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Van-Far Indians win Tony Lenzini 80th Annual Palmyra Invitational Tournament

Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2023 at 10:24 pm

The Van-Far Indians traveled to Palmyra last week to compete in the Tony Lenzini 80th Annual Palmyra Invitational Tournament. In their first tournament game on Tuesday, the Indians defeated Clark County with a score of 49 – 43. Then on Thursday night, with a score of 40 – 38, they beat Monroe City, advancing to the championship game scheduled for Saturday night.
“We came into this tournament looking to build something,” said Coach Pat Connaway. “We just came off a week where we felt we should have and could have won all three games, but instead lost all three. One game by one point, another by two and the other by a two point game with 2 minutes to go. We talked about being able to finish off games. Heading into the week we were 6 – 7 and felt like we very easily could be 9 – 4 or even 10 – 3 if we could just play a complete game. We told the kids this tournament was wide open and our goal was to play on Saturday night for some hardware whether it was for first or third place, but in order to do that we needed to do something we hadn’t been able to do there in a long time, and that is win the opening round game,” he added.
The Indians secured the championship Saturday night with a final score of 35 – 34.
“We talked about the first four minutes of the game being vital for us,” said Connaway. “They had a huge crowd and the place was loud so we needed to communicate efficiently. We jumped out to a 7 – 0 lead and we proved we were ready for this moment and this environment. We played really good defense the entire first half and were efficient enough on offense to take a 23 – 15 lead into the locker room. In the second half we struggled from the floor and they made a run at us and took a one-point lead, but we kept our composure and Nikos hit a big three to give us the lead back. It was back and forth the rest of the way with both teams struggling to score. Defensively we got three huge stops and three huge rebounds to set up a chance to win the game. Palmyra had a one point lead with 30 seconds left and we called the set we wanted and we got the ball in Nikos’ hands. He used a screen set by Carter Jennings and got to the middle of the lane and hit a floater with 8.2 seconds left to give us a 35 – 34 lead. We got a stop on their end with 2.2 seconds left to secure the victory. Nikos’ game winner capped off a 20 point night where he scored all of our points in the second half.
“This win capped off a great week and will be a huge confidence boost the rest of the way. It was a total team win. We ground out a tough win on the road vs. a really good team. Our defense was tremendous all week long! We only gave up 115 points (38.3 points per game average). You hold teams under 40 points a night and you will win a lot of ball games. Thursday vs. Monroe Coach Reading and I thought we played a full four quarters and we did it again last night. We can’t be more proud of our kids and their will to win. Now we have to get ready for a tough match-up in next week’s tournaments.”