The Van-Far Indians boys basketball team fought hard for a “W” last week at home after a solid third quarter paced them to a 55-42 victory over South Shelby.
Van-Far made 19-of-28 free throws, led by John Gerdeman making 9-of-10.
“We talked in the locker room before the game about protecting ‘our house’ and how we needed to learn how to win and learn how to finish ball games,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway. “We also told the boys South Shelby is a quality program and a quality team and we really need a win over a quality team to start building our confidence. We talked about keeping it simple and talked about breaking the game down into four to eight minute segments. Finally we discussed keeping our hands to ourselves and to quit making bad fouls. Tonight we played with a lot of heart and hustled to every loose ball.”
Connaway noted that his team had three previous games in which they were within four or five points with four minutes left but were unable to finish the game. Against South Shelby, his Indians played all four quarters.
“It was great for the kids to get a quality win and to get one at home in front of a good crowd,” he added.
The Indians traded baskets with the Cardinals in the first half and managed to hold a slim 26-25 halftime lead. The Indians took over the game in the second half by outscoring South Shelby 29-17 in the win. Nick Barnes led the Indians with 17 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and two assists while Gerdeman had 14 points, 12 rebounds, and one steal.
Sharrod Connor tallied 10 points, four rebounds, five assists, and one steal; Wyatt McDowell had seven points, one rebound, and one steal; Kyle Decker added four points, 13 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals; and Lucas Robinson had three points, one assist, and one steal.
On Monday, December 16, Van-Far was defeated on the road against the Elsberry Indians, 65-48.
Elsberry started out the first quarter strong by putting up 19 points to take an early 19-12 lead.
While Van-Far scored 15 points in the second, Elsberry scored 22 to increase their lead, 41-27.
Van-Far’s defense and offense heated up in the third quarter as they put up 12 points, while Elsberry was limited to just six points scored.
In the fourth, Elsberry came out strong and scored 18 points. The Indians scored nine points, but were unable to overcome the deficit.
Leading scorers were Barnes with 23 points and six rebounds. Gerdeman scored 10 points and 10 rebounds. Robinson and Connor each scored six points and four rebounds. Trenton DeTienne scored two points and Michael Colson scored one point.
“We have got to be a lot smarter on defense and we have got to stop fouling and start controlling the boards better,” Connaway said. “We know our numbers are low, but we have got to be able to finish ball games. All three of our losses have ended up by double figures, but all of them have been close half way through the fourth quarter. People who weren’t at the game look at the final score and see a 17 point loss, and think they blew us out when in reality it was tight most of the game. There is a lot of fight in this young group and we will keep getting better each and every night out.”