Farmington boys escape with a 43-42 victory against Central.
The Cape Girardeau Central High School boys basketball team saw its losing streak reach four.
But none of the defeats during that stretch was tougher to take than Thursday night's 43-42 setback to Farmington in the Tigers' home opener.
Undermanned Central gave second-year coach Drew Church the type of all-out effort he looks for.
The Tigers spent major parts of the contest diving on the floor for loose balls and taking charges, while displaying plenty of hustle and energy the entire way.
But a tough shot from just inside the free-throw line by Farmington junior Lance Miller at the buzzer sent the Tigers from elation to deflation.
"We wanted to make them take a bad shot and we did that," said Church, whose squad fell to 3-5. "You give them that shot. ... I don't know how many times it goes in.
"But I'm super proud of the effort. We are playing hard, that's the thing. We're going to have to play hard, diving on the floor, whatever it takes to win."
The Tigers played their third straight game without standout senior guard Jajuan Bell, who averaged more than 25 points through Central's first five contests.
Church said Bell remains suspended indefinitely for breaking "team rules."
Helping pick up the offensive slack against Farmington were senior guards Shane Nolen (13 points), Anthony Watts (12) and Chase Johnson (11).
Nolen scored 10 first-half points, while Watts had eight second-half points.
"They both played well," Church said.
Central started fast, building an 18-7 lead after one quarter. The Tigers went ahead 21-7 early in the second period and carried a 28-16 edge into the break.
Farmington (1-4) got back in the game by scoring the first 10 points of the third quarter and things remained tight thereafter.
Central led 33-28 after three periods, but Farmington went ahead for the first time midway through the final quarter.
The squads exchanged leads before Central went back up 42-41 on two Watts free throws with 33 seconds left.
Farmington used the rest of the clock, and for a while it appeared as if the Knights would not even get a shot off.
But Miller finally knifed into the lane and nailed a contested mid-range jumper as the buzzer sounded. Miller led the Knights with 14 points.
"He hit a tough shot," said Farmington assistant coach Brett Hale, a former Southeast Missouri State guard. "We've been in every game. It's nice to finally win one."
And not so nice for the Tigers, but Church remains positive about his team.
"Because they're giving it their all and doing the right things, success will find you at some point," Church said.
Farmington (43) -- Parks Peterson 9, Patrick Wulfers 1, Derek Franklin 3, Taylor Denman 9, Nick Baker 7, Lance Miller 14. FG 18, FT 2-6, F 17 (3-pointers: none. Fouled out: Franklin 1, Denman 3, Baker 1)
Central (42) -- Anthony Watts 12, Chase Johnson 11, Shane Nolen 13, Zach Boerboom 4, Garrett Pannier 2. FG 15, FT 11-17, F 8 (3-pointers: Watts 1. Fouled out: none)