Since both Snider and Bishop Luers went to SAC Holiday Tournament champion Carroll and picked up wins, things were lined up for this game being a big deal. And don’t let either team’s loss earlier this week take away from that.
Snider visits Bishop Luers on Friday night as the Outside the Huddle Game of the Weekend.
1. CONFERENCE TITLE SECURED
The storyline of the Summit Athletic Conference is simple: if Snider wins, they will be SAC champions. With South Side still on their schedule, the Panthers are not done in the SAC yet, but a win tonight would mean Snider would hold the tie breaker over any team they could end up tied with in the final standings. As the SAC is the only area conference that breaks ties, this is simple: win and win a title.
A Luers win means that we will be waiting another week for a Carroll/Homestead matchup to decide a conference winner officially and the Knights are in line to at least share the SAC title. There are a lot of scenarios at play but the bottom line is the winner of this game will have (at least) a piece of the SAC title.
2. WHO CAN KEEP THE PACE?
This is going to be a game with a lot of running as that is the style that both are comfortable playing. With the compacted confines of Bishop Luers’s gym, that run and gun game is going to be intense; mark my words. So who says ‘uncle’ first and can’t keep the rush? Snider has the experience edge and Luers has the momentum of being the underdog. Good luck keeping up with stats in a game like this because the trips up and down the floor won’t last long.
3. THE BOUNCE BACK
Both teams lost on Tuesday. You can either say both or neither were devastating. Luers would prefer to come into this game tied with Snider atop the SAC, but a loss to South Side stopped that, yet not a title chance. The Panthers were overwhelmed at Blackhawk Christian that same night watching the Braves hit shots at a very high percentage while they struggled.
Neither team wanted that early week loss before this matchup, but it is possible that they both put those games far in the rear view mirror. Both teams need to bounce back from those games.
FOUR PLAYERS TO WATCH
DILLON DUFF, SNIDER
With Luers’ inside length, Duff is going to have to play big and be a rim protector. Both John Peterson and Demarcus Hudson have long frames that will make them threats in the second chance points department so Duff will need to limit that. Averaging 16.9 points per game, Duff’s offense will need to be on par too after hitting just 5-of-19 shots on Tuesday.
DEMARCUS HUDSON, BISHOP LUERS
Hudson’s length, as previously mentioned, makes him a threat on both sides of the ball. With Jalen Causey’s emergence as a top scorer lately, Hudson has been able to shift roles and that chameleon approach will be key in filling in how the Knights need him. But don’t forget that he is still this team’s heavy handed scorer when needed.
JAYSHAWN UNDERWOOD, SNIDER
When you talk pace and winning a fast break game, Underwood is key and often clutch. He is going to fight for every inch as the Luers guards try to swarm him and make him make mistakes. Underwood having a level head is a significant key in this game.
LANDON MOORE, BISHOP LUERS
Moore may not be one of the top scorers for this Luers team, but he is certainly a firecracker in their offense. He gets things going with his attack first mindset, even if he isn’t always attacking the rim. Moore doesn’t have a slow down speed.
KEYS TO VICTORY – SNIDER
1. SHOOT THE BALL WELL
The Panthers shot just over 36 percent from the field on Tuesday. That was bad, but it also is mostly an anomaly. Snider needs to pick their shots well against the hounding Bishop Luers defense. Having willing shooters won’t be an issue, but they have to be dead eyes to prevent giving up scoring runs on the other end. Leading scorer Michael Eley will need to take charge and it could help if Karson Jenkins is back after missing Tuesday’s game.
2. DON’T GET COMFORTABLE
Snider plays well with the lead, they play well coming from behind. But they should never get comfortable with where they are at in this game. With the SAC title on the line, Snider needs to be in attack mode for 32 straight minutes and it will require coach Jeremy Rauch to make sure he has his sharpest lineup possible on the floor at all times.
KEYS TO VICTORY – BISHOP LUERS
1. TAKE CARE OF THE BALL
While the Knights are known for taking the ball away from loose dribbles, Snider can match them tick for tack on the break there. The Panthers have an experienced intelligence of on ball perimeter defense and guys like Underwood and Jon Barnes are very good at snaking the basketball away. Luers needs to treat that roundball like gold and the wealth of guys they have handling the ball on the wings all need to play at a high level.
2. EMBRACE UNDERDOG ROLE
This is a fair place to put Bishop Luers, despite their very good season they have laid out. Snider was built for this moment and this season so Luers is certainly in the spoiler role, not the favorite role. Embrace the fact that this is Snider’s game to win or lose and play the way you play confidently, as a team who is still and underdog.
This is going to be a fun pace, perhaps the most thrilling pace of the season if they do indeed both decide to pressure the ball and get out on the break. In the end, this comes down to want, will and experience. You can argue the first two if you want, but there is no doubt that Snider feels they have worked too hard to lose out now. Bounce picks Snider