A long layoff between games caused the Van-Far boys basketball team to be rusty and sluggish early in a 70-38 loss to Highland in last week’s Holiday Shootout at Moberly Area Community College.
Highland jumped out to a 23-11 first quarter lead after hitting a majority of their shots from the field. The Cougars also took advantage of several bad Van-Far passes that led to easy transition baskets.
“I thought we guarded them pretty well and helped on their shooters, but it didn’t matter they hit shot after shot including some step back 3’s and a huge 3 at the horn to end the first and I think that was the dagger that took all the wind out of our sails,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway.
Highland continued to poor it on in the second quarter with 25 more points to take a 48-18 halftime lead. They made 20-of-29 shots from the field in the first half while outscoring Van-Far 15-0 on points off turnovers.
The Indians outscored Highland in the second half 22-20 but it wasn’t enough in the big loss.
“In the second half we actually outscored them until the final minutes when both teams cleared the benches, so our effort was there,” Connaway said. “Now we need to realize what we did differently defensively in the second half and build on that momentum.”
Josh Hodde led the Indians with 16 points and six rebounds while Trey Miller added five points and six rebounds.
Caden Wilburn had five points; Brayden Christian tallied four points and six rebounds; both Lathyn McMorris and Colten Jensen scored two points; and Colin Wilburn had two points.
In the win, Highland won the points in the paint battle 36-18 and they made 8-of-17 3-point shots. Van-Far made just 14-of-42 shots from the field and 3-of-16 3-point attempts.
Knocking off North Callaway
Earlier in December, the Indians overcame a 16-12 first quarter deficit and an awful second quarter with an outstanding second half winning the game in OT, 60-52.
Van-Far only scored two points in the second quarter and trailed 24-14 at halftime.
With a halftime focus on cutting the lead to two points or less heading into the fourth quarter, the Indians responded.
They actually cut the lead to two in less than three minutes into the second half.
Miller was key in attacking the basket and scoring.
Meanwhile, the Indians got North Callaway into foul trouble but Van-Far made just 15-of-29 in regulation as the game was tied at 45-45 at the end of regulation.
Van-Far built up a 10 point lead in overtime and held on from there.
“It wasn’t our best performance, but it was good enough to get a tough road win and beat a good team at their place,” Connaway said.
Miller led the team with a double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds. McMorris added 13 points; Hodde had 11 points and six rebounds; Christian had nine rebounds; and Caden Wilburn had seven rebounds.