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Indians season comes to end after district loss to Clopton

Posted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 at 8:02 am

Van-Far’s Lathyn McMorris goes up for a shot as a Clopton defender gets some air.

A turn around season came to an end last week in the Class 2, District 6 Tournament for the Van-Far Indians boys basketball team as they lost in the first round to Clopton, 51-42.
Though the Indians ended their season not as the coaching staff had hoped, it doesn’t overshadow a solid year for the program.
Van-Far had 15 wins, ended up with a .600 winning percentage, played in their first regular season tournament championship game in 11 years, and changed the dynamic of what had been a struggling program.
The Indians had 195 more two-point attempts than it did a year before along with 117 more free throws and 150 more rebounds.
“What does all this mean?,” asked Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway. “It means we turned things around and were more aggressive, more physical, and attacked the rim more. In the past, our weaknesses were points in the paint and rebounds and we won those two battles this year and that was the main reason for our success. Now we need to build off of that and get better and also become better free throw shooters so we can become a complete team. I’m really excited about next year and where coach and I think we can go.”
In the first quarter, the Indians jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead but struggled from there after missing three free throws.
Clopton closed the opening quarter on a 11-2 run to take a two-point lead into the second quarter. Both teams struggled offensively before halftime combining to score just 15 total points as Van-Far trailed 22-16 at the break.
“We passed up too many open looks and we allowed them to slow us down,” Connaway noted. “…We were really positive and pleased with our defensive effort in the first half. We really worked hard on defense and by only giving up nine second quarter points, it allowed us to stay in the game even though we weren’t at our best.”
Van-Far held Clopton scoreless for five minutes in the third quarter and eventually tied the game at 22-22.
The Indians though turned the ball over two times in the final :40 seconds and Clopton took advantage. They eventually went back up by three points heading into the final quarter.
In the final quarter, Lathyn McMorris hit two 3-pointers to make it a two point game with 3:40 remaining.
While Van-Far missed free throws, Clopton made 8-of-11 to win the game, 51-42. They made 13-of-17 free throws in the win.
Van-Far made just 6-of-14 in the loss and made only 4-of-17 3-point shots.
“It was a hard fought loss and a tough one to take,” Connaway said. “We thought the winner of our game had a great shot at playing for a district title. This proved true as they ended up winning their next two games by double digits to be District 6 champs. Clopton is strong, physical team that is very defensively sound. They don’t make many mistakes and are always there ready to take a charge. Our kids played hard but ultimately never could get our offense going. Now we need to focus on putting in a great summer and hitting the weight room. We will return all of our kids except for Boomer (Sharrod Connor). Boomer is a great kid who battled injuries his entire high school career. He came back from missing 10 games to provide us with leadership and a huge spark/scoring off of our bench. I can’t say enough about this kid and his character. He is one of the best kids I have ever been around and has been an absolute pleasure to coach. Boomer will be sorely missed both on and off the floor, but we expect him to remain a huge part of our family.”
McMorris scored 13 points; Josh Hodde added 12 points and seven rebounds; Trey Miller had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds; Caden Wilburn added four points; and Connor scored three points.A turn around season came to an end last week in the Class 2, District 6 Tournament for the Van-Far Indians boys basketball team as they lost in the first round to Clopton, 51-42.
Though the Indians ended their season not as the coaching staff had hoped, it doesn’t overshadow a solid year for the program.
Van-Far had 15 wins, ended up with a .600 winning percentage, played in their first regular season tournament championship game in 11 years, and changed the dynamic of what had been a struggling program.
The Indians had 195 more two-point attempts than it did a year before along with 117 more free throws and 150 more rebounds.
“What does all this mean?,” asked Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway. “It means we turned things around and were more aggressive, more physical, and attacked the rim more. In the past, our weaknesses were points in the paint and rebounds and we won those two battles this year and that was the main reason for our success. Now we need to build off of that and get better and also become better free throw shooters so we can become a complete team. I’m really excited about next year and where coach and I think we can go.”
In the first quarter, the Indians jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead but struggled from there after missing three free throws.
Clopton closed the opening quarter on a 11-2 run to take a two-point lead into the second quarter. Both teams struggled offensively before halftime combining to score just 15 total points as Van-Far trailed 22-16 at the break.
“We passed up too many open looks and we allowed them to slow us down,” Connaway noted. “…We were really positive and pleased with our defensive effort in the first half. We really worked hard on defense and by only giving up nine second quarter points, it allowed us to stay in the game even though we weren’t at our best.”
Van-Far held Clopton scoreless for five minutes in the third quarter and eventually tied the game at 22-22.
The Indians though turned the ball over two times in the final :40 seconds and Clopton took advantage. They eventually went back up by three points heading into the final quarter.
In the final quarter, Lathyn McMorris hit two 3-pointers to make it a two point game with 3:40 remaining.
While Van-Far missed free throws, Clopton made 8-of-11 to win the game, 51-42. They made 13-of-17 free throws in the win.
Van-Far made just 6-of-14 in the loss and made only 4-of-17 3-point shots.
“It was a hard fought loss and a tough one to take,” Connaway said. “We thought the winner of our game had a great shot at playing for a district title. This proved true as they ended up winning their next two games by double digits to be District 6 champs. Clopton is strong, physical team that is very defensively sound. They don’t make many mistakes and are always there ready to take a charge. Our kids played hard but ultimately never could get our offense going. Now we need to focus on putting in a great summer and hitting the weight room. We will return all of our kids except for Boomer (Sharrod Connor). Boomer is a great kid who battled injuries his entire high school career. He came back from missing 10 games to provide us with leadership and a huge spark/scoring off of our bench. I can’t say enough about this kid and his character. He is one of the best kids I have ever been around and has been an absolute pleasure to coach. Boomer will be sorely missed both on and off the floor, but we expect him to remain a huge part of our family.”
McMorris scored 13 points; Josh Hodde added 12 points and seven rebounds; Trey Miller had a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds; Caden Wilburn added four points; and Connor scored three points.