In the main event of the six-team Gary Filbert varsity boys and girls basketball Classic on Saturday at Mexico, the Bulldogs will host a Van-Far squad that recently charted an impressive Eastern Missouri Conference win over North Callaway.
While it's unquestioned head coach Pat Connaway has the Indians playing well right now, on Dec. 9 Mexico head coach Darren Pappas coached his team to a 50-49 home win over Bowling Green that featured 16 points and five rebounds by Tyler Spargo and 14 points and five boards from Jai Lawson.
As is often the case, the Bulldogs also needed Jonathon Grubb, J'Marquay McGruder and Matthew Huffman to combine for 13 points and 14 boards, all of which helped the team stay undefeated in Pappas' first year top the program.
"The difference in the game tonight was the pressure we applied late to speed Bowling Green’s guards up to generate some turnovers which lead to transition points," said Pappas. "The guys showed me tonight that they can overcome adversity and stay together as a team. It was a great team win and I can’t give enough credit to Bowling Green for challenging us in every aspect of the game."
One difference between these teams is that while Mexico employs numerous different weapons, Van-Far's Lathyn McMorris is by far the most important element of the Indian's offense. For example, Friday in league action against Community R-6 he scored 42 with five assists and five rebounds, which Brayden Christian complimented by scoring 15 with five boards and five assists and Trey Miller added
10 points and seven rebounds.
"Lathyn hit five three's in the third and that gave him 10 three's for the game. (My assistant coach) and I had no idea that he had that many until the scores table told us he was one away from tying the school record so we decided to put him back in and give him a shot to tie the record in the 4th," Connaway said. "You hate to do that in a 30-plus point game, but when a kid like Lathyn has a chance to do something special you got to give him a chance to tie the 25 year old record."
Currently Van-Far is 4-0 overall, 2-0 EMO. Highlights include defeating the Thunderbirds at home 71-55 on Dec. 12, on Dec. 8 the Indians defeated the Trojans 89-55 in league play and on Nov. 30 the squad won 61-52 at Louisiana.
Mexico, 5-0 overall, 2-0 North Central Missouri Conference, tips off against the Indians on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.