FREDERICKTOWN – When the Farmington Knights found their offensive attack suppressed in the first half at Fredericktown on Friday, they turned to an active defense for a needed spark.
Farmington forced 10 turnovers during a sudden turnabout in the third quarter, and converted nearly all of them into points before holding on down the stretch for a pivotal 59-54 conference road win.
The Blackcats successfully passed the basketball inside for close shots while consistently denying the Knights’ entry passes in the first half. However, when senior point guard Mike Francis left the game with three fouls in the opening minute of the third quarter, the Blackcats failed to handle the relentless swarming pressure of the Knights.
Fredericktown (8-7) scored on backdoor passes to Jake Clauser and Levi Hawkins to draw Farmington (9-8) away from the perimeter, then Dustin Bess drilled a pair of open three-pointers to give the home team a 16-10 lead at the close of the opening quarter.
The Knights got a steal and layup from Matt Usherwood and a pair of free throws from Jake Baechle to make it a two-point game, but Clauser responded with two straight layups and Francis buried a jumper to restore a previous eight-point spread.
Farmington repeatedly made its way to the free-throw line in the first half, but cashed in on just 9-17 attempts. After Dwayne Glaspy scored with a strong finish to make it 25-19, the half closed with a wild exchange of turnovers.
Josh Taylor helped the Knights strike first in the decisive third quarter with a three-point shot from the left corner. Taylor followed a steal and layup from Jake Baechle with another clutch triple to promptly put Farmington ahead.
Eli Skaggs evened the score at 29-29 with a baseline jumper for the Blackcats, but Farmington continued its surge with an 11-0 run to take complete control of the contest.
Deon Glaspy began the pull-away with another three-pointer, and transition layups by Parks Peterson and Baechle capped it, quickly widening the margin to 40-29. The Knights outscored the Blackcats 23-6 during the third period.
Fredericktown tried to threaten on several occasions in the fourth quarter, but Farmington answered each time. Francis cut the deficit to single digits with a slashing layup along the baseline, but Baechle countered with an equally aggressive drive at the other end to make it 48-38 with 2:17 left.
Bess knocked down two long triples and Francis drained another late in the action for the Blackcats, but Baechle calmly sank 6-6 free throws during the same juncture to seal the win for Farmington.
Baechle tallied a team-high 15 points for the Knights. Usherwood posted 14 points and nine rebounds, and Taylor eclipsed double figures with 12 points.
Bess made four three-pointers in the contest and matched Francis for top scoring honors on the Fredericktown side with 16 points. Hawkins contributed eight points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Farmington, now 2-0 in MAAA Large-School division play, will host Potosi next Friday. Fredericktown will face a non-conference road challenge at South Iron on Tuesday.
Farmington 10 9 23 17 – 59
Fredericktown 16 9 6 23 – 54
Farmington – Baechle 15, Usherwood 14, Taylor 12, Dw Glaspy 7, De Glaspy 7, Peterson 2, Owens 1, Massie 1.
Fredericktown – Bess 16, Francis 16, Hawkins 8, Clauser 6, Williams 4, Skaggs 2, Stapfer 2.
3-point FG – Bess 4, Taylor 3, Francis, De Glaspy.