The Van-Far Junior High boys basketball team gained some valuable experience during the past two weeks.
The 7th grade team went through a trial by fire when it participated in the Community R-VI 8th grade basketball tournament.
The Indians opened with a 49-16 loss to North Callaway. Van-Far’s 7th grade team was outscored 20-0 in the second quarter.
Sam Middleton scored nine points, Verdell Johnson had six points, and Aidan Lowrance scored one point.
In game two, the 7th grade team nearly knocked off the Trojans. The game started with an 11-11 tie before the Trojans took a lead before halftime. Community R-VI gained some footing in the second half and held on for a 41-27 victory.
Middleton scored 11 points, Rylee Hanson had six points, while both Trever Lower and Colin Wilburn had five points.
In the final game, the Indians trailed 14-3 at the end of the first quarter against Wellsville.
The Tigers took a 34-7 halftime lead before cruising to a 50-15 win.
Colin Wilburn scored six points, Hanson had four points, both Lowrance and Lower added two points, while Verdell Johnson scored one point.
“We had a chance to beat R-VI but we made some mistakes in the third quarter,” said Van-Far head coach Joe Basinger. “(In the tournament) we were overmatched in size and physically on the boards…The kids learned that we have to execute. Our execution has to become so much better.”
The tough week in Laddonia was followed by a big home victory for the 7th grade team over Louisiana.
The Indians led 13-11 at halftime before outscoring the Bulldogs 18-10 in the second half for a 31-21 victory.
Colin Wilburn had 11 points, Middleton scored 10 points, Hanson added four points, while Morgan Slatten, Lower, and Verdell each scored two points.
“The kids responded well after having a rough week in the R-VI tournament,” Basinger said. “We ran some really good offense against Louisiana…”
The 8th grade Indians jumped out to an early 13-3 lead before foul trouble hurt them before halftime.
Louisiana outscored Van-Far 15-5 to tie things at 18 at halftime.
Louisiana held on late in front of Van-Far’s home crowd for a 45-42 win.
“They have an excellent player,” Basinger said. “With (Treyson Culwell and Trey Miller) on the bench (in foul trouble), it really hurt us.”
Miller scored 20 points, both Caden Wilburn and Treyson Culwell had eight points, Dillion Minor scored four points, and Logan Wilson had two points.
In South Callaway, the 7th grade team continued to take strides in a 37-29 victory.
Van-Far struggled early and trailed by five before rallying for a two point halftime edge.
The Indians outscored the Bulldogs 20-14 in the second half and won by eight points. Van-Far also outscored South Callaway 27-12 during the second and third quarters.
Middleton had 10 points, Lower scored eight points, Verdell Johnson had seven points, and both Hanson and Colin Wilburn scored six points.
“We started off a little slow and sluggish,” Basinger said. “Once we got settled, we executed well.”
The 8th grade rallied one night after a tough loss to crush South Callaway, 63-45. Van-Far outscored the Bulldogs 21-17 in the second half.
All five Indians scored in double digits in spite of battling some foul trouble.
Miller had 18 points, Caden Wilburn scored 13 points, Chris Boos added 12 points, and both Minor and Treyson Culwell scored 10 points.
“The intensity and focus was definitely back,” Basinger said. “When you hang 32 in the first half, you could tell. They got the sour taste and pit in the stomach from the night before.”
Basinger was really happy with the way Boos played.
“Chris (Boos) is a kid who has showed up to practice every day the last two years and has worked his tail off for me,” Basinger added. “He’s allowed me to coach him and has soaked up everything I taught him…”
Basinger did say his team’s defense gave up 45 points and that he would like to see his team get back to holding teams to under 20 points.