The Van-Far Indians basketball team added more tournament hardware to their trophy case this past week after winning two games to take the Consolation title in the Bowling Green Tournament.
The boys team needed to rally from an 18-12 first quarter deficit to knock off Winfield in the 5th place game on Saturday, 65-56. Van-Far picked up the win in spite of being without Lathyn McMorris due to an injury.
Van-Far played for a Bowling Green Tournament plaque on Saturday for the first time in six seasons.
“We knew it was going to have to be a total team effort if we were going to be able to get a ‘W’ tonight,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway. “Parker (Wallace stepped up and started in Lathyn’s place…It was a great team victory and everyone contributed in one way or another.”
Winfield jumped out to an early 8-2 lead before Josh Hodde scored eight of his 13 points in the quarter, which helped calm the Indians’ offense down.
Brayden Christian and Wyatt McDowell made solid offensive contributions in the second quarter as the Indians cut the lead to four at halftime.
The Indians took over the game in the third quarter as they opened up a seven point edge after outscoring Winfield 20-8.
Van-Far struggled from the free throw line in the fourth, making just 5-of-10 shots but they were able to hold on for the nine point win.
Nick Barnes made three of his four 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 25 points and four rebounds. Hodde had 13 points and six rebounds; McDowell tallied 11 points and five rebounds; Christian had 11 points and four rebounds; Caden Wilburn added five points and five rebounds; Wallace had three rebounds; and Trenton DeTienne had two rebounds.
“Caden played a lot of minutes tonight and really helped ease the blow of Lathyn being out,” Connaway added.
Van-Far won the rebounding battle 29-21.
In the Consolation semifinals, McMorris was thankfully in the lineup for the Indians. He caught a pass from Hodde in rhythm and hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds left in the game to take a 37-36 lead over Silex.
Van-Far’s defense forced a tough shot at the buzzer that didn’t fall to give the Indians the win.
“I was really pleased with the way we kept defending even though we were struggling offensively,” Connaway said about his team that made just 14-of-37 shots (38%) from the field and just 3-of-20 3-point shots.
The Indians took too many outside shots early in the game. They did manage to score 14 of their 20 first half points in the paint but found themselves down two at halftime.
Christian scored 10 of his game-high 16 points in the second half as he made all six of his free throws.
He knocked down two free throws to give the Indians a one point lead with just over a minute to go.
Van-Far’s defense did pick up two defensive stops late though Silex did have a two point lead before McMorris’ late 3-pointer.
Christian finished with 16 points and eight rebounds while Barnes added eight points and five rebounds. McMorris had six points and five rebounds; Hodde added four points and four rebounds; and McDowell had three points and four rebounds.
Falling to Elsberry
In the first round, the Indians led by three points at halftime but were unable to hold off Elsberry’s charge in the second half as they lost 66-58.
The Indians moved the ball well in the first half against Elberry’s zone but the perimeter shots were not falling.
Van-Far led 29-26 at halftime before Elsberry’s outside shooting was strong in the second half as one player hit three 3-pointers to take a seven point edge. Though Van-Far had just nine turnovers in the game, they had three turnovers in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter.
“It was a game that we definitely could have won but let it slip away,” Connaway said.
Hodde had 24 points; Barnes added 15 points and eight rebounds; and Christian tallied 11 points and eight rebounds.
Van-Far made just 20-of-53 shots from the field and made