Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway said an awry first quarter lead to the Indians’ first loss of the season to Elsberry, 68-44.
“We came out in the first quarter and were a little intimidated by (Elsberry), we let them dictate the pace on both ends of the court,” Connaway said. “They had us so out of sync that we turned the ball over and took bad shots. When we got good looks, we either rushed our shot or went to the basket ‘soft’ and didn’t attack (Kenny) Lesley or the basket. Defensively we were very passive, as well, and we let them get lay-up after lay-up. Our help side defense wasn’t there and we couldn’t stop ball penetration.”
Van-Far was down 24-12 to finish the first quarter and ended the half trailing 35-20. Elsberry won the third quarter 15-13 and finshed the contest with a 18-13 fourth quarter. Ryan Nelson posted a game-high 15 points with five rebounding; Brian Kurz added 13 points for the Indians with five rebounds; Ethan Gooch scored seven points with six rebounds; and Nick Barnes matched Gooch at seven points with two rebounds.
The Indians were 8-for-24 from the field in the first half and 71-percent effective from the line. Overall, Van-Far shot 33-percent from the field and buried 10-of-18 free throws.
Falls to South Shelby
Van-Far couldn’t turn around an early 10-point lead to shake off a 51-45 loss to South Shelby on Thursday, December 13.
The Indians trailed 15-11 at the end of the first quarter and the Cardinals outscored Van-Far 13-7 in the second quarter to lead 28-18 at halftime. South Shelby won the third quarter 15-12 and a late 15-point run in the fourth quarter by the Indians fell short of a Van-Far victory.
“We committed way too many turnovers, made too many bad passes, and didn’t hit the boards well,” Connaway said. “We spotted them a 10 point lead early and were never able to dig ourselves out of the hole we put ourselves in.”
Kurz led the Indians with 18 points and 10 rebounds with Gooch and Barnes each adding 10 points for Van-Far.
The Indians shot 38 percent from the field in the first half and 20-for-61 from the field overall. With no free throw attempts in the first half, they finished 9-for-12 from the line for the game.