The Van-Far Indians led EMO Conference foe Clopton 30-23 in a big match-up between two of the best teams in the area, but they were unable to hold on late in a tough 59-52 loss.
Things fell apart in the fourth quarter as the Indians were outscored 17-4.
Van-Far had 23 turnovers in the loss, with many coming in the final eight minutes. At one point, the Indians turned the ball over on four straight trips up the court.
Clopton took a one point lead with two minutes left in the game before pulling away in the final seconds.
“I think we panicked and didn’t really want the ball in our hands and then we started pressing too much,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway. “We got nervous and turned the ball over and didn’t have good focus. We gave up an offensive rebound and put back off a missed free throw that sealed the deal for them. These are things that have plagued us in the past when we play good teams. We have to some how find a way to handle the pressure and make the right decisions. We can’t score four points in the fourth quarter of a big game and expect to win. I think we played not to lose instead of playing to win.”
Josh Hodde led Van-Far with 18 points; Lathyn McMorris had 13 points; Trey Miller added a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds; Caden Wilburn scored six points; and Brayden Christian had three points.
Crushing Wright City
Before their tough loss, the Indians won their final home game of the season with a 79-48 convincing victory over Wright City.
Van-Far stunned Wright City in the first quarter with 29 points and never looked back in a 79-48 win.
The Indians led 46-28 at halftime as Miller scored 17 of his game-high 28 points in the first half along with 13 of his 17 rebounds.
McMorris scored all of his 15 points in the first two quarters.
The Indians outscored Wright City 26-10 in the third quarter.
Lone senior Sharrod Connor had a solid all-around night with two points, four assists, and three steals.
“We wanted to win for him tonight and that is exactly what we did,” Connaway said. “I can’t say enough about this young man. He has battled the injury bug the past three years and has always been at practice, games, whatever. He is one of the classiest young men I know and is the ultimate teammate. He will be missed, but he just played his last game at home; we still have a lot of work to do and hopefully a lot of games to play this year.”
Miller had 28 points and 17 rebounds; Hodde scored 16 points and seven rebounds; McMorris tallied 15 points and seven rebounds; Christian scored 11 points and five rebounds; two points were scored by Walter Salmon Jr., Parker Wallace, Verlyn Johnson, and Connor; and Daylan Chandler had one point.