Van-Far head boys basketball coach Pat Connaway knew his team’s match-up with Highland would be a challenge in the 2nd Annual Moberly Medical Center Shootout.
The Indians did compete with Highland early in their Monday contest but ended up falling big to the Cougars, 70-38.
“Our young kids were still a little timid,” Connaway said. “We passed up shots and we didn’t finish at the rim because we were expecting contact. We have got to quit worrying about the potential contact and focus on finishing. We have got to get more physical on both ends of the floor. We have a lot of athletic ability, but strength is definitely a weakness of ours and we are getting punished in the paint.”
Van-Far opened the game with confidence by knocking down several shots early and led 14-13 with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Highland responded with an 8-0 run as Van-Far was outscored 22-6 in the second quarter to trail 43-20 at halftime.
Highland’s Austin Richmiller scored 14 of his game-high 26 points in the second quarter.
“Highland really took us out of our offense and we started forcing things and rushing shots, we missed at least 10 to 12 points that were point blank,” Connaway said. “We have got to finish when we get easy looks like that. We can’t afford to leave those points out there.”
Highland outscored Van-Far 27-18 in the second half and held on for the win.
The Indians shot just 27.2% from the field while Highland shot 53.4% from the field.
Nick Barnes scored 17 points and six rebounds while Wyatt McDowell had seven points and five rebounds. Josh Hodde, Lathyn McMorris, and Brayden Christian each scored four points. Trenton DeTienne had two points while Lucas Robinson added eight rebounds.
Van-Far has given up 126 points in the paint in the last three games.
Van-Far will take on Community R-VI on Monday, January 5 in the first round of the Madison Tournament at 8:30 p.m.