Snider, Homestead win SAC Holiday Tournament boys semi finals

A change in schedule for this year’s event has made Friday a boys only day in the Summit Athletic Conference tournament. Games kicked off at 10 a.m. with the first semi final, followed by the second at noon.

Seeding stayed true to form with the top three seeds advancing to the day’s semi final. Top seeded Snider came into the semis led by Michael Eley (21 points versus Concordia) as they took on Northrop, led by Issac Anderson (18 points versus South Side).

In the noon semi final, it was second seeded Carroll, led by David Ejah (18 points versus Wayne) against third seeded Homestead led by Luke Goode (21 points versus Bishop Dwenger).

Northrop’s Khamani Smith grabs a long rebound from Snider’s Jaylen Lattimore (1), Jayshawn Underwood and Isaac Farnsworth (3) during the first half of December 28’s SAC Holiday Tournament semi final game.

(1) Snider 76, (4) Northrop 68

The Snider Panthers play tough. That is your message from Friday morning’s 10 a.m. semi final.

“When we could have folded, we showed just a ton of resolve. We got stops when we needed to everybody rebounded in the end and once you get a little momentum, shots seem to start falling,” Snider coach Jeremy Rauch said. “Truly a total team effort and super proud of the guys.”

Northrop attempted to impose their will and their frantic pace early as Sydney Curry took over with six points and five rebounds and Qualen Pettus made several nifty moves to the basket. The Bruins were able to get Snider’s Jayshawn Underwood and Dillon Duff into early foul trouble with their transition offense. Defensively, Northrop let Curry sit back in a hybrid zone and were content letting the Panthers shoot jump shots. Northrop led 19-13 after the first quarter.

When Curry picked up his second foul in the second quarter, the Panthers attacked defensively. Underwood ripped his fourth steal of the game with 6:30 to play and Issac Anderson immediately fouled him out of frustration picking up his second foul. When Jermaine Woods, uncharacteristically, nailed a three pointer at the 5:17 mark of the second quarter, the Panthers had pulled back within one, 20-21.

Snider’s Jayshawn Underwood looks for an opening around the defense of Northrop’s Khamani Smith during the semi final game of the SAC Holiday Tournament on December 28.

With 4:57 left in the first half, Duff got out on the break and avoided a defender with a behind the back move and an easy layup. Snider led 22-21.

A Pettus and-one with a minute and a half left int he quarter pushed the Northrop lead to eight, their biggest of the game. On the next possession, Anderson followed up a miss with a basket to make it a 10 point game for the first time in the contest. For Snider, it was Isaac Farnsworth who stepped up to end the quarter, scoring five straight points in the final 30 seconds of the half on a three pointer and a buzzer beating dribble drive. Northrop’s lead, that had ballooned up, was quickly back down to five at 32-27 at the halftime break.

Northrop started the second half with four straight points, culminating in Anderson sneaking out in transition for a basket as the Bruins tried to keep up the tempo. Snider tried to stifle the tempo with their patented 1-3-1 with Duff playing spoiler to attempts to get the ball into Curry. Snider made waves on a couple of triples from Eley, but Northrop capitalized on every fast break situation, forcing Duff to pick up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter on a dribble drive finish from Anderson.

After three, the Bruins led 54-52.

With 6:33 left in the game, Northrop pushed the lead back to eight points as Anderson and Pettus took it to Snider’s reserves, forcing errors by the Panthers. With 4:14 to play, Cleevas Craig was called for a touch foul at the basket and exchanged words with Curry that led to a technical foul on Craig and him fouling out of the game. Curry went to the foul line and missed two of the three foul shots. Northrop led 66-59.

Northrop’s Sydney Curry is defended by Snider’s Isaac Farnsworth (3) and Cleevas Craig during the second half of December 28’s game.

