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Girls basketball: Tigers take out Owatonna, fall to North in semifinals

The Farmington girls’ basketball team picked up its first section tournament win in several seasons last Wednesday before bowing out to Lakeville North in Saturday’s Section 1AAAA semifinals.

The Tigers finished the season with a record of 13-15. They improved seven wins after posting a 6-21 mark last winter.

“This team is fun to coach. We have outstanding leadership both on and off the court from our seniors and fantastic student-athletes who always put the team first,” Farmington coach Liz Carpentier said. “We have played our best basketball the last three weeks of the season, which is always a goal of a head coach. We made so much progress from a year ago.”

The Tigers turned in one of their best performances of the season in last Wednesday’s section opener against Owatonna when they avenged an earlier loss with a 54-48 road victory. Owatonna overcame a 12-point deficit to tie the score twice in the second half, but the Tigers never relinquished the lead.

“One of our team goals this season was to win at least one section game and make some progress in the playoffs,” Carpentier said. “We showed a lot of grit and resiliency.”

Ellie Clayton led the Tigers with 15 points and six rebounds. Sydney Blandin scored 12 points, Molly Mogensen scored 11 and handed out nine assists and Kaitlin Winston added 10 points and rejected four shots.

The Tigers hung within seven points going into halftime of Saturday’s semifinals against Lakeville North at Mayo Civic Center, but ended up falling 69-49.

“North has so many weapons offensively. We would make a big shot and they would come down and answer right back,” Carpentier said.

Mogensen led the Tigers with 14 points. Clayton scored 11 points and Winston grabbed 12 rebounds.

The Tigers expect to return all five starters and several role players next season.

“Both players and coaches have high expectations for next season,” Carpentier said. “We will continue to build off of showing mental toughness and having a winning mentality. My young players stayed the course through the ups and downs of a season and definitely started peaking at the right time … Our returning players will be hungry for more.”