DAN VANCE: Snider’s age is just a number; Panthers showed signs of life in loss to Tindley

Snider sophomore Issac Farnsworth looks for an opening in the first half of Friday's loss to Tindley. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)
Snider's Michael Eley battles for rebound position with Tindley's Andrew Knox on Friday. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)

Snider is going to have to go through some growing pains.

You know that. They know that.

So let me tell you something you don’t know: age doesn’t mean anything to them. Nor should it.

Snider certainly didn’t look like an underclass loaded squad for big parts of their 76-67 loss to Class 1A #2 Indianapolis Tindley on Friday in the third game of the Marion Classic. It is not to say that Tindley didn’t romp at times, including a heavy second quarter, a late fourth quarter burst and pretty much anytime that Purdue recruit Eric Hunter touched the ball.

It was a good test for Snider’s youth. It was a good time for the Panthers to say that they want to win now and that this isn’t a year to just build for a future. So when the second quarter didn’t go so well or Hunter hit every shot where the Panthers put a defensive hand in his face, they couldn’t build, they needed to respond.

“Everybody is inexperienced to some extent, at the very least in terms of the roles and expectations have for them. It was interesting to see how we were going to respond,” said Panther coach Jeremy Rauch. “Kind of a lethargic first half. Got some things done in the first quarter, but got outscored by 11 in the second quarter and I thought we responded well.”

A big part of the response was from the youth. Seniors Keondre Brown, Jonqwell Lee and Lawrence Johnson all did their part to effect the game. But that is expected. They are the most seasoned. But if Snider is going to win now, it can’t just be those guys — it won’t.

Sophomore Dillon Duff put on a varsity uniform a year ago, but as Rauch will tell you, is pretty much new to the varsity scene too. Freshman Michael Eley and sophomore Isaac Farnsworth are both new to the Snider program and both finding their legs as well.

“The nice thing about those two guys is they bring energy on both ends. So when they lose themselves in playing hard, they are willing passers and when they’ve bought into the team concept, then good things happen,” Rauch said. “We have to be a process oriented team. We understand that although we didn’t get it done, we made some strides forward today and because of that, these guys have something to build on.”

In the second half, when the Panthers made their big strides, that duo seemed to see their confidence shoot through the roof. Farnsworth made clutch shots down the stretch, finishing with 11 points on 3 of 5 shooting from deep. Ealy, who also buried a pair of threes in the game seemed like a different player than the one who had some pause in the first half.

That is responding and building now.

Expectation means everything. The guys who felt the thrill of winning the Summit Athletic Conference a year ago, they expect to win. The feeling is starting to get contagious with the young guys. They are starting to learn that age doesn’t matter.

In the end, Tindley was too much. Hunter ended with 43 points on 15 of 22 shooting. Snider challenged him, they challenged the entire Tindley team. But the Tigers rose up, the way that Rauch hopes his Panthers will.

“Every possession matters, we have to make sure that we are locked in especially defensively,” he said. “We have to get to the point where we expect to win how they made plays at the end. That’s what we want to get to and so, if nothing else, it was a good model of what good teams do.”

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Dan Vance at dvance@news-sentinel.com