The Farmington High School gymnasium was the site of two big comebacks last night, but both fell just short as the the Farmington boys' basketball team fell in their home opener to the Chanhassen Storm 69-64. After trailing by double-digits for a significant portion of the first half, the Tigers cut the Storm's lead to just three and went into halftime down 39-32. In the second half, Farmington played much better and actually outscored Chanhassen after being down 59-46 with eight minutes left. The Tigers cut it to a one-point game with under 30 seconds left but were unable to get a basket and Chanhassen hit their free throws to end the game at 69-64. Farmington falls to 1-1 and they travel to Minnetonka next Tuesday, Dec. 11. They start South Suburban Conference play on Dec. 18 at Apple Valley.
It was a rough start for the Tigers as they struggled with turnovers (which they did all game) and Chanhassen used those turnovers to get out to a 19-5 lead. Farmington then went to a full-court press and managed to cut the Storm's lead to 27-20 with seven minutes left in the first half. The Tigers were ice cold from 3-point range for much of the game except for back-to-back 3s from senior Graham Hertaus. This cut the Chanhassen lead to three but that was as close as Farmington could get and the score at halftime was 39-32.
There were three main areas that Farmington needed to improve upon going from the first to the second half. They had to cut down on the turnovers, which for most part they did. They needed to cut down on fouling which was a mixed bag of results due to the end of game situation. Finally, they needed to hit more of their 3s compared to their amount of attempts as the Tigers lack the size to have a significant post presence. It was that last bit that helped them make another comeback in the second half.
Farmington got off to another slow start in the second half as Chanhassen extended their lead to 46-35 a couple minutes in and then to 59-46 with eight minutes left. However, from there sophomore Isaac Ask sparked a second comeback with two 3-pointers and another basket in succession while Hertaus added a few more big shots. After that senior Miles Mendes, who had trouble getting going in the first half along with some offensive fouls, asserted himself and his outstanding athleticism to routinely go to the basket and finish. With 25 seconds left and down by one, the Tigers got the ball after Chanhassen missed the front end of a one-and-one. However, they turned the ball over and were forced to foul. This time the Storm made both free throws to lead by three with 20 seconds left. Farmington turned the ball over again the next time down the floor and Chanhassen won 69-64.
"We just started to play toward what I think we are capable of," head coach Tharen Johnson said about the comeback in the second half. "The first two-thirds of the game we just turned the ball over way too much, I think we had close to 20 turnovers and you just can't win doing that against good teams and they're a good team."
"They play a little bit different type of defense than we do, going against it is a little different," he said about their offensive struggles. "But we repped it in practice so it shouldn't have been a surprise. We have veterans guys and they're not making plays they're capable of and that's the disappointing part right now," he said.
Johnson did praise the defense outside of the foul situation.
"I thought our defense wasn't too bad, we fouled too much and I think they got to the line close to 30 times," he said. "But when we weren't fouling we were playing pretty good defense."
Mendes led the Tigers with 15 points, eight of which came in the second half. Hertaus was right behind him with 14 including four 3s, Ask added 10 points (most of which came from in that one stretch in the second half), senior Jameson Shrum contributed eight points and both senior Alijah Moe and sophomore Jake Cochnauer had six.