In a match-up of sectional opponents from a year ago and two teams likely headed for a battle in this season’s district tournament, the Van-Far Indians knocked off a solid Elsberry squad 73-59 last Tuesday night.
Van-Far led by two at the end of the first quarter before pushing their lead to five at halftime.
Van-Far’s defense took over in the third quarter as they outscored Elsberry 19-7.
The home Indians then had a strong fourth quarter to put Elsberry away for a 14-point win.
“Tonight was a big game for us,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway. “We needed to bounce back from Saturday’s loss to Mexico and we wanted to beat a very good EMO opponent that we could see three more times this season. We wanted to pressure the ball full court and try to wear them down. We knew we would give up some easy baskets, but we wanted to play fast. We thought we were deeper than them and our post kids could out run theirs.”
Van-Far won the battle in the paint behind the play of Verlyn Johnson and Trey Miller. Verlyn Johnson had 15 points and nine rebounds while Miller added 12 points and six rebounds.
Caden Wilburn had a career night scoring 26 points, five rebounds, and five assists. He also made 12-of-15 free throws in the win.
Van-Far’s bench had a strong night as well.
Individually, Colin Wilburn had nine points and five rebounds; Sam Middleton scored five points; Verdell Johnson had four points; and Trevor Lower scored two points.
Connaway was thankful for the fan support.
“We had a great crowd and the boys fed off of them and we definitely appreciate the support,” Connaway added. “We ask that everyone follow us on the road the entire month of January as we play in three tournaments and two other road games. We won’t be back home to play for approximately 42 days.”
Van-Far is now 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the EMO Conference.