Van-Far started their game against No. 2 seed Cairo with a spark in the first round at the Madison Invitational on Monday night. Center Brian Kurz returned to the lineup after missing six weeks with an injury and scored the opening basket just :37 seconds into his first game.
Unfortunately, Van-Far’s problems in taking care of the ball caught up to them just seconds later. The Indians turned the ball over six times during Cairo’s 17-0 run before losing the game 63-32. Van-Far turned the ball over 22 times and made just 13-of-43 shots from the field in the loss.
“The things that have plagued us all year showed up again tonight,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway. “Turning the ball over and not being able to get the ball in the post. We’ve got to overcome it.”
Connaway said his team’s sluggish play carried over from five bad practices and a bad warm up before the game.
“I don’t think we have the killer instinct and a winning attitude,” he added.
“…We’ve got to do the little things, diving for loose balls and we’ve got to get back to the basics. They’ve got to find their confidence.”
Kurz actually scored the first two baskets of the game for the Indians but it was nearly all of the Indians’ offense early in the loss.
Van-Far trailed 24-6 at the end of the first quarter as all 12 of their first quarter turnovers were Cairo steals.
Cairo extended the lead to 21 points early in the second quarter after Ryan Nelson picked up his third foul.
Cairo led 48-17 at halftime after making 16-of-24 shots from the field and 10-of-12 free throws.
The Indians started the third quarter with a 5-0 run behind Ethan Gooch’s 3-pointer and Kurz’s fourth basket of the game.
Cairo outscored Van-Far 13-10 in the quarter and a mercy clock sped the game up in the fourth to help Cairo to a 31-point victory.
Cairo made 23-of-41 shots from the field in the win.
Gooch scored a team-high 13 points with three rebounds and one steal while Kurz tallied nine points, six rebounds, and one steal in his return.
Ryan Teague had three points, four steals, three assists, and two rebounds; Nelson had two points, two rebounds, and one assist; John Gerdeman had two points and four rebounds; LaQuan Jackson added two points; Logan Boyd tallied three rebounds, two steals, and one assist; Dylan Hoover had one point and one assist; Alex Culver had two assists and one steal; Richard Carpenter added two rebounds; and Cody Stubblefield had one rebound.