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The Van-Far varsity boys basketball team held Paris to just six points in the second half of the club’s consolation championship game at the Madison Tournament, taking home some hardware with a 44-20 victory.
The Indians won the first quarter 12-7 in the first quarter and held a 18-14 lead over Paris at halftime. Van-Far pulled away in the third 10-4 and won the fourth quarter 16-2.
“We were really concerned about our match-up with Paris,” Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway.
“We had a significant size advantage but this also created some tough match-ups for us defensively. We wanted to go with our three big guys, which makes us better offensively — but does create more of a defensive challenge to us. We really struggled offensively and we let that affect our defense.”
Connaway said a halftime talk helped the Indians adjust offensive struggles in the first half to strengthen the club’s defensive intensity.
“We knew they struggled handling pressure and we did an excellent job of creating steals and getting to the basket in transition,” he said.
He said the team’s goal was to hold Paris to 35 points or less.
“I was really pleased with the way the boys kept working defensively, especially when you’re having trouble knocking down shots,” Connaway said. “We definitely let our defense create our offense. You know you are playing well when you only give up six points in the second half.”
Ethan Gooch, with six rebounds, and Brian Kurz, with 14 rebounds, led the Indians with 11 points each; Nick Barnes tallied nine points; Ryan Nelson had eight points with 16 rebounds; and Logan Boyd chipped in four points with eight rebounds.
“We did several things good today but this win definitely shows us we have a lot to work on,” Connaway said. “When you only shoot 22 percent from the field, have 30 offensive rebounds, shoot 12-of-30 from the free throw line, and still win by 24 points shows we are learning how to grind things out and find ways to win. It was very nice to come home with a trophy and hopefully we can keep up this momentum the rest of the way.”
Team play in what Connaway said was probably the greatest game of Gooch’s career led the Indians to victory in the squad’s second match-up against Wellsville on the season.
The game was played at the Madison Tournament Consolation Semifinals
The Indians led at halftime 35-17 and sealed the victory with a final score of 66-35.
“Tonight we played very well on both sides of the ball,” Connaway said. “We were really able to execute our offense and we hit the boards hard. We out-rebounded them by 27, (Nelson) and (Kurz) were very active on both sides of the floor.”
Kurz tallied a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds; Nelson also posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds; John Gerderman had 12 points; Gooch had eight points and seven rebounds with eight assists; Barnes had seven points; Boyd had two points; and Woodrow Jackson and Kyle Decker each chipped in one point in the win.
“(Gooch) really saw the floor well tonight and distributed the ball excellent. If the big guys didn’t miss some chippies inside, he would have had double digit assists. It was a well played team game and a great way to kick off the 2013 season,” Connaway said.