The Van-Far boys basketball team picked up one victory in last week’s Madison Tournament.
The Indians won their lone game in the consolation semifinals after defeating the host Madison Panthers, 56-51.
Van-Far faced several challenges in the game. They played without John Gerdeman, who hurt his knee in the first round. They also didn’t tip off until after 9 p.m. though the game was scheduled for 8:15 p.m.
In spite of the challenges, Van-Far was led by post player Kyle Decker, who scored 14 points and 13 rebounds.
“Kyle played extremely hard and was very physical inside,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway. “He dominated the game in the post and allowed us to get several easy looks inside and also his post ability allowed us to get open jump shots.”
The Indians trailed 25-23 at halftime before outscoring the Panthers 33-26 in the second half for a 56-51 victory.
Van-Far’s defense forced 20 turnovers. Meanwhile, the Indians made just 13-of-31 free throws.
“We really could have put the game away early in the fourth if we would have been able to make our free throws,” Connaway added.
Nick Barnes scored a team-high 17 points and five rebounds. Wyatt McDowell had 13 points, Sharrod Connor scored seven points, Lucas Robinson had five points, and Michael Colson added five rebounds.
In the consolation championship, the Indians led through two quarters before an attrocious third led to a 37-36 loss to Paris.
Van-Far opened the game on a 6-0 run behind 3-pointers from both McDowell and Barnes.
The Indians pushed the lead to 16-8 at the end of the first before the Coyotes rallied early in the second with a 6-0 run of their own.
Van-Far made just 1-of-10 shots from the field in the second but led 21-19 at halftime. During the quarter, the Indians had missed six straight free throws, which could have helped them increase their lead.
Van-Far’s offense continued to struggle in the second half as they scored just four points in the third, finding itself down 34-25.
The Indians’ defense held Paris to just six shots from the field in the fourth.
Barnes hit a 3-pointer with under a second left as Van-Far lost 37-36.
Connor led the Indians with 13 points, two rebounds, and two steals while Barnes tallied nine points, seven rebounds, two steals, and two assists. Decker had four points, 11 rebounds, and one steal; McDowell had six points, four steals, three assists, and two rebounds; Robinson added four points, four rebounds, and three steals; Colson had two rebounds; and Woodrow Jackson had one rebound.
In the first round of the tournament, the Indians trailed 34-18 at halftime before falling to Salisbury, 68-40.
In a game against the defending Class 2 state champions, the Indians flat start hurt them from the beginning.
Van-Far gave up 30 second chance points in the loss.
Barnes scored a team-high 13 points and six rebounds while John Gerdeman tallied six points and eight rebounds. Decker had six points and 12 rebounds; McDowell added six points; Connor scored five points; and both Colson and Robinson scored two points.
Before the tournament, the Indians struggled defensively in a 77-53 loss to Montgomery County.
Playing without Decker, who was on vacation, Van-Far’s bench was thin and the Indians were unable to dictate the tempo.
“We had a hard time keeping up with them and they forced turnovers and wore us down,” Connaway said. “…I was proud of our effort. We didn’t give up and we didn’t quit.”
The Wildcats made 29-of-75 shots from the field. Van-Far turned the ball over 22 times and made 19-of-49 shots from the field. They lost the rebounding battle 50-37.
Barnes scored a team-high 20 points. Connor had 15 points, McDowell added 10 points, while Gerdeman had five points.