The Van-Far Indians drew a tough assignment in the first round of last week’s Palmyra Tournament as the No. 8 seed taking on the top seeded host team coached by former Indians coach Brian Meny. While the Indians struggled early, they put together a strong second half and scored more than 60 points in a 79-64 loss to the Panthers.
Van-Far trailed 42-20 at halftime before outscoring Palmyra 42-37 in the final two quarters.
“In the second half, we came out hungry and confident,” said Van-Far head boys basketball coach Pat Connaway. “I think we realized we can play with them and just started relaxing and executing. We played really well the entire half and we were able to cut a 21-point deficit to 10 with three minutes to go. I was really proud of our effort and our fight in the second half. We let them know (that) we were there to fight and we weren’t going to roll over. Hopefully tonight will be a learning lesson to the kids and they will start to realize that we can play with anyone around when we play with confidence.”
Van-Far shot just 36.9% from the field while Palmyra shot 52.5% from the field. The Indians did make 20-of-23 free throws but were outrebounded 39-24.
Nick Barnes scored 24 points and eight rebounds while Josh Hodde added 15 points and eight rebounds. Lucas Robinson tallied 10 points and five rebounds; Lathyn McMorris had seven points; Parker Wallace scored five points; and Sharrod Connor had three points.
Loss to Monroe City
In the consolation semifinals, the Indians struggled offensively as they only scored more than 10 points in just one of the four quarters.
They trailed 30-12 at halftime and lost 49-33.
Van-Far trailed by just eight points with 3:47 remaining but the offensive struggles cost Van-Far late in the game.
Defensively, Van-Far gave up just 19 points in the final two quarters.
“I am really proud of our defensive effort in the second half,” Connaway said. “…I think the kids realize that if we work that hard on ‘D’ all the time, then we are going to be in games no matter how well we shoot the ball. We know we have good shooters and we need to keep shooting the ball with confidence, but it is time to start putting it all together to get ready to make a district run.”
The Indians made just 11-of-42 shots from the field while the Panthers made 51% from the field.
Barnes had nine points while Hodde tallied eight points and five rebounds. McMorris had five points; Robinson scored four points; Wyatt McDowell had four points and three rebounds; Brayden Christian had three points and three rebounds; and Connor had three rebounds.