The Van-Far boys basketball team moved its record to 3-0 in the EMO Conference after picking up a pair of victories last week over North Callaway and Silex.
Van-Far jumped out to a 22-8 first quarter lead over North Callaway and never looked back in its 67-31 victory over the Thunderbirds.
“Tonight we came out of the gate red hot,” said Van-Far head boys basketball coach Pat Connaway. “We were full of energy, our defense was excellent, and we shot the ball really well.”
The Indians carried the momentum into the second quarter as they outscored North Callaway 23-11 for a 45-19 halftime lead behind eight first-half 3-pointers.
“I’m not sure if we could play a better all around half of basketball,” Connaway noted.
Connaway challenged his team at halftime to not settle with the big lead.
His team did just enough in the second half to hold on for the 36-point win.
Josh Hodde led the team with 17 points while Lathyn McMorris added 16 points and six rebounds. Brayden Christian had 10 points and eight rebounds. Parker Wallace had six rebounds.
Van-Far made 18-of-27 free throws.
Van-Far picked up another big EMO Conference win in the week as they traveled to Silex and left with a 69-51 win.
Offensively, the Indians struggled early to get into a good flow as McMorris picked up his second foul just four minutes into the game and had to sit the rest of the first quarter.
Fortunately, All-Conference/First Team EMO Conference selection and returning scorer Nick Barnes returned to the lineup coming off MCL surgery.
Barnes finished with 12 points.
“Even though Nick isn’t fully 100% having our leader back out there just makes us better and makes everyone else better,” Connaway said.
Before halftime, Barnes and Hodde each hit two 3-pointers as the Indians led 34-29 at halftime.
The team adjusted its goal defensively to hold Silex to just 50 points in the game, knowing that was needed to secure the victory.
Barnes hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to give Van-Far a 10-point lead.
While McMorris was battling foul trouble, Hodde took control of the game scoring 10 of his team-high 41 points in the final quarter.
“It was nice to see us play through some adversity and it was nice to see Nick get some minutes and it was also nice to get a tough road win,” Connaway said.
Hodde scored 31 points and six rebounds; Barnes had 12 points; Christian had 11 points and seven rebounds; and Wyatt McDowell had nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Indians made 10-of-20 3-point shots in the win.
Loss to Monroe City
Van-Far finished the week with a tough 56-51 loss to Monroe City.
The Indians surprised the Panthers early by taking a 16-11 first quarter lead. Van-Far was in the bonus in the first quarter but couldn’t get to the line as much as it wanted to.
Unfortunately, the Panthers closed out the first half on a 7-0 run and led 31-24 at halftime.
Van-Far trailed by seven points with two minutes left in the game before McMorris his a 3-pointer and Christian made four free throws to tie the game at 49.
The game went into overtime, where Monroe City won by five points.
“I was extremely pleased with our effort tonight,” Connaway said. “We battled and fought all night…We’re definitely going in the right direction and I think teams around the area won’t be taking Van-Far for granted any more.”
McMorris finished with 19 points; Hodde had 15 points; Christian added eight points and eight rebounds; and McDowell chipped in six points and eight rebounds.