The Van-Far Indians extended their winning streak to three games at the start of this past week when they held off Wellsville 55-39. Van-Far’s win came after victories over both Silex and Bowling Green as the Indians outscored all three teams 152-107 during the streak. One tough statistic during the stretch is that the Indians have made just 51-of-104 free throws. They made just 22-of-45 in the win over the Tigers.
“We are starting to build some confidence and are playing much better team basketball,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway.
“…We need to continue attacking the rim, but when we get to the line we need to convert…We still have a lot of areas we need to improve on, but we are heading in the right direction at the right time of the year.”
Van-Far opened their home contest with Wellsville by outscoring the Tigers 27-17 in the first half. The Indians never looked back as they won the second half 28-22 before cruising to a 16-point victory.
“I was really impressed with our mental approach to tonight’s game,” Connaway said. “We came out and played hard; we didn’t take them for granted. I wanted to really stress to them that just because we beat them twice earlier this year it didn’t mean a thing…”
The Indians dominated the Tigers on the inside behind the play of Ryan Nelson and Brian Kurz. The two players combined for 37 points and 27 rebounds as Nelson finished with 19 points and Kurz had 18.
Van-Far outrebounded Wellsville 53-32.
Other scorers include Ethan Gooch’s nine points, Ryan Teague scored five points, Logan Boyd had two points, while both Kyle Decker and Cody Stubblefield each scored one point.
Van-Far’s streak came to an end this past Monday night when they ran into state-ranked Elsberry and lost 61-18 as only three players scored points.
Elsberry, who entered the game with a 21-2 record after a loss to Winfield, jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter. Kurz scored Van-Far’s first basket at the 3:08 mark before Elsberry ended the quarter on an 8-0 run for a 22-point lead.
Elsberry made 10-of-16 shots from the field in the first quarter and cruised to a 39-10 halftime lead. Gooch scored six of the eight Van-Far points in the quarter as Elsberry made 17-of-28 shots from the field in the half to Van-Far’s 3-of-13.
After turning the ball over 13 times in the first two quarters, Van-Far opened the third by taking better care of the ball. Kurz scored five points in the third but unfortunately Elsberry extended their lead to 36 points heading into the final eight minutes.
The mercy rule started the clock in the fourth and Elsberry held on for the easy win. Elsberry made 26-of-53 shots from the field while Van-Far made just 5-of-29 shots while turning the ball over 19 times.
In the loss, Nelson broke his nose when colliding with an Elsberry’s Charles Fraction near mid-court.
“The whole week we talked that the game was about us and not them,” Connaway said. “I was really disappointed with the effort. We let them intimidate us…”
Kurz scored a team-high nine points with six rebounds, one steal, and one block. Gooch added eight points and one rebound; Teague had one points and one rebound; Nelson had two rebounds; Alex Culver had two rebounds and one assist; Logan Boyd added one rebound; and Decker tallied eight rebounds, one steal, and one assist.
“Decker was very active; I thought he had a very solid game,” Connaway said.