With all due respect to Mid-Buchanan’s Bryce Kemper, how can Pat Connaway of Van-Far not be the slam dunk MBCA (Missouri Basketball Coaches Association) Class 2 Boys Basketball Coach of the Year. In my opinion, the biggest factor in determining the Coach of the Year winner is, who brought his team the farthest. There is also the thought that the coach of the State Champion gets the award. Either way, Connaway is the winner. Let me pause to say I have been on many All-State panels with the media (it is sad the media can’t get together anymore and put together All-State Basketball teams) and I’ve had my fair share of questions on why someone did or didn’t get selected, so I know it is a tough process.
Mid-Buchanan wasn’t a surprise to get to Springfield. They were ranked 2nd in the state coming into the postseason. Van-Far was not in the Top 10. The Indians beat Mid-Buchanan in the semis. Connaway passes the “came the farthest” test. Neither Van-Far or Hayti were in the top 10 rankings. Van-Far beat Hayti for the championship. Connaway passes the “we are the State Champion” test. And, he led the Indians to the title with only one player considered All-State. If you want to go back farther, I would submit Van-Far wasn’t favored to beat Canton in the district championship game on the Tigers home floor. And, how about the Indians in late game clutch situations? Connaway engineered a 13-point 4th quarter comeback against Milan in the quarterfinals and erased late deficits in both Show-Me Showdown games. For me, it all adds up to Pat Connaway of Van-Far as the Class 2 Boys Coach of the Year.
By the way, if you were curious, Van-Far has not been among the schools on the KRES All-Star ballot. There are a number of schools we try to provide coverage that aren’t on the ballot. With that, there are still 40!