With his team battling several injuries while being a young squad, Van-Far head boys basketball coach Pat Connaway knew his team could have to play with a lot of energy and intensity to have success this season in the EMO Conference.
His Indians responded last Friday night by holding off a late Community R-VI rally for a 64-54 victory for their first win of the season and first conference win.
“I think we learned a lot tonight about how to finish a game out,” Connaway said. “We still haven’t played a complete game yet, but our young kids are learning and getting better and better. I love the way we share the basketball and play as a team.”
Connaway said the team gained an edge in warmups when injured senior Nick Barnes went through the warm-ups and practice with them.
The Indians used their full-court man defense to disrupt the Trojans early to create some turnovers and force quick shots while allowing their offense to get out into transition.
Lathyn McMorris made three quick 3-pointers to set the pace and helped Van-Far to a 15-9 first quarter lead.
“Started slow again; varsity inexperience still showing,” said Community R-VI head coach Ken Jett.
Foul trouble hurt Van-Far in the second quarter as McMorris picked up two fouls just before the frame.
With McMorris on the bench, Josh Hodden scored nine of his 21 points in the first half to help the Indians push the lead to 12 at halftime.
Community R-VI made a late charge in the fourth quarter after hitting four 3-pointers to cut the lead down to eight points but were unable to get any closer.
Van-Far made 11-of-13 free throws in the fourth to seal the win as Hodde made all six of his and McMorris hit all three of his free throws.
The Indians made 20-of-28 free throws as a team
Community R-VI did outscore Van-Far 25-23 in the second half and won the rebounding battle 35-34.
“Overall, offensively we moved the ball much better against the zone than we have had in the past and this allowed us to get some open looks,” Connaway said.
McMorris finished with 25 points and six rebounds while Hodde had 21 points and six rebounds. Brayden Christian tallied eight points and seven rebounds; Wyatt McDowell scored four points and 10 rebounds; Trenton DeTienne had three points; Caden Wilburn scored two points; and Treyson Culwell had one point.
Anthony Fairchild led the Trojans with 15 points, six rebounds, and one steal while Bobby Jett had 12 points, one assist, one rebound, and one steal. Gage Graves scored nine points and one assist; Cordell Hollensteiner chipped in eight points, three assists, three rebounds, and one steal; while Gatlin Curtis scored six points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal.