Though Van-Far might not have the offensive weapons they’ve had in past seasons, the boys basketball team traveled to Silex on Thursday, December 8 and executed a near perfect defensive game plan.
The Indians’ defense forced the Owls to make just 8-of-47 shots from the field in four quarters. Unfortunately, it was the Owls’ final basket with two seconds left on the game that gave Silex a 36-34 victory.
“I was really pleased with the defense,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway.
“We came out and played solid man defense for basically the first two and a half quarters…We didn’t give up many open shots and didn’t allow them to penetrate. That being said, things on the offensive end have got to get better.”
Turnovers and poor free throw shooting hurt the Indians in their bid to knock off the Owls in Silex.
Van-Far turned the ball over 31 times and made just 5-of-17 free throws. The Indians have made just 13-of-54 free throws in their first three games while turning the ball over 73 times. In the Silex loss the Indians made just 11-of-30 shots from the field.
“Any time you’ve got 30 turnovers, it’s amazing you’re even in the game,” Connaway added. “When you’re going a turnover per shot, that’s not a very good formula for winning.”
Van-Far stunned the Silex crowd early as Ethan Gooch scored seven points in the first, including a two pointer at the buzzer for a 9-5 lead. During the quarter, the Indians did make a 7-0 run after the Owls scored the opening basket.
Center Ryan Nelson established himself in the post in the second quarter by scoring five points while the Indians’ defense forced the Owls to make just 1-of-12 shots from the field.
Van-Far led by four at halftime and survived an ugly third quarter in which they took just four shots. Silex made just 2-of-12 shots from the field before the Indians’ foul trouble gave the Owls the momentum.
Nelson picked up his fourth foul near the end of the third quarter and Van-Far struggled when they reached the free throw line. They missed seven straight free throws from the end of the third and at the beginning of the fourth as the Owls took a 25-24 lead with 6:59 remaining.
Silex led by five before Ryan Teague’s 3-pointer and a late Gooch basket tied the game at 34 with 1:09 left.
The Owls then dribbled :52 seconds off the before setting up the game-winning shot on a timeout with 8.2 seconds left.
Gooch led Van-Far with 15 points, three assists, two rebounds, and two steals while Nelson added nine points, eight rebounds, and one steal.
John Gerdemann dominated the boards as he had one point, 11 rebounds, one assist, and one block; Dylan Hoover tallied six points, three assists, and two steals; Teague had three points, four rebounds, and two assists; Kyle Decker had two rebounds and one steal; and Alex Culver had three rebounds and one steal.