Despite playing earlier than expected on Thursday at home and having a few players under the weather, the Van-Far boys defeated Class 3 South Shelby 60-46 after pulling away 34-23 in the second half. The Indians played about an hour earlier than expected due to the Lady Indians having to cancel their game against South Shelby due to sickness in the locker room.
Head coach Pat Connaway said Van-Far (18-5) was beaten from a physical standpoint in Saturday's Superfan Shootout game in Quincy, Illinois, against Illinois state-ranked Camp Point Central (whose kids won a state football championship last year) so the Indians bested another football program South Shelby (11-11 now in basketball but was 10-1 in football) in that aspect. Van-Far won the rebounding battle 33-18 and eventually pushed its lead to as big as 23 points in the second half after holding on to a 26-23 advantage at halftime.
Pacey Reading was hot from the perimeter, finishing with a team-high 22 points and a career-high six 3-pointers. Carson Huff made a statement by pulling down eight rebounds to go with 10 points, and Gaven Gaston added eight boards of his own to along with six points. Leading scorer Nikos Connaway didn't score all of his seven points until the fourth quarter but helped the team in a huge way with 13 rebounds and eight assists, following his first career triple-double (by recording a quadruple-double) in the previous win on Tuesday at Wellsville-Middletown, which was the first time the Indians scored 90 points this season.
Van-Far now has its most wins since 2020's record of 22-7 and it switches its focus quickly to 7 p.m. Friday night at home against Eastern Missouri Conference foe Clopton, who Van-Far defeated earlier this season 62-46 for the Bowling Green tournament championship.
Look for the full story on the Mexico Ledger website on Saturday and more news on the Indians in the Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, edition of the Mexico Ledger.