For several years, the Van-Far boys basketball team has been competitive in the annual Palmyra Tournament. Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway is hoping his team can regain that edge in the consolation semifinals after the Indians lost on Monday night to No. 1 seed Canton 73-34. The game was tied at 2-2 before Canton made an 18-0 run and never looked back. Canton led 47-15 at halftime before cruising to an easy 73-34 victory.
“We let them intimidate us; we didn’t want to handle the ball, we didn’t make good passes, and when we did we didn’t catch the basketball,” Connaway said. “We really struggled getting the ball up the floor, when we did we had good success inside. We definitely had a size advantage, but we weren’t able to capitalize on it. The first half was just poor all the way around…I was proud of the way we played in the second half; we didn’t quit…”
Brian Kurz led Van-Far with 11 points, Ryan Nelson added 10, Ryan Teague had six, Ethan Gooch scored five, and Alex Culver had two. Van-Far started its week by picking up a second victory of the season over Wellsville 55-40 for a road EMO Conference victory.
The Indians jumped out to an early 16-7 lead before Wellsville rallied to close the gap to just two points.
“We let Wellsville back into the game which in turn got their crowd back into it,” Connaway said. “Anytime we would build a double figure lead they would chop it back down to a four or five point game.”
Van-Far finally pulled away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Wellsville 15-5 to pick up a 15-point victory.
“In the fourth quarter we were able to expand on our lead and keep it,” Connaway added. “It was good for us to learn how to play with a lead; it is something we haven’t been able to do much this season.”
Four players scored in double figures to lift the Indians to the win.
Both Gooch and Kurz finished with 13 points, Teague added 12 points, and Nelson had 11 points. Kurz and Nelson each had double-doubles.
“Offensively we had great balance tonight,” Connaway said. “Anytime you have four players score in double figures you are moving the ball well and getting everyone involved in the offense. This is the kind of balance we need to have every night.”