Duff’s free throws with 3:15 to play after calling for the ball and driving in on TaQuay White, made it a 66-63 game in favor of Northrop. There 2:27 left when Jon Barnes Jr. buried a three pointer from right in front of the Snider bench after Farnsworth blocked Curry’s shot on the other end. The triple from Barnes, as calm as he looked, completed yet another Snider comeback for their first lead of the second half, 68-66.

“From Issac coming in and changing the complexion of the game, Jermaine came in and hit a shot. When everybody contributes and everybody buys into the team concept, even when they are on the bench, we play engaged,” Rauch said.

The  Panthers pushed the lead to five on an Eley take, but Curry powered back with 42 seconds left to cut the Panthers lead to 71-68. After a lot of scrambling, Barnes went to the free throw line with 11.6 seconds remaining and hit both free throws to close out Snider’s 75-68 win.

Duff put the most points on the board for Snider with 22 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, Eley added 18 points and Farnsworth added nine points, four rebounds, two steals, his block of Curry late and two big charges taken on the defensive end.

“It is really how our teammates play for each other,” Farnsworth said. “I just get in and do what I have to do for my team. This is a game that has been talked about, so for us to be trailing like we did and come back and win, the sound of the crowd and the intensity, it was a great game to win.”

Northrop was led by 21 points from Anderson, Curry added 20 points and 14 rebounds and Pettus had 15 points.

BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Issac Farnsworth of Snider

Homestead’s Luke Goode asks for the ball from teammate Zak Krueger during the first half of December 28’s SAC Holiday Tournament semi final game. Defending is Carroll’s Dan McKeeman.

(3) Homestead 51, (2) Carroll 40

The annual Marty Beasley/Chris Johnson chess match proved to be just that in the day’s second semi final. The teams traded the lead through the first quarter, but the big play was made by Carroll, who used Ray Vollmer and Richie Gross to face guard Goode, who was unable to score until 2.5 seconds left in the first quarter.

When he did score, it was a pull up over a double team from 22 feet to bury a three and give Homestead a 12-6 first quarter ending lead. It only took him a minute into the second to hit his second and then a third three pointer just 90 seconds later. After being scoreless for almost eight full minutes, it took Goode just two minutes to grow his scoring to nine points on 3-of-3 shooting from long range.

“We stressed in the locker room that we needed to get a lead on them,” Goode said. “Our biggest thing is controlling the runs. We had to control that and control their offense.”

Goode’s shooting helped increase the halftime lead to 24-14.

Carroll’s David Ejah looks for the ball against the defense of Homestead’s Will Smith during a December 28 game.

Carroll looked to pull back into the game with their own jump shooting. A three pointer from Dan McKeeman and a pullup from Preston Shearer at the free throw line kept the game at 10 points in the third quarter, but Homestead continued to answer back. When David Ejah blocked Goode’s shot at 2:45 of the third quarter, the Spartans argued a possible goaltending call too long and Ryan Preston was able to get to the basket on the other end, getting fouled and cutting the lead back down to nine at 31-22.

Carroll headed into the fourth quarter down 36-25 after a strong quarter from McKeeman. He continued to hit in the fourth, cutting it to a six points game with just over four minutes to play, but Goode answered back immediately with his sixth three of the game on eight attempts to push the lead back into the Spartan comfort zone at 44-35.

“Marty is always going to have his team prepared, they are going to do things the right way, so it is always going to be tough to score against them and we knew that,” Johnson said. “It was a matter of can we hold them possession by possession. I’m proud of our kids, able to hit shots, able to extend a lead and do things we want to do then.”

For Homestead, the win was almost a carbon copy of their Thursday win over Bishop Dwenger: get an early lead and play in the 8 to 14 point range the rest of the way.

Goode led all scorers with 22 points for Homestead. McKeeman had 16 points for Carroll and Shearer added 10 points.

BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Luke Goode of Homestead

Homestead advances on to their second ever tournament final after appearing in 2016; they have never won. Their 7 p.m. opponent, Snider, has won two titles and finished runner up seven times. Snider last made the finals in 2014.

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