After Louisiana surprisingly took a shot with around :13 left on the clock in a tied championship game, there was plenty of time remaining for the Indians to set up a game-winning play to give them their first Bowling Green Tournament title since 2006.
With :8.6 seconds left on the clock, the Indians inbounded the ball before Josh Hodde passed the ball to Trey Miller down on the block. Miller muscled his way to the basket and scored at the buzzer to give the top-seeded Indians the championship.
Van-Far’s players and coaches were excited after winning a tournament in which Caden Wilburn was named MVP and the team, along with the girls squad, also received the Sportsmanship Award.
“Trey just bulled it and rolled it in there,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway on the game-winning basket.
Early in the game, it appeared Louisiana head coach Matt Smith’s familiarity with Van-Far’s players might be too much to overcome as the Indians offense had just 14 first-half points.
The Bulldogs put together a 9-0 run in the second quarter to push their lead to double digits.
Van-Far did end the half on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to eight as the Indians made just 1-of-8 3-pointers in the first half and turned the ball over 13 times.
Van-Far’s Lathyn McMorris, who just returned to the team after battling an injury in the semifinals, saw some time on the floor at the end of the first half. He got his legs under him in the third quarter and his effort made a difference.
He made two 3-pointers in the third, with the last one coming in the final minute to cut the lead to four.
Van-Far could have been in better position but they made just 3-of-9 free throws in the frame.
The Indians opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the game, going up 40-36.
While Van-Far struggled at the free throw line, Louisiana made their free throws count as they nailed 7-of-8.
McMorris scored six points in the quarter, including a near 3-point play that tied the game at 45-45 with :56.4 seconds left on the clock.
The Indians made just 9-of-21 free throws in the win while Louisiana made 11-of-12.
Van-Far’s defense held two of Louisiana’s key players to just one field goal in the fourth quarter and a total of nine points.
McMorris finished the game with 13 points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal while Caden Wilburn tallied 11 points, five steals, four rebounds, and one assist.
Miller had six points and 10 rebounds; Hodde added eight points, five assists, seven rebounds, and one steal; Brayden Christian added seven points, five rebounds, and one assist; while Verlyn Johnson had two points and two rebounds.
Both Caden Wilburn and Hodde were named to the all-tournament team.
In the semifinals, the Indians matched up with an Elsberry team with the return of McMorris to the squad.
The Indians’ defense held Elsberry’s big men to a combined four total points in a 66-46 dominating win.
Up 36-27 at halftime, the Indians pushed their edge to 18 at the end of the third.
In the fourth quarter, Van-Far moved the ball on one possession to run three minutes off the clock as they held on to a 20-point win.
“It was a huge confidence boost for us since they beat us by 10 at their place about three weeks ago,” Connaway said. “It was also nice to see Lathyn hit the floor again. He only played about five minutes, but he scored five points on three shots, including hitting a big 3-pointer.”
Caden Wilburn had 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
Hodde made 9-of-10 free throws and finished with 17 points, eight assists, and six rebounds.
Miller added 11 points and eight rebounds; Colin Wilburn scored six points; and McMorris finished with five points.
Van-Far made 19-of-23 free throws in the win.
In the first round, 10 different Indians scored and Caden Wilburn made four 3-pointers in a 60-20 win over Silex. The Indians’ defense held the Owls to five points or less in the final three quarters.
Caden Wilburn had 21 points and seven rebounds while Miller added nine points, five rebounds, and five assists. Treyson Culwell scored seven points; Hodde had six points and six rebounds; Riley Culwell scored six points; Christian had five rebounds; and Colin Wilburn added four assists.