Van-Far had the chance to honor its seniors on Friday night at home against Eastern Missouri Conference rival Mark Twain. The Lady Indians and Indians each recognized three seniors as the Lady Indians lost 38-30 and then the Indians won 78-47.
The Lady Indians (1-16, 0-6 EMO) led 18-14 at halftime thanks to a 15-point second quarter, but then turnovers piled up and Mark Twain (3-15, 1-5 EMO) took advantage of 19 steals that led to the Lady Indians only scoring 12 points in the second half. Senior Carmen Wilburn, who was recognized along with McKenna Engh-Hoffman and Katelyn Sutton before the game, stepped up with 15 points and six rebounds on the same night she was named Courtwarming queen. Elliott Utterback followed with eight points, four rebounds and four steals, and Engh-Hoffman and Chloe Zumwalt each pulled down seven rebounds.
Jenna Ross led Mark Twain with 14 points, including nine in the fourth quarter.
"I felt like we were playing scared to lose instead of just playing to win," head coach Heather Minter said. "We had that six-point lead and then literally, within seconds, they got steals and layups and ballgame's tied. We lost all confidence."
The Indians' loss at state-ranked Montgomery County on Thursday was fresh in their minds and so was a slow 20-6 start after one quarter. This time, Van-Far (15-4, 5-1 EMO) led 25-12 after the first quarter and 48-19 at halftime, taking firm control of the boards with a 28-5 rebound advantage at the half and 38-14 advantage at the end of the game. After being honored before the girls game with Carter Jennings and Gage Gibson, Courtwarming king Nikos Connaway led the Indians with 25 points, nine rebounds and four steals, Jennings followed with 13 points and seven rebounds, Pacey Reading had 11 points and five rebounds, and Carson Huff added eight points.
Aydan Dye led Mark Twain (3-16, 1-5 EMO) with 16 points.
"A lot of it was it was at home," head coach Pat Connaway said. "This our 19th game, and it was only the fourth time we played here. After coming out a little timid last night, I think they wanted to bounce back and prove a point, 'We're better than what we showed last night.'"
The Indians play in the Superfan Shootout in Quincy on Saturday against state-ranked Illinois school Camp Point Central (16-5). The Lady Indians try to snap a 15-game losing streak at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at conference foe Wellsville-Middletown (10-8, 2-3 EMO).
Look for the full stories in the Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, edition of the Mexico Ledger.