FORT WAYNE – With court time for practice essentially wiped out by another week of winter, perhaps it came down to the Snider boys basketball team’s accumulated court time in actual games through the years that helped it beat Bishop Luers.
The host Panthers (12-4, 5-2 SAC) committed a season-high 19 turnovers but made 10 of 12 free throws for all of their points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Knights 59-56 Friday night, earning their sixth straight win and 10th in 11 games.
I was worried about it all week, said Snider coach John Todor, whose team logged only two hours of practice this week due to cancellations. We struggled catching the ball, struggled shooting the ball, struggled handling the ball, and we made some decisions we usually don’t make with the ball and took some shots we usually don’t take.
The Panthers shot just 32 percent from the field but made up for it by connecting on 24 of 30 free throws.
They also banked on the experience of a group of veterans who have been playing together for a few seasons.
Senior Trey’von Covington led Snider with 16 points, including 11 in the second half, while brothers Devlyn and Malik Williams added 15 and 14 points, respectively.
We got some leadership from our upperclassmen, Todor said. We just made some good decisions late. (Luers) came out inspired; hats off to them. Their young kids played really well for them. We were fortunate to get the win there at the end of the game.
The Knights (8-5, 3-4), with just two seniors and a freshman point guard, overcame a 10-point first-quarter deficit and a nine-point deficit in the third quarter and kept the Panthers on edge all night. Luers senior Austyn Rybicki, who had a game-high 20 points, hit a free throw with 4:40 left in the game to force the night’s seventh tie at 53.
The score stayed that way until senior Andre Grant’s free throw put the Knights up 54-53 with 1:29 remaining. Devlyn Williams, however, was fouled while rebounding Grant’s second miss and converted two free throws to put Snider up for good 55-54.
Snider hit 4 of 6 free throws in the final minute and finally secured the win when Knights freshman J.J. Foster missed a 3-pointer, which ended up in Leander Williams’ hands as time expired.
The Knights have lost three straight, all to the top three teams in the SAC – North Side, Wayne and Snider.
It wasn’t about effort today, it was about execution, said first-year Luers coach J.J. Foster, whose team hit just 3 of 8 free throws in the fourth quarter. (Snider has) got veteran guards. They’re battle-tested, and that’s just it.
I tell our guys, our margin of error is very small.
The Knights got 11 points off the bench from Malek Martin.