After nearly knocking off the No. 2 seed in the first round of the Madison Tournament, the Van-Far JV boys basketball team put themselves in a position to pick up a one win and possibly two victories over varsity competition.
After nearly upsetting Cairo in the Consolation semifinals, the JV Indians gained their elusive win when they knocked off Paris in the seventh place game.
Van-Far trailed Paris 15-10 in the first quarter before rallying to close the gap to just three points at halftime.
After a nine-point third quarter, the JV Indians managed to outscore the Coyotes 15-11 in the fourth quarter to upset Paris, 50-49.
“It was a back and forth battle,” said Van-Far head coach Pat Connaway. “Tonight we were able to execute down the stretch and walk out of there with a one point win. The boys played hard this entire tournament and it was good to see our guys get a varsity ‘W.’ We told the kids in the locker room, after the game, they should be proud of themselves. It’s not very often when the ‘buzz’ of the tournament is on a JV team. Everyone was very complimentary of our kids and it was a great experience for them to be able to compete with three varsity ball clubs. The loss to Cairo basically was the consolation championship as Cairo went on to beat Madison by 20 points. These kids need to be extremely proud of themselves and need to carry what we learned this week into the rest of the season.”
Verlyn Johnson led the Indians with 18 points; Verdell Johnson scored 10 points; Riley Culwell had nine; Sam Middleton, scored eight; and Rylee Hanson had five points.
In the Consolation Semifinals, the JV Indians trailed Cairo by 10 points at the end of the first quarter but the young squad settled down after the tough frame.
The JV Indians outscored Cairo 15-8 in the second quarter to cut the lead to three by halftime.
With just a minute to go in the game, the JV Indians managed to take a three-point lead. After Cairo scored one basket, they later came up with a loose ball to score with :25 seconds remaining on the clock for a one-point edge.
Down two with 3.1 seconds left in the game, Verdell Johnson tracked down the ball and launched a 3-pointer from the corner for the win but it just rattled out.
“It was a hard fought loss and a game we definitely could have won,” Connaway said.
Hanson led the JV Indians with 13 points; both Johnson brothers and Middleton scored nine points; Culwell had six points; and Trevor Lower scored three points.