The Van-Far 7th and 8th grade boys basketball teams have played many close games in their first full week of action.
The 8th grade Indians won two out of three games after picking up a pair of big wins.
Van-Far opened the season with a few nerves early before knocking off Clopton, 42-33.
Van-Far missed some easy shots early and had trouble with turning the ball before putting things together in the second half.
After a tied game at halftime, the Indians outscored the Hawks by nine points in the final two quarters to win the game.
Rylee Hanson scored a team-high 16 points.
“Rylee played really well. I thought he was very aggressive getting to the basket, which is what we need to him to do for us to be successful,” said head coach Joe Basinger. “If he is able to get to the rim that will help set up the shooters we have around the outside.”
Colin Wilburn added nine points, Sam Middleton scored eight, Trevor Lower had five, Verdell Johnson scored three, and Matthew Dunn added a free throw.
Their second win came on Friday night as they beat a larger school in Moberly, 44-26.
The Indians overcame Moberly’s pressure with some nice plays to break the press.
“I was really happy with the way kids made plays,” Basinger said. “I haven’t put a lot of different sets just trying to get kids to move and learn to play without a set, and I thought they did a much better job of making plays.”
Van-Far made 9-of-10 free throws in the loss, including 7-of-8 in the fourth quarter.
Hanson scored 14 points, Middleton had 12, Wilburn added 10, Johnson scored four, Lower had three, and Isaac Smith scored one point.
In their first loss of the season, the Indians mostly outplayed Bowling Green but the Bobcats were able to take advantage of some mistakes with a 37-36 win.
Wilburn scored a team-high 16 points in the win.
“Colin Wilburn played extremely well tonight he really took over in the second half and not just scoring but setting up shooters as well,” Basinger said. “Don’t know if I ever been more proud of a group of kids after a loss!”
Hanson had 10 points, Lower added six points, and Johnson scored four points.
The 7th grade team took the experience it gained in its 0-2 start to crush Winfield 48-28 on Friday night.
Indians’ players made good passes into the post and Van-Far took advantage behind the play of Dayton Sanders, who finished with 22 points. Preston Burnett added 14 points.
Latrell Wright and Trenton Lower each scored six points.
“Dayton is a big strong kid with good feet and soft hands and he played extremely well tonight,” Basinger said. “Preston did a great job of slashing to the basket and finding ways to score.”
Basinger said he was proud of his team’s defensive effort.
“Our guard defense improved tremendously over the previous two nights as we were able to apply a lot of pressure and make it hard for them to get into their offense,” Basinger added.
The 7th grade Indians nearly upset Bowling Green on Thursday night but lost 30-28 after not being able to get off a last second shot.
“The kids fought back from that and gave themselves a chance to win,” Basinger said. “Down two with about two seconds left and I drew up an out of bounds play which Bowling Green covered up and I told the kids I would call a timeout and I didn’t so I will take the blame for not getting a shot up at the end.”
In the fourth quarter, the Indians did make a 6-0 to take the lead back before Bowling Green took advantage of some turnovers.
Wright and Burnett each scored 10 points while Sanders had eight points.
In the opener, the Indians lost to Clopton, 37-19. Basinger said first game jitters was a factor as the squad made many turnovers and mistakes.
Cayden Caldwell and Wright both scored eight points. Burnett added two points and Sanders scored one point.
“The kids played extremely hard and we have some things we can build on,” Basinger said.