Both the Van-Far 7th and 8th grade boys basketball teams wrapped up an outstanding season last week after they combined for a 24-4 record. This was done in spite of both teams facing Class 4 Hannibal and Class 5 Troy in their final two games of the season.
7th grade team
The 7th grade Indians opened up their week with a tough 43-35 loss to Hannibal.
Van-Far trailed 15-8 at the end of the first quarter before rallying to take a 22-20 halftime lead.
Hannibal switched from a man defense to zone in the second half and the Indians were unable to overcome the Pirates in the final two quarters.
“First off I thought they kids player very well,” said Van-Far head coach Joe Basinger. “That is by far the best 7th grade team this year and maybe we’ll ever see.”
Trey Miller led the Indians with 23 points. Caden Wilburn scored seven points and Treyson Culwell added five points.
One night later against the largest middle school in the state, the Indians cruised to a 41-14 victory over Troy.
Van-Far led 26-11 at halftime and never looked back as they held Troy to just three second-half points.
“We just came out and did some nice things and jumped out on to them quick,” Basinger said.
Both Miller and Culwell scored 10 points. Dillion Minor scored seven points; both Wilburn and Verlyn Johnson scored four points; Tyler Robinson, Logan Wilson, and Chris Boos each scored two points.
Basinger was proud of his 7th grade team’s season. Their only losses came to an 8th grade team and Hannibal.
“We got ourselves late in the year into some good competition,” Basinger said. “I think we saw improvement in each and every kid and that’s what you want to see as a coach.”
8th grade team
The 8th grade Indians held on late for a 40-38 victory over Hannibal on Monday night.
Van-Far trailed 23-19 at halftime and were down 10 points at the end of the third quarter.
The Indians responded in the fourth by outscoring the Pirates 16-4.
“We didn’t handle their pressure really well the first three quarters,” Basinger said. “We weren’t cutting hard and getting to the middle we were suppose to do. When we started doing that, we started having more success in the fourth quarter…”
Lathyn McMorris led Van-Far with 16 points. Josh Hodde had 11 points, Brayden Christian had nine points, Colten Jensen scored two points, and both Parker Wallace and Walter Salmon, Jr. scored one point.
One night later, Van-Far trailed 14-7 at the end of the first quarter to Class 5 Troy before rallying to outscore the Trojans 37-28 in the final three quarters for the victory.
In the end of the game, Christian stole an inbound pass, dribble the ball down court, and passed it to McMorris who drove the base line and was fouled. He tied the game with one free throw.
With all of Van-Far’s players back away from the basket, McMorris managed to rebound his free throw miss and found his way back on the line to seal the win.
The Indians made 7-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Both McMorris and Hodde scored 15 points while Christian added seven points. Salmon, Jr. had four points, Jensen had two points, and Wallace scored one point.
Basinger was proud of his 8th grade team’s season.
“They’re just a group of kids from top to bottom that worked their tails off all season and really got better,” Basinger said. “…They brought it every day to practice and really got better from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”
Basinger added that he was thankful for the support of the parents of players on both teams this season.