FARMINGTON – The next month will be quite revealing as to how far Farmington has come – and far it can still go.
The Scorpions will leave the friendly confines of home for the first time this season for a long 11-game stretch.
First comes Saturday’s trip to defending 3A Colorado state champion Bayfield. Next will be the big gauntlet in the Eddie Peña Classic in Grants (featuring teams like Capital and Belen) and the Poe Corn Invitational in Roswell (featuring Artesia and Roswell), as well as a crucial 5A bout at Rio Rancho.
“I think it’ll test us, test our mental strength (to) see if we can push through it,” small forward Josh Goats said. “We’re really confident that we can go on the road and still play the way we’ve been playing at home.”
The Scorpions are aware the next month will be a tough one, but that it’s also an opportunity to really beef up its playoff resume and show how good they can be as the season winds down.
“I think it’d be huge to win those kind of games. I think it should be our goal to go whip them, just show them that Farmington is a lot better than people give us credit (for),” Goats said.
As much as Farmington’s 85-82 triple-overtime loss to Bloomfield stung, there were two important things the Scorpions (4-2) took away from it, specifically with the upcoming road trip in mind: hanging in there in tough times, as also closing out games in tough times.
“Even with 2.6 seconds left, it’s not quite over. You’ve got to finish that game,” coach Jay Collins said. “If we’re able to go out and get some big wins like that (coming up), it would be great for our program. But it’s going to be tough.”
Farmington’s already demonstrated immense promise during its first six games at Scorpion Arena.
In its four victories during that stretch, the Scorpions pulled away in the third quarter by taking the defensive pressure up a notch. FHS is getting big deflections and forcing turnovers on the baseline and in the outer passing lanes.
“I think (pressing) really helps wear down teams, especially in late-game moments,” Goats said. “It’s been really good to just see us grinding and just making sure that no matter what, we’re always giving it 100 percent, because you never know whenever you can get a loose ball.”
Entering Thursday night, FHS allowed just 49.6 points per games. However, it surrendered an average of just 18.6 points in the second half alone.
That’s one silver lining in this first bit of the season Farmington hopes will carry over during the next 11 games.
“If you look at our games, the third quarter’s been really good to us. We’ve really been able to impose our will, in most games, in the second half,” Collins said.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.