The Van-Far varsity boys basketball squad fed off the electric atmosphere of Van-Far’s first annual “Pink Out” in the team’s final home game of the season for a 44-37 Senior Night Victory over Wellsville.
“The seats were filled and the crowd and students were electric and the boys really fed off of them in the first half,” Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway said. “We were able to build a 10-point lead early in the second and were able to maintain our double-digit lead the entire game.”
With Brian Kurz’s return to the Indians’ line-up, the squad received some extra pep in its seven-point win over the Tigers.
“We played solid defense and moved the ball well on the offensive end,” Connaway said. “We didn’t shoot the ball the best, but we got really good looks and moved the ball inside and out.”
Van-Far took an early lead with Gooch’s three pointer to open the Indians’ scoring with a second three-pointer late in the first quarter from Nick Barnes for a 10-5 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Indians opened the second quarter with a 5-0 run before the Tigers responded with a 6-0 run of their own. The squads went nearly bucket for bucket to close the half with the Indians up 25-15. Van-Far won the third quarter 9-6 with Wellsville taking the fourth 16-10.
“We really controlled the boards and limited their second chance points,” Connaway said. “Rebounding was the main factor in the game. We out rebounded them by almost 20 boards and limited them to only four second chance opportunities.”
Gooch led with 12 points and 11 rebounds; John Gerdeman followed with 10 points and seven rebounds; Brian Kurz posted eight points with 11 rebounds; Barnes had seven points; Ryan Nelson had four points with 10 rebounds; and Logan Boyd chipped in three points.
Van-Far opted for bench depth in a loose, Saturday road match against MMA for a dominating 75-18 victory, February 16.
The Indians posted 22 points in the first quarter, holding MMA to just two points while adding another 24 points in the second quarter for a 46-7 lead at the half.
The Indians tallied another 24 points in the third but slowed in the fourth with the teams tallying five points apiece.
“Today we came out really loose and had fun,” Connaway said. “We moved the basketball great and we were very unselfish. The starters only played about 12 minutes and they made the most of their opportunities. (Gooch) had only one point, but had seven assists. He could have scored several times, but gave the ball up to his teammates. That is the way we need to play if we want to be successful next week in districts.”
Connaway said the highlight of the game was Nelson’s third quarter slam dunk — a game-time first for Nelson.
Nelson led with 18 points; Barnes chipped in 11 points; Kurz added 10 points; Woodrow Jackson had nine points; Gerdeman and Kyle Decker, with 14 rebounds, each had seven points; while Boyd and Wyatt McDowell each had six points.
Falls to North
North Callaway intimidated a flat Indians squad for a 58-47 loss Friday, February 15.
North Callaway led early with a 14-7 first quarter and led 27-16 by halftime.
“I’m not sure if it was their big crowd for their senior night or what, but we just didn’t play very well in the first half,” Connaway said. “We did just enough and had enough effort plays to keep us within striking distance heading into half.”
A refreshed Van-Far posted 15 points in the third quarter, point-for-point with North Callaway, and added another 16 points in the fourth quarter to end the game down by 11 points.
“In the locker room we talked about not playing well, not hitting shots, and turning the ball over,” Connaway said. “We knew not only did we need to play better, but also we were fortunate to only be down 11 points. In the third quarter, we really came out strong and focused. We were finally able to knock down some shots from the perimeter and we were also able to get some good looks inside.”
Barnes led with 15 points; Gooch followed with 13 points and five rebounds; Kurz added 12 points with five rebounds; Gerdeman had four points with six rebounds; Kyle Decker had two points; and Nelson had one point and five rebounds.