FHS off to 5-9 start after winning 26 games last year

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FARMINGTON — As much as the Farmington boys basketball team yearns to be relevant come playoff time, the Scorpions are learning to be patient, as well.

Farmington lost seven seniors, including second-team All-State forward David Riley, from last year’s 26-win team, and a less experienced group had to step up quickly. So far, it’s been a rough road for the Scorps, who are 5-9 this season.

"We knew we were going to have some big growing pains this year," coach Paul Corley said. "First year, you have your reservations, how they're going to react. It's kind of new territory for the whole group."

Last year, Farmington handled many opponents easily and displayed a penchant for closing out some key games, winning by an average score of 14.1 points a game.

But this year, the Scorpions are struggling to get their offense going, averaging only 49.6 points a game. Although they're giving up just 55.6 points a game, they're having some trouble locking down outside shooters.

FHS is also turning the ball over too often, giving up a few too many transition buckets in the process.

"Some of the younger kids still have those moments. It's just kind of a shuffling process every game," Corley said. "It's a big difference between JV basketball and when you go to varsity basketball. It's just a quicker game, smarter players, more athleticism. It's a big adjustment for all the younger kids."

Although Farmington has won a few games this year by 15-plus points, the Scorpions have dropped some games by that margin, as well.

Some returning players were a bit taken back by the slow start, but understood the circumstances.

“It’s brand new (to the younger players). They’re playing in a bigger environment, more fans. It brings pressure, but they’re starting to learn how to handle the pressure now,” senior forward Jacob Brown said. “Patience is key with this group. They lack experience, but they’re showing what they’re working for.”

Brown said he was encouraged that the newcomers, including sophomores Keyshawn Pete and Isiah Charles, got plenty of exposure to tougher foes like Española Valley, Capital and Roswell, during tournament action in Grants and Roswell last month.

Brown is convinced that experience will pay off for the team as the latter part of the season unfolds.

“They’re turning the ball over less (since then). They’ve absorbed (the experience of) playing against those good teams, how it feels,” Brown said. “They’re learning how to manage both the pressure from the fans, and they’re learning how to intake it on the court. They’re not going all crazy with the ball when they’re on the court.”

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.

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