Though the Van-Far boys basketball team had set its sights on leaving Madison last week with a tournament championship, the one loss didn’t slow a much improved Indians team down as they dominated Paris to win third place after a 71-44 victory on Friday night.
The Indians outscored Paris in the final three quarters 57-32 after making 22-of-39 shots from the field.
“It was nice to get a third place victory and get these kids a feel for what it is like to have success in a tournament,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway.
Early on in the game, Paris stunned Van-Far by coming out and pushing the tempo as they led 17-14.
At the end of the quarter, Van-Far’s coaches stressed communication and commitment to defense and his team responded and moved the ball well offensively to take a 31-28 lead at halftime.
The Indians switched up their defense at the start of the third quarter while the offense was on a roll. Van-Far went on an 11-0 run and outscored Paris 26-11 in the third to blow open the game.
They made 11-of-17 shots from the field in the quarter along with four 3-pointers as seven different players scored in the quarter.
Leading the way for the Indians were their post players, who combined to score 24 points.
Brayden Christian showed off some solid post moves to score 14 points, three rebounds, one steal, and one assist while Wyatt McDowell added eight points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
“Brayden and Wyatt were active the entire night and this created several open looks for Nick (Barnes), Lathyn (McMorris), and Josh (Hodde),” Connaway said. “We were two points away from having five kids in double figures.”
Hodde scored a team-high 16 points, four assists, and three rebounds; Barnes tallied 14 points, eight assists, six steals, and four rebounds; McMorris added 11 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal; Caden Wilburn had two points; Walter Salmon, Jr. had two points; Parker Wallace added two points, one steal, one assist, and one rebound; Trenton DeTienne had two points, two rebounds, and one assist; Dillion Minor had one block; and Treyson Culwell had one rebound.
In the second round, the Indians couldn’t find their shot all night as they missed 7-of-24 shots inside the paint and 5-of-22 from 3-point range in a 47-40 loss to Cairo. They shot just 26% from the field, making 12-of-46 shots.
“We had several open looks again and just didn’t get them to fall,” Connaway said as his team struggled moving the ball against Cairo’s zone while not attacking their pressure. “…Any time you hold an opponent to 47 points, you need to find a way to get a ‘W’ and tonight we didn’t. Whenever we lose the points in the paint and rebound battles, we have lost this year and Cairo won both those battles and ultimately won the game.”
In the loss, Van-Far led 22-21 at halftime before being outscored 26-18 in the second half.
Christian had 16 points and nine rebounds; Barnes had 12 points; and both McMorris and McDowell had nine rebounds.
In the first round, the Indians blew the game open in the third quarter by outscoring the Trojans 24-7 and cruised to a 57-36 win over Community R-VI.
The Indians made just 3-of-15 3-pointers in the first half and were outhustled by the Trojans in the first half before managing to take a four point lead into halftime.
Van-Far responded to Coach Brett Reading’s halftime speech to shoot the ball with confidence and made eight 3-pointers in the second half.
Barnes made a 3-pointer in the corner with just four minutes left to put the Indians up 26 points and a timeout was called to recognize him for scoring his 1,000th career point.
“I was pleased with our defense all night,” Connaway added.
McMorris had 21 points and eight rebounds; Barnes added 17 points; and McDowell had nine rebounds. The Indians won the rebounding battle, 43-28.