Snider ended their 2017-18 season on a skid. After starting 8-6, including a quality win over Bishop Luers and a tight game with Huntington North, they began plummeting to an 8-15 finish.
Chalk that up to inexperience. The team’s lone senior contributor did a lot, but behind Hannah Barnes, there were a lot of freshmen among a smattering of sophomore and juniors. They all gained valuable experience to head into this season where the SAC could be widely considered open outside of the top spot.
“Getting to know the girls and playing with them on a regular basis, seeing their capabilities on defense is good for me,” first year Snider coach Gregory Addison said.
Senior Da’leshia Davis returns for her fourth go around on the varsity squad and has demonstrated a strong ability to lead the Panther program, even from her early days on the court. Davis averaged a second best 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Panthers and led the team in assists (2.9) and steals (3.3) per contest. She continues to be dangerous with the ball in her hands because she gets to the basket so well.
Fellow senior Nyasia Hardy didn’t boast the biggest stat line last season, but her willingness to work for the betterment of the team will see the Panthers instill a lot of trust in her. Addison says that he will want her to shoot more and develop into the team’s natural shooter. She and Davis will be joined heavily in the backcourt by junior Payton Gorman, who will see an increased role after averaging 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds last season.
“I want them to play together and increase the pace of the game to get other teams off their game,” Addison said.
In the frontcourt, Marqueisha Weeks returns after limited time as a sophomore. The SAC has gotten smaller in a lot of ways and if Weeks can play tough inside, it can give Snider an edge.
A pair of freshmen, 6-foot-2 Olivia Mcgillicuddy and 6-1 Niesha Anderson will add to depth in the post.
While the scoring will come, likely led by Davis, Addison wants Snider to be a more defensive minded team. Last season’s team gave up almost eight more points per game (52.1) than they scored. Addison thinks that bringing in Snider alum Liza Clemons to his staff will help his preferred defensive style to be implemented easier.
“One of my goals for them is to be one of the top teams on defense in the SAC,” Addison said. “I want to get them on a Division I speed.”
Davis is as seasoned as anyone in the Fort Wayne Community School side of the SAC. She has paid her dues from the time she was thrown into the fire as a freshman. Her grit plays a big role in Snider’s ranking. But around her, there are plenty more battle tested girls because of last year’s small senior class. Snider has experience.
Why not higher?
How about we contradict why they are at the eight spot? For as much experience as they have, Snider has a lot to prove. Someone has to make up for Hannah Barnes’ leadership and production. And perhaps most importantly, we do not yet know what we are getting in Addison as a coach on this level. He has a solid vision for his program, but how does it play out?
November 10 at Bishop Dwenger will be a telling game. On paper, Snider is stronger, more athletic and better than the Saints. But if there is one thing that Bishop Dwenger always has going for them, it is composure. Snider had some games they should have won last year but didn’t. Can they play sound enough to beat a team that will just play quality basketball?