Community R-6 Trojans (5-19) fell to Higbee (18-5) in their final game of the District 1, Class 10 tournament on Feb. 24, 61-31, but not before making some individual plays that wowed the crowd. Photo by Paul R. Evans
Van-Far boys defeat Sturgeon 68-63
During the first round of District 5 on Monday, Feb. 22, the Van-Far boys edged Sturgeon, 68-63.
“Tonight was a huge W for us,” said Coach Pat Connaway. “To have that many young kids out there on the floor mixed in with some upperclassmen and get a district W in most of the kids’ first ever one and done elimination game was huge.”
Connaway was pleased with how hard his team played.
“Early on, Sturgeon’s size–all five starters over 6 foot tall–really bothered us, but we quickly realized that we could off-set that size with our speed,” Connaway said.
The Indians forced 21 turnovers with a season high 15 steals. LaTrell Wright scored 16 of his game high 26 in the first half and was really working defensively and on the boards. The team came out a little flat in the third quarter while Sturgeon built a 10-point lead.
“It was a breaking point for our season, down 10,” Connaway said.
Van-Far found its answer very quickly as Nikos Connaway was able to get to the rim and cut the lead to 8, and then on the next possession he was able to knock down a three and cut the lead in half. That’s when Wright got a steal, and Nikos found Cayden Caldwell in the corner for another three. The team had closed the gap to just two points at the end of the third.
The Indians held Sturgeon to just 11 points in the fourth quarter and knocked down some big shots. Nikos hit three of his five three pointers in the final quarter, ending the night with 24 points, and Wright made two free throws to ice the game for a five-point district win.
“I am so happy for these kids and the emotion in the locker room was incredible,” Connaway said. “The young kids got to learn and experience what a postseason win is like, and the older kids, especially our seniors, who know what it is like to win, got to keep their season going.
Unfortunately, the boys lost on the road 57-32 in the next round to New Haven, the No. 1 seed, on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
“It wasn’t a good time to not play our best,” Connaway said.
But Connaway said he was very proud of the Van-Far varsity team.
“To our seniors–thank you for four wonderful years and for being not only great teammates, but great individuals on and off the floor… It’s always bittersweet when the season ends, but I am proud of what we accomplished this year.”