FORT WAYNE – Seven minutes and 48 seconds. Twelve seconds shy of a quarter. Not quite an eternity, but close enough to pass for it.
That was the length of Snider’s epic stroll through the desert Friday night, which led directly to a 68-46 loss to North Side in the SAC boys basketball opener for both teams.
And, no, no one saw a drought like that coming. Not at all, said Tre’Vion Crews, who led North with 26 points.
Absolutely not, said North coach Shabaz Khaliq, who planned to caution his team that the 22-point spread over the Panthers is not something they should count on every night.
That it happened Friday owed primarily to North Side’s manic rebounding and pick-pocketing defense, which turned Snider over nine times in the first half and ignited the Panthers’ dry spell. It ran from the 1:40 mark of the first quarter to the 1:51 mark of the second – Snider (1-2) managed just two field goals in the last 9:40 of the half – and North Side (3-0) took advantage to score 17 straight points. That led to a 31-22 halftime lead for North, and an 8-2 run to start the third quarter ended the suspense.
We were pretty good tonight, Khaliq said. I mean, our guys, the intensity level was extremely high.
Because of that we played much better team defense than we did in the first two games. We didn’t give up back cuts, we didn’t give up to many offensive rebound putbacks, and we made them work for everything they got.
Crews, who scored 12 of his total in the fourth quarter to step on the Panthers’ air hose, concurred. Yeah, coach ’Baz, he hangs on us on the defensive end, Crews said. We work on defense night in and night out in practice.
They also work on sharing the basketball. Seven players scored for North, led by Crews and 6-foot-5 forward Mike Davis, who scored 19 including a trio of threes.
We’ve got a lot of kids that put the ball in the basket, and tonight we shared the ball, Khaliq said. When we share the ball, we’ll be a tough team to beat, as long as we rebound the ball. And I thought our guys were animals on the glass. The first two games we were terrible on the glass. Tonight we played like men.
Snider used an 11-0 run to take an early 15-9 lead, but then the Panthers went silent. North Side scored the last seven points of the first quarter, with a Davis steal and dunk just ahead of the horn sending North to the second quarter with a 16-15 lead. Snider never got even again, making just eight field goals while North Side expanded the lead to as much as 26 points.
That’s a big thing, Khaliq said. I always say the game’s about two parts of the game: The first part of the first quarter and first part of the third quarter. If you can survive those first few minutes, then you’ve got a pretty good chance to win the ballgame.