Van-Far head boys basketball coach Pat Connaway knew his team would need to find some offense in their three games last week to help the Indians put their first “W” in the win column for the 2011-2012 season.
Unfortunately, his squad scored more than 10 points in just four of the 12 quarters and remained winless after losses to Clopton, South Shelby, and Mark Twain.
The Indians began their week with their third EMO Conference game of the season but lost to Clopton 38-32.
Van-Far led 32-31 with 1:02 remaining in the game after a Ryan Nelson basket, but the Indians were unable to seal the victory. A couple of silly fouls led to Clopton’s 7-0 run. The Indians led 20-18 at halftime before being outscored 20-12 in the second half.
“It was a frustrating loss,” Connaway said. “We played so well but couldn’t get over the hump. Clopton may very well be the best team in the conference and we had them beat and let it slip away. That is two conference games in a row we weren’t able to pull out in the end. It is a learning process, but still a tough one to swallow.”
Ethan Gooch led Van-Far with 11 points, Ryan Teague scored 10 points, and Nelson added nine points.
Loss to South Shelby
Two nights later the Indians remained winless at home after a 63-34 loss to a South Shelby squad coming off a Monroe City Tournament Championship.
Van-Far trailed 25-14 at halftime before turnovers and free throws hurt the Indians. They made just 8-for-17 free throws while turning the ball over 22 times. South Shelby led by just 10 points before outscoring the Indians 24-5 in the fourth quarter.
“South Shelby came out from the get go and really took it to us on the boards, especially on the offensive end” Connaway said. “They had at least 20 to 25 second chance points. I think we were a little intimidated by them, but once we settled down we really played them tough for the third quarter.”
Gooch led Van-Far with 13 points, Nelson added nine, Teague scored eight points, and Kyle Decker had four points.
Loss to Mark Twain
Van-Far was hoping their first win of the season would come last Friday night against a Mark Twain team that was rolled by Community R-VI earlier this month. The Tigers, who are coached by Van-Far alumnus Chad Reading, outscored the Indians 21-4 in the fourth quarter for the 45-27 victory.
“Another winnable game we let slip through our fingers,” Connaway said. “…We were very sluggish from the start but were right in the game until the fourth quarter came around. I’m not sure what we need to do to play a complete game. We are in darn nearly every game through three quarters and then we play a horrible fourth quarter and find a way to lose.”
Read the rest of our story in the December 21 issue of The Vandalia Leader or purchase a copy of our electronic edition.