The championship contest of the Madison Tournament on Saturday proved to be just a little more than the Van-Far varsity boys' basketball team was ready for.
Salisbury, on the other hand, came in well suited for what lied ahead, taking leads of 16-11 in the first quarter and 28-22 in the second to defeat the Indians 67-49. Having been outscored 12-11 in the second and 17-15 in the third, Van-Far was down 45-37 heading in to the fourth prior to getting taken in the final session 22-12.
"Tonight I think we were a little too hyped up. We were ready to play and we weren't afraid of them," said coach Pat Connaway. "Early on we were a little strong on our jumpers and I think a lot of that was being amped up along with being a little nervous. It was our first time playing in a championship game so we new we would have a little jitters. Our defense really struggled getting a feel for the game."
Despite the fact things didn't quite go as planned, the Indians still had several individuals that stood out in this contest. This includes Trey Miller with 18 points and 14 rebounds, Lathyn McMorris scored 13 and adding eight points and eight rebounds was Josh Hodde. Caden Wilburn also put up eight points and pulling down six boards while scoring two was Brayden Christian.
"We challenged the boys to be physical with them and they did. Unfortunately for us we got in foul trouble early," Connaway said. "Lathyn picked up two fouls in barely over a minute in the first quarter and Brayden sat almost the entire secondwith two fouls. We were able to weather the storm in the first half, getting a lot of valuable minutes from our bench. Treyson, Colten, and Parker filled in nicely. Defensively we didn't lose much, but our offensive flow took a major hit."
For the game Van-Far went 19-for-48 from the floor, including 4-for-22 from the three-point line, and 7-for-19 from the free throw line. As for Salisbury, it connected on 26 of its' 45 field goals, outscored the Indians in the paint 46-30 and went 12-for-18 from the charity stripe.
"In the third we got off to a slow start and didn't hit many shots. They went on a run and built a 12 point lead," said Connaway. "We called a time out to settle the boys down and told them to keep chipping away because there was plenty of time left. Salisbury built a 19 point lead in the third and then we went on a nice run to cut the lead to eight going to the fourth. We still couldn't get our perimeter game going and then we went to scramble/gamble mode."
The Indians next hosted Elsberry on Monday and is at South Shelby on Jan. 10. Van-Far then travels to Bowling Green on Friday and is at the Palmyra Tournament Jan. 16-21.
"Hopefully, this loss will make the kids even hungrier and really want to keep pushing to be in those types of games," Connaway said. "This was a great week for us, it just had a disappointing ending. We need to now turn our attention to Elsberry. "We have a very busy week again heading into the Palmyra Tournament, which is loaded. January will be a difficult but good test for our kids. We will learn a lot about our toughness over the next three weeks."