed free throw, but Speikers’ half-court toss at the buzzer was just off the mark.

Eli Rockett led Farmington with 17 points and six rebounds. Speikers was right behind with 16 points and Varner had 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. Mac Bassett gave the visitors four in double figures with 12 points.

Johnny Dittman knocked down three three-pointers for all nine of his points.

The Tigers opened the week with one of their best games of the season. Rockett and Wyatt Ferm combined for 47 points in an 80-63 dismantling of third-place Chaska last Tuesday at Tiger Gym.

Rockett established himself in the paint and dropped in 25 points to go along with seven rebounds, while Ferm did his damage away from the basket, swishing five three-pointers en route to a career-high 22 points.

Speikers added 16 points and Varner scored eight while also grabbing 10 boards and handing out six assists.

“It was a really well-played game by our guys from start to finish – one of our more complete games we’ve played in a while,” Wyandt said. “We had a few defensive breakdowns early but made some adjustments and I think really played well from there. Offensively, we played much looser than we have been and executed much better in the half court. We had our inside game working early which sparked the rest of our game.”

The Tigers hosted New Prague on Tuesday and are back at Tiger Gym tomorrow night against Holy Angels. The regular season concludes next week with league games against Northfield and Chanhassen.