With a short bench and the absence of leading scorer Lathyn McMorris, the Van-Far Indians had to fight through some adversity in their opening round match-up as the top seed against Paris in the Madison Tournament.
Fortunately, the Indians had several players take advantage of added minutes, scoring more than 20 points in three quarters during an 80-33 victory.
“We did a good job of getting out and running the floor, but we weren’t defending very well,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway about his team early. “We really clamped down towards the end of the first quarter and into the second on defense and that helped spark our offense. Offensively, we moved and shared the ball very well. We shot the ball pretty well from the perimeter and were able to get a lot of buckets in the paint.”
Van-Far opened the game with a 22-13 first quarter lead before dominating Paris 20-6 in the final eight minutes of the half for a 42-19 halftime edge.
Josh Hodde scored 13 of his game-high 21 points in the first half.
With a recent Mexico game on their mind where the Indians failed to put away the Bulldogs with a big lead in the second half, Van-Far’s players didn’t let the Coyotes back into this first round match-up.
Van-Far outscored Paris 22-10 in the third quarter as Trey Miller scored 10 of his 14 points in the frame. Hodde added eight of his own to combine for 18 of the team’s 22 points, helping the Indians build a 35-point lead.
The Indians’ defense only allowed 14 points in the second half of the 47-point win.
Colten Jensen, Caden Wilburn, and Dillion Minor each took advantage of their time on the court in the win.
Jensen had 10 points; Caden Wilburn added a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists; and Minor added six points and 10 rebounds.
Hodde had 21 points, six rebounds, and five assists; Miller added 14 points; Brayden Christian had seven points and six rebounds; Treyson Culwell scored seven points, five rebounds, and five assists; and Colin Wilburn added five points.
The Indians shot 48.5% from the field, 35% from behind the 3-point line, and 64.3% at the charity stripe.
“It was a nice way to head into the Christmas break,” Connaway said. “We’re now 7-1 and we need to take a few days off to get healthy and refocus. We’re off to a good start, but we know we need to get better and have a lot of things to improve on. Hopefully, Lathyn gets healthy as we head into the new year. We need to get ready to face R-VI, who is playing well and we know it will be a challenge, it definitely won’t be easy to beat them again.”
The Indians play the Trojans at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3.
A win puts them in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 6.
A loss gives them a shot at third place at 4:30 p.m.