The Ottumwa Courier


February 21, 2014

Sharp-shooting Saunders lifts V.B. past Sigourney in boys district hoops

PEKIN — Garrett Saunders has gotten pretty used to being part of winning teams at Van Buren.

During baseball season, Saunders was an integral part of the Warriors' first-ever state tournament qualifying team. That was followed up this past fall with a stint as the starting quarterback on the Warriors' first-ever state playoff football squad.

By this point, producing wins is something Saunders and his teammates are getting very accustomed to. On Thursday, Van Buren opened postseason play by producing a dominant 73-30 win over Sigourney in the second round of the Class 1A, District 10 tournament.

If the Warriors can produce three more wins this year, they’ll produce another reason for fans in and around Keosauqua to celebrate by producing the second trip ever to the state basketball tournament for legendary head coach Fred Parsons.

“This is the postseason. If you lose, you’re done,” Saunders said. “It’s time to go now. We’re going to come out and play hard against whoever we go up against.”

Thursday’s win was the 721st for Parsons, who is in his 53rd season at the helm of boys high school basketball in Van Buren County, saw his team accomplish one of its preseason goals with (also happened to be win number 720) earlier in the week. The Warriors beat Holy Trinity, 58-42, in a make-up game on Monday, clinching the Southeast Iowa Superconference south division title won over the likes of state tournament hopefuls Danville and Burlington-Notre Dame.

“It really helped having that game (on Monday) to get us prepared for the postseason,” Parsons said. “We certainly did not underestimate Sigourney. Frankly, we didn’t know all that much about them because we hadn’t seen them play.”

Despite having the opening-round bye, Van Buren played like a team that was primed for postseason action Thursday. Saunders hit his first shot of the night, a 3-pointer, to kick off a 10-0 start against the Savages.

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