Blackhawk Christian pushed back against Snider's defensive intensity in the second half and came away with a 68-56 victory Tuesday at Snider.
The Braves shot just two 3-pointers in the second half while establishing sophomore Caleb Furst in the post. Furst finished with 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting with 18 points coming in the paint.
“I thought we settled a little offensively after we had some early open looks,” Blackhawk Christian coach Marc Davidson said. “But we knew that getting it to the rim was going to be hard for them to guard.”
Early on, it was Frankie Davidson's hot hand from mid-range that established a lead for the Braves. But after Dillon Duff took over guarding the Blackhawk Christian senior, the momentum shifted. Snider cut down on the Braves' interior looks, including Duff's denial of an attempted lob to Davidson that led to Jon Barnes tying the game at 14 with a 3-pointer.
Furst started the second quarter with five points before Duff hit the Panthers' fifth 3-pointer near the six-minute mark. Half of the Panthers' first six baskets were from 3-point range. Midway through the second quarter, Duff hit a jumper to put Snider up 21-20.
A 3-pointer from Airyan Thomas gave Snider a 27-22 lead that stretched to 31-24 lead at halftime. Snider finished the game 10 of 27 from deep.
“Snider is a good basketball team and they are playing at a high level,” Marc Davidson said. “When they are making perimeter shots, they become hard to guard,”
Abe Hicks and Frankie Davidson seized momentum for the Braves early in the third before Furst scored on back-to-back trips with 5:29 left in the quarter – the first after backing down and shooting over Cleevas Craig, and then a two-handed dunk.
“I think we had 10 turnovers at the half so we talked about taking care of it and making smart passes,” Frankie Davidson said of the halftime adjustments.
With Duff in foul trouble, a significant portion of the Snider offense fell on Michael Eley. While the sophomore did lead his team with 17 points, he hit just 1 of 9 shots from 3-point range. He was constantly hounded by his the Braves' Zane Burke, a former middle school teammate.
“Zane Burke is a phenomenal defensive player,” Marc Davidson said. “The kid is such a selfless player that he may have taken one or two shots tonight but had a massive impact on that game because of the way he guarded.”
Blackhawk tied the game at 44 with under a minute left in the third quarter on a Hicks layup.
Furst backed down Jermaine Woods with 7:23 to play in the game to give Blackhawk a 48-47 lead they would relinquish.
“Caleb had mismatches all night and we knew that; we knew they couldn't guard him so we had to keep getting it to him,” said Frankie Davidson, who scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.
“Caleb, when he is aggressive and he is demanding the basketball, he is a handful,” Marc Davidson added. “I thought in the second half we did a much better job and were able to get it inside.
“With Caleb, we were just determined to get him the basketball and tell him to attack.”