27 November 2013

Boys B-Ball: Off to a winning start

Nick Varner 13 points, 13 rebounds (file photo by Jim Lindquist)
Farmington shrugged off a shaky first half to score a 71-52 non-conference win over Hastings Tuesday night in Hastings.

Four Tigers scored in double figures in the season opener which saw the visitors out-point the Raiders 39-18 in the second half.

"At the end of the night we were where we wanted to be," Tiger coach Shane Wyandt, "but we have a lot of work to do. Too many turnovers, too many breakdowns. We can play a lot better."

The Tigers broke to an early lead but Hastings used a 9-0 run midway through the first half and hit the last shot of the opening period to take a 34-32 lead at intermission.

"Give credit to Hastings," Wyandt said. "They have a lot of guys back from last year and they are solid fundamentally. They dictated the tempo of the game in the first half and we can't afford to let that happen." 

The second half started poorly with the Raiders scoring the first four points of the second half before Farmington put together a 14-4 run to take control.

The Tigers took the lead for good at 43-42 on a pair of free throws by Eli Rockett with 12:10 to play and went on to outscore Hastings 27-10 the rest of the way.

"We got our transition going pretty well in the second half," Wyandt said. "When we do that, everything seems to pick up for us. Shooing, defense, energy, everything."

Eli Rockett 20 points, 8 boards (file photo by Jim Lindquist)
Rockett scored a team-high 20 points to pace the Farmington offense. Zach Speikers finished with 17 and Nick Varner and Mac Bassett chipped in with 13 apiece.

Varner made it a double-double with a game-high 13 rebounds and also dished out six assists. Bassett had six assists and a pair of steals.

The Tigers shot the ball well from the field (26 of 49 for 54 percent) but struggled at the free throw line, converting only 19 of 32 tries.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment came in the turnover department where Farmington's totaled 18 miscues, one more than Hastings.

"I don't know if it was first-game jitters or what," Wyandt said, "but we have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball."

The Tigers continue their string of non-conference games against Section 1 competition  next week with a pair of trips to Rochester. Tuesday they take on Mayo and Thursday they travel to John Marshall.