Valley Christian girls rout Sebring
Snyder sisters’ quickness buries Sebring
By ERIC FORTUNE
Sometimes size can overcome quickness.
The Valley Christian Eagles were at a size disadvantage in their Division IV sectional semifinal matchup against the Sebring Trojans.
But since they play in the Portage Trail Conference which consists of teams in Summit, Medina, and Stark Counties, not a lot of area teams get to see them.
If they weren’t on the radar before Wednesday’s night game, they are now as they rolled to a 64-26 victory thanks in large part to their overwhelming team speed.
“They were quick all around,” Sebring coach Brian Palmer said. I knew we were going to be bigger than them. We wanted to crowd the paint so they couldn’t use that speed. We wanted to pound the ball inside. Their quickness was just too quick for our guards. We just needed to be strong with the ball.”
The Trojans (2-20) were sloppy with the ball which gave the Eagles (14-6) many fast-break opportunities that allowed them to jump out to a 22-2 lead after the opening quarter, thanks to a flurry of turnovers generated by sisters India and Imane Snyder.
India finished with a game-high 15 points and Imane added 12. Kristen Gill had eight.
“We wanted to be careful that we didn’t get sloppy,” Valley Christian coach Bill Hoelzel said. “When you play down to your competition, and this isn’t meant to be offensive, you open yourself up to injury. We wanted to play sharp, crisp and our game. That’s exactly what we did.”
The game could have definitely gotten ugly as the night progressed, but Sebring kept at it and despite the turnovers, they shot 39.3 percent for the game but were limited to just 28 field-goal attempts for the game. Abigayle D’astroph led the Trojans with eight points.
The Trojans never got to see if their size could have created issues as they fell behind so quickly.
“We had a size disadvantage obviously,” Hoelzel said. “They were much taller than us. It’s always that way when we play. I just don’t have any size. We have to maximize our athleticism.”
The Eagles attempted 28 shots in the opening quarter and just shot 37.5 percent but opened up such a cushy lead that their shooting improved because they continued to get high percentage shots from the costly Sebring turnovers.
The Snyder sisters created most of them.
“You can’t coach that,” Hoelzel said. “They just play intuitively with each other. You can’t coach that and I won’t take any credit for that. They are fantastic athletes. They understand passing lanes. They maximize everything. They have great handwork and great footwork. They were able to take those turnovers and convert them into quick scores.”
Valley Christian built out a 40-7 advantage at the half and really never got to run as many offensive sets as Hoelzel would have liked, but got the tuneup they needed as they march on to face Liberty on Saturday.
“We toned it way back,” Hoelzel said. “We have a lot more offensive sets that we could have run. We really didn’t because they were struggling to handle the ball. We really didn’t get an opportunity to run our presses like we would. It just got out of hand too quick.