21 January 2014

Boys B-Ball: Tigers make it seven out of eight

Zach Speikers 37 points (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Farmington matched its win total of all last season with an 89-79 non-conference victory over Spring Lake Park in a fast-paced, entertaining game played Tuesday night at Tiger Gym.

The triumph boosted the Tigers' season mark to 14-3. Coach Shane Wyandt's team is 4-1 in Missota Conference play heading into Friday night's road showdown at Chanhassen.

"They (Spring Lake Park) are a tough match-up for us," Wyandt said. "They like to get the ball out and shoot the three. If you get caught up in that game and they are shooting the ball well, they're tough to beat.

"I thought we played with a lot of savvy and didn't panic when they started off so hot. They beat us on the glass in the first half, but we locked down defensively and hit the boards in the second half. That's what turned it around for us."

Both teams lit up the scoreboard in a back-and-forth opening half which ended in a 43-43 draw.

The first 18 minutes featured several outstanding individual efforts with Zach Speikers and Eli Rockett scoring 17 and 15 points respectively for the Tigers, numbers still below the 20 put up by the Panthers' talented point guard  TC Robinson.

"We had a hand in his face most of the half," Wyandt said, "but he was still knocking down the shots. He's a very good player."

Farmington started the half on a 14-5 run that included a one-handed dunk by Rockett off a Johnny Dittman lob. After the throw down, the Tigers never lost the lead.

The biggest lead of the night came at 67-54 and the margin stayed at or near double digits the rest of the way. The Tigers nailed down the win by hitting 10 of 12 free throws down the stretch.Farmington helped itself from the line all night, cashing in on 29 of 37 attempts, 20 of the makes coming in the second half.

Nick Varner 14 points, 15 rebounds (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Speikers had another big second half for the winners with 20 more points for a game total of 37. Rockett finished with 19 points and seven rebounds. Nick Varner added 14 and pulled down a team-high 15 boards. Mac Bassett added eight rebounds and Dittman handed out a half dozen assists.

Robinson went off for 21 second half points and grabbed game scoring honors with 41 points.

The win was especially rewarding for Wyandt, who played high school ball and coached at Spring
 Lake Park under current coach Grant Guzy.

"We've beaten them the past two years, but every time we play them it seems to be shootout," Wyandt said. "They are very well-coached team."

After Friday's big game at Chanhassen the Tigers return to Tiger Gym next Tuesday to host league-leading Shakopee.