This Snider team is different — it plays hard Panthers rout Carroll to stay undefeated in the SAC

When Snider knocked off North Side in mid-December, we took notice but did not buy in to the Panthers.

After all, we had seen this before.

Countless times over the last several years, Snider would follow up a big-time victory by falling completely flat against an average opponent. It became the team’s modus operandi – great one night, average the next.

Sure, the Panthers have had some slipups this season. New Haven and Warsaw come to mind. But Friday’s 72-54 demolition of Carroll (8-5, 4-2) to keep Snider undefeated in the SAC showed that this team under first-year coach Jeremy Rauch may have staying power.

“I feel like this team is different,” said senior Jordan Gorman.

This is indeed a different team. No longer do the Panthers take a possession off here or a two-minute mental timeout there. Rauch has this team locked in and playing as hard as it can for 32 minutes.

Talent gets you wins, but consistent and hard-working talent wins you championships.

With Friday’s victory, Snider (9-5, 6-0) inches closer to its first regular-season league championship since 2009.

The Panthers’ Michael Barnfield led all scorers with 21 points while Keondre Brown and Malik Williams added 13 apiece.

“We played hard (tonight),” said Snider coach Jeremy Rauch. “We are taking pride in our defense. We have guys who want to take on the challenge of guarding a team’s best player.”

On Friday, that best player was Jacob Redding, who was defending by senior Deangelo Stroud. Known for his ability to rush quarterbacks off the edge in football, Stroud was quick, physical and disruptive in defending Carroll’s leading scorer. Redding didn’t score until midway through the fourth quarter with his down by nearly 25 points.

Redding finished 2-of-7 from the field and six points.

“He has the ability, he takes pride in his defense and he never wears down,” Rauch said.

It is no secret what it takes to play hard – desire. The last few Snider teams did not have the desire to be a good basketball team for 32 minutes.

This one does.

Sure, plenty of victories will come when a team has a 7-foot stud with the wingspan of a pterodactyl. But this year’s team is working hard to make sure it achieves all it possibly can.

There’s no secret to the success.

“The credit goes to the guys,” Rauch said. “I don’t know if it’s any magical formula other than expecting it, demanding it, holding people accountable and seeing success with it and then everybody buying in.

“I think that’s where we’re at now.”

No coach, where you’re at right now is three victories away from an SAC title. <br>