FORT WAYNE – It was worth the wait for the Snider boys basketball team.
The Panthers started the season later than usual because of the football team’s run to the Class 5A state finals, but they made it worth the wait with a 75-71 victory over visiting North Side on Friday.
We needed to play someone else, Snider coach John Todor said. It is a long season, and this is the first of many.
Snider outscored North Side (3-2, 0-1) in a back-and-forth second half, 48-45. Down 67-61 midway through the fourth quarter, the Panthers finished on a 14-4 run.
It was a nice comeback, Snider junior Stephen Halstead said. It was a home game, and we had to get it. We kept our cool, and we got the win out of it, but we could have played better.
The Panthers led 52-48 when North Side got a seven-point possession to take a 55-52 lead early in the fourth. The Redskins got a three-point play by Dwight Richards, who also hit 1 of 2 free throws on a technical foul on Snider’s Josh Spitnale, who also picked up the personal foul and subsequently fouled out. Jeremy Jones then drained a three-pointer to complete the seven-point trip.
I called a timeout and told them let’s step up and clamp down, Todor said. I told them to fight back. We needed to have pride on our home floor. We didn’t give up. Last year we did a lot of that, where we got down late; something would go wrong, and we would give up. We have really worked on it – fighting – in the offseason.
The Panthers completed the comeback by hitting 21 of 25 from the free-throw line, including 15 of 17 in the fourth quarter.
It is a lot of practicing against your own guys, Halstead said of the later opener.
The JV guys know what you are going to do, you can’t score and you think you are not as good as you are, but it was nice to play someone else.
Halstead led the Panthers with 18 points, Jared Harvey had 16, Trey’Von Covington 12 and Aaron Washington and Devlyn Williams each had 11.
North Side, which has lost two straight, got 23 points from Mike Davis, 15 from Richards and 12 from Jones.
Snider led 19-9 after the first, but North Side trimmed the advantage to 27-26 at halftime.
Both teams came out hot in the second half, with the lead going back and forth.
The Panthers made 9 of 15 from the floor in the third, while the Redskins were 8 of 15, as Snider led 48-45 heading into the fourth.