Indians look to play up tempo this season
The Van-Far boys basketball team has a returning nucleus of talented players that are looking to help their team have a successful season one year after finishing 7-17 overall and 3-6 in the EMO Conference.
While losing just two players to graduation, the Indians are returning seniors Wyatt McDowell, Trenton DeTienne, and Nick Barnes.
Junior Sharrod Connor also returns alongside sophomores Josh Hodde, Lathyn McMorris, Brayden Christian, and Parker Wallace.
Incoming freshmen Trey Miller, Caden Wilburn, Treyson Culwell, and Dillion Minor are also expected to see time in the lineup this season.
While head coach Pat Connaway is excited about his team’s potential, the key will be how well some of his players recover from injuries suffered during football season.
“I expect us to be a lot better ball club all around then we were last year; a lot more competitive,” Connaway said. “Health is going to be a key thing. We have so many out due to injuries. Some young kids will have to do a lot more and be thrown into the fire.”
Some of the injured players include Barnes, Connor, Miller, and Culwell. Colten Jensen is already out for the year.
“So we’re kind of beat up right now,” Connaway said.
Offensively, the Indians will be more balanced and will not be as perimeter driven this year.
The Indians do expect to get some points in the paint and earn points on the free throw line.
Connaway wants his team to be more assertive and aggressive as the year goes on.
Defensively, Connaway said the Indians will be a solid man team.
“I think we will be able to pressure a lot on defense and hopefully turn up the intensity and create some turnovers,” Connaway added. “We do have some size. We will be a little more up tempo and have a little more full court pressure this year.”
The Indians play their first home game on December 1 against South Callaway.
Lady Indians hope softball success carries over to the Winter
The Van-Far Lady Indians basketball team is hoping a mix of returning and young players, who all had success on the softball diamond this past Fall by winning the school’s first ever district title in the program, will result in some success on the court.
Van-Far had a 4-20 overall record last year and lost four seniors to graduation.
Key returning players incudes Renee Nelson (Sr.), Jayda Borgmeyer (Jr.), Reaghan Case (So.), Hailey Hopke (Sr.), and Alexis DeTienne (Jr.).
Freshmen Jordan Garner and Jayle Jennings will also be keys to the Lady Indians’ success.
“My expectation for the team is to be quicker,” said head coach Kelly Orf. “We should be faster this year and will push the ball down the floor. This will be the first year we will play really well as a team. I have a really good group of girls that work well together. I don’t see this team giving up…”
Offensively, Orf he expects her players to take a lot of shots and she looks for her team to pick up more offensive boards.
Defensively, Orf looks for the Lady Indians to play with a lot of fire and aggressiveness.
Ten of the 12 players on the team were on the softball team this past Fall.
“I definitely think this gives the girls a lot of momentum, showing them it’s possible and not to count Van-Far out as we’ve been counted out in the past,” Orf added.
The Lady Indians open at home on November 30 against Western, Ill.