SPRINGDALE -- Farmington's quest for a state title shot began with a 66-49 win over a quality opponent, Class 3A traditional power Greenland, on Friday at Springdale Har-Ber's Slim Chickens tournament.
Makenna Vanzant scored 24 points. Madisyn Pense added 15, Alexis Roach, 14; and Trinity Johnson, daughter of head coach Brad Johnson, 9, as the Lady Cardinals dictated the pace and hit eight 3-point shots.
"Transition-wise early we got out and got some easy buckets. That always builds confidence when you're trying to establish some stuff early in the season," Brad Johnson said. "We hit some shots pretty quickly from the perimeter, as well; and all that stuff is huge for us and kind of gets us going."
The Lady Cardinals took a 17-12 first quarter lead, then used an 11-4 run over the first 2:10 of the second quarter to stretch that into a double digit 28-16 advantage on Alexis Roach's putback. Farmington closed out the period outscoring the Lady Pirates by a 14-10 margin getting transition buckets from Roach on a Trinity Johnson's assist to complete a 2-on-1 fast-break opportunity, Makenna Vanzant's coast-to-coast finish after rebounding, Trinity Johnson's steal and lay-in, another Roach layup and one more easy bucket by Trinity Johnson running the floor and taking Vanzant's outlet.
Greenland coach Alan Barton noted Farmington wasn't at full strength. Junior center Joelle Tidwell and sophomore Tori Kersey attended Thanksgiving events with their families elsewhere.
"I don't know if we gave them challenges, Brad's got a loaded team and speed does hurt; and they clearly showed that they were faster than we were," Barton said. "I thought we played good in the half-court. When you're playing a team that's got six legit players and three of them weren't here today, we gave what we could."
Greenland countered with the play of 5-9 center Fiona Wilson, who scored 7 of the Lady Pirates' last 9 points of the period. Vanzant had the last word in the first half, knocking down a trifecta at the buzzer to keep Farmington's lead at 16 points. The Lady Cardinals led 42-26 at the half.
Farmington managed only 3 points by Vanzant midway through the third until senior guard Madisyn Pense involved herself in the running game. Pense passed off on a run-out to Roach, who finished the break. After Vanzant hit a short jumper, Pense took a long rebound and went all the way to the bucket for a layup. Pense nailed a 3-pointer in the last minute of the quarter. Greenland point guard Destiny Jackson scored 7 points in the third including a 3-pointer, but the Lady Pirates trailed 54-35 at the end of the quarter.
"They've got tradition and Greenland is a very good basketball team. They're not scared of anybody," Brad Johnson said. "They're very well-coached and they've got two extremely dynamic scorers and they're just a load to try to deal with and they're really going to test you defensively. They can shoot it. They can attack the basket. So, we knew coming in that we got our work cut out for us being able to try to control those kids and we didn't. I mean, they scored 48 points between the two of them; but I thought we did enough in transition, we got enough defensive rebounds at times to maybe get us a comfortable lead and do our best to king of hang on."
Roach caused problems on the defensive end of the court, getting a hand on the ball to create turnovers by causing jump-balls and mixing it up.
"(She's) a very strong player, the thing that Alexis brings to us is athleticism and physical strength," Brad Johnson said. "She is a tremendous defender. Most of the year she is going to draw probably the toughest defensive assignment when we're in our man. She's just active. She's going to stick her nose in. She's going to get rebounds. She's going to get on the floor after loose basketballs; and it's a difficult thing to guard the other team's best player and then to lead the transition."
Roach accomplished that by sprinting downcourt. Seven seconds after Jackson scored a twisting, driving layup; Roach laid the ball in at the other end keeping Farmington's margin at 36-21 at the 2:05 mark of the second quarter.
"Vanzant, I thought was the same way. She had to guard their lead guard, then run our offense, and handle some scoring load on her own, as well," Brad Johnson said. "So, those two kids got really tested defensively tonight as did all of our team. We got good film on it. We'll break that stuff down. We'll look at it, make some corrections and get ready to come play tomorrow against Pulaski Academy."
"I will take my team and we'll do our two girls and the standing things. As long as we compete hard that's all you can ask for," Barton said.
Tidwell and Kersey attended family events elsewhere during Thanksgiving.
"They're out of town for the holiday, we'll have Kersey back tomorrow," Brad Johnson said. "Tidwell won't be back until the end of the week, but we'll have her when we play Huntsville next week."
Farmington 66, Greenland 49
Greenland^12^14^9^14 -- 49
Farmington^17^25^12^12 -- 66
Greenland (3-3): Fiona Wilson 11 5-5 27, Destiny Jackson 9 2-4 21, Fanning 0 1-2 1. Totals 20 8-10 49.
Farmington (1-0): Makenna Vanzant 9 2-4 24, Madisyn Pense 6 0-0 15, Alexis Roach 7 0-0 14, Trinity Johnson 4 0-0 9, Audrey Culpepper 1 0-0 2. Totals 27 2-4 66.
Greenland -- 1 (Jackson). Farmington -- 8 (Vanzant 4, Pense 3, Johnson).Sports on 11/28/2018
Print Headline: Farmington's Quest Underway