FARMINGTON – Last year’s girls Class 4, District 2 basketball tournament will be remembered for its wild unpredictability after lowest seed Potosi walked away with the championship plaque.
Farmington would be delighted to avoid any such surprises atop the bracket this week, and opened with a performance worthy of a leading contender on Monday night.
Four starters tallied double figures before departing with a big lead after the third quarter, and the top-seeded Knights cruised past Hillsboro for a 65-43 semifinal victory.
Senior guards Alyson Tucker and Emily Greif bookended a perfect 4-of-4 start from the field by sinking 3-pointers, and the tournament host squad was never threatened.
Zoe Johns posted 14 points and eight rebounds for Farmington (16-10), which advanced to face MAAA Large-School rival North County in the title game Friday at 6 p.m.
Macey Pauls produced 12 points with four steals, and Tucker collected seven rebounds plus five steals while matching Greif with 10 points each.
Johns caught a lob pass and scored to cap an opening 15-3 run, and the Knights operated with a crisp pace by sharing the ball well at all five positions.
Junior forward Kelsey Boyd totaled a game-high 17 points and six rebounds for Hillsboro (13-14), which could not overcame 12 first-half turnovers.
Boyd sank two straight jumpers exactly where she received passes, then drained a 3-pointer to keep the Lady Hawks within 26-16 in the second quarter.
But a triple from Tucker provided an immediate answer on a kickout pass from Johns. Tucker dished to Claire Busse and Greif for baskets on subsequent possessions.
Pauls triggered an inbounds play, and drilled a 3-pointer after catching the return pass along the right side as Farmington surged into halftime with a 38-21 advantage.
The Knights continued to push the tempo in the third quarter. Pauls drove end to end to score after grabbing a rebounds, and Greif notched steal and assist to Tucker on an ensuing fast break.
Johns banked in two shots from the post, and McKenna Moore increased her game total to nine points off the bench with a couple of field goals as the margin swelled to 60-31.
Senior guard Carlie Sanders emerged with 12 points after halftime, and secured five steals in her final varsity game for Hillsboro. She signed in November to play Division I softball with Boston College after breaking the state record for home runs in a single season.
Sanders opened the fourth quarter with a second-chance three plus another basket on a quick steal. The Lady Hawks enjoyed a 12-5 scoring edge over the last eight minutes.
Kaylee Wooldridge claimed six rebounds and Baylee Gilliam brought down five more during the final stanza for Farmington, which seeks its first district crown since 2011.
Matt King is the sports editor for the Daily Journal. Contact him at email@example.com