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Farmington earns decisive sweep of Gentry teams

The Farmington clubs had little trouble handling Gentry.

By Steve Andrews | Photos by Sadie Rucker

FARMINGTON — It was a co-main event in Farmington on Tuesday night, as both the boys and girls basketball teams continued their early-season rolls and dispatched Gentry in a pair of 1-4A Conference victories.

Farmington’s dominant forward Jenna Lawrence stole the early show, displaying why she is a coveted catch for the University of Arkansas. The 6-foot-3 junior poured in a game-high 21 points for the Lady Cardinals (21-1, 7-0) as they trudged to a 60-45 victory over the previously unbeaten Lady Pioneers (19-1, 6-1).

In the nightcap, Farmington’s boys had four players score in double-digits and created 18 steals on defense, as the Cardinals (20-1, 7-0) claimed a 68-36 win over Gentry (12-9, 2-4).

Farmington 68, Gentry 36 (BOYS)

After the Pioneers jumped out to a 4-2 lead two minutes into the game, Farmington put its pressure defense and fast-break offense in gear, outscoring Gentry 16-1 the remainder of the first quarter to take an 18-5 lead.

“Our team is all about effort, and if you are not giving all-out max effort then we are doing it wrong,” said senior Mateo Carbonel, who was the beneficiary of many of those fast-break buckets, finishing with 13 points, along with 10 rebounds and 5 assists. “We always like to set the pace to benefit ourselves, and tonight we tried to speed it up, and the harder it was for them to stop us.”

Sophomore Layne Taylor, who averages over 30 points a game, was held to just 15, but made the most of his shots. He hit back-to-back 3-pointers to begin the second quarter, then dished to teammate Sam Wells for an uncontested layup that put the Cardinals u 28-7 midway through the frame.

“Our kids always play really hard,” Farmington coach Johnny Taylor said. “The thing that makes me most proud as a coach, is that no matter who we put in, they go in and play hard and do a good job. Every kid got into tonight, and those kids did a lot of good things, too. I love that about our team.”

Gentry senior Bart Walker was able to keep adding to the Pioneers score, as he netted 8 of his team-high 15 points in the first half. But a pair of Taylor free throws and a layup by junior Caleb Blakely sent the Cardinals to the half with a 36-15 advantage.

“We try to speed up and press most of the teams that we play,” said Blakely, who tallied 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. “Tonight, we came out a little sluggish, with a lot of missed layups. But our pressure and forcing them to turn the ball over is what won us the game.”

Carbonel finished off a pair of fast breaks to bump the Farmington lead to 46-21 in the third quarter. Then the 6-foot-2 Blakely highlighted the four quarter with his fourth dunk of the season, on a break-away pass from Wells.

Coach Taylor is pleased with how his team has progressed to this point in the season but knows that they will need to continue to get better as the postseason looms.

“Our greatest competition is our complacency,” he said. “It’s where you must continue to get better, even when you’re beat yup a little bit. We’ve played 22 games now and we have to continue to get better and better. Every night, we must try to be the best version of ourselves, and not worry about who we are playing.”

The Cardinals will host rival Prairie Grove on Friday, while the Pioneers host rival Gravette.

Farmington 60, Gentry 45 (GIRLS)

The first half was a battle as Farmington clung to a 30-22 lead going into halftime. But the Lady Cardinals go rolling in the third, outscoring the Lady Pioneers, 12-2 in the frame.

Senior Carson Dillard knocked down a 3-pointer from the baseline, and Lawrence scored a putback off the glass. Sophomore Reese Shirey then dropped another three at the end of the third to put the Cardinals up, 44-24.

“Gentry is a really good ball team, and we knew that coming in,” Lady Cardinal coach Brad Johnson said. “They can shoot it, they got multiple kids who can score, so we knew we had our work cut out for us. But I though our kids did a good job defensively and were pretty efficient on offense.”

Junior guard Alyssa McCarty was the workhorse for the Lady Pioneer offense, as she collected a team-high 19 points, including a perfect 9 for 9 from the free throw line. McCarty scored on a layup, then knocked down three straight free throws to cut the Farmington lead to 44-29.

But Lawrence was just too much down the stretch, as she scored on a layup, then hit from three late in the game make it an 18-point lead.

“She’s such a mismatch, because she can do so many things,” Johnson said. “We moved her inside a bit tonight, but her ability to stretch defenses is really beneficial. She is also doing great things on the defensive end, blocking shots, changing shots, and just altering the game.

“We really wanted to play with great pace, and I think over the course of the game, that really played into our favor.”

Dillard finished with 17 points for the Lady Cardinals.

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