The People's Tribune

Indians Sting Bulldogs To Win Tournament Championship Title

A miss, a timeout and a kiss off the glass led the Van-Far Indians to a last second hoop to win the 93rd Annual Bowling Green Invitational 47-45 over Louisiana on Saturday night.

It was the Bulldogs that led most of the night, at one time by as many as 11 points over the top-seeded team in the tournament.

Michael Francis, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, took advantage of the Indians focus on Derek Richards in the opening two quarters.

Francis hit a big three in the second and racked up nine first half points to stake the Bulldogs to a 22-14 lead by halftime.

The Indians made an adjustment in the locker room and came out hot in the third quarter.

Lathyn McMorris, in his second game back from injury, came off the bench and drained a pair of three pointers in the third for the Indians.

Tournament MVP Caden Wilburn also scored six points in the third as Van-Far outscored the Bulldogs 18-14 in the quarter to cut the deficit to just four points heading to the final quarter.

The lead changed hands five times in the final quarter, but the game was tied in the final minute.

With overtime looming, the Bulldogs looked to kill the clock for the final shot.

With just under 10 seconds left, the Bulldogs had the ball in the hands of their most clutch shooter, Derek Richards.

Richards abandoned his patented drive to shoot a pull-up mid-range jump shot. The jumper rimmed out and the Indians grabbed the rebound.

Van-Far raced up the right sideline accross the center stripe looking for the game-winner when Coach Pat Connaway called a timeout to stop the clock.

Connaway explained he called the timeout to prevent Louisiana from another Richards shot to tie or win. Lathyn McMorris said “coach (Brett Reaing) tried to draw up a play, but it didn’t work out and just turned into a bunch of circles, so we ran a play we knew”.

The play, found the ball in the ball in the hands of junior Trey Miller.

Miller initially bobbled a pass from Josh Hodde, but gained control and put up a three footer off the glass to break the tie and earn the Indians their first Bowling Green Tournament Title in 12 years.

“The game was tied with 30 seconds to go and Josh played really good defense on Derrick and forced a pull up 15 footer which was off line and Lathyn grabbed the board and pushed the ball across half court and we called a time out with 8 seconds left,” explained Connaway. “Coach Reading drew up a set and the kids seemed a little confused so we decided to go with a set we knew and were more comfortable with. We told them we either were winning the game or we’re going to OT Louisiana wasn’t going to get another shot in regulation. We got the inbound to Josh, he hit Caden and Trey came to slip a screen, Caden passed to Josh and he fed the ball to Trey on the block and he bulled his way to the bucket and made the game winner at the horn. We didn’t execute the set correctly, but it all worked out in the end and the boys are Bowling Green Tournament Champs for the first time since 2006. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but the kids kept fighting and willed their way to a W. We can enjoy this W tonight and tomorrow, but we need to quickly shift our focus to a very good Montgomery County team that we have to play at their place on Tuesday,” he added.

Coach Matt Smith said the boys pushed and played extremely hard and executed the game plan pretty well.

“I knew if we put them on the free throw line and turned the ball over we could get beat. The second half we lost a little focus and did those two things which let them get back in the game. I probabale should have called another time out at the end to relay that we take the last shot,” he said.

Van-Far

The Indians dismantled Elsberry in the championship semifinal to advance to the title game, 66-46.

Caden Wilburn led the way with 18 points, Hodde scored 17; Trey Miller had nine, Collin Wilburn netted six, Lathyn McMorris and Brayden Christian eah scored five and Verlyn Johnson and Treyson Culwell each had two.

The Indians knocked off Silex in the opening round, 60-20.

Scoring: Caden Wilburn, 21; Miller, 9; Treyson Culwell, 7; Hodde, 6; Riley Culwell, 6; Christian, 3; Walter Salmon, Jr., 2; Johnson, 2; Rylee Hanson, 2.

Louisiana

The Louisiana Bulldogs advanced to the title game with a 51-43 victory over (2) North Callaway in semifinal.

Derek Richards led the way with 28 points, Zac Harrison had 12, Michael Francis scored seven, Dalton Oberhaus and Zach Ellsworth each had two.

The Bulldogs defeated (6) Winfield in the opening round, 51-40.

Scoring: Francis, 16; Richards, nine; Remi Feldewerth, nine; Harrison, six; King, six; Oberhaus, four.

All 22 games of the Bowling Green Tournament were featured on TribCast and can be accessed in the archive along with photo highlights from the week at www.thepeoplestribune.com.

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