OSSIAN — The Snider girls basketball team forced 22 turnovers and came away with a big 61-59 road win at Class 3A No. 1 Norwell on Wednesday.
“We were determined to play great defense,” Snider senior Kari Barnes said. “It wasn’t about offense anymore.
“We just had to lock in on our defense and take over. We planned to press them full court, man-to-man. There was a time where our coach asked us if we wanted to get into a 1-3-1 (zone), and we said no, we would rather stay in man.”
Snider (12-3) is ranked No. 9 in the 4A poll and No. 10 in the coaches’ poll. Norwell (15-2) is No. 5 in the coaches’ poll and has only lost to two 4A opponents in Penn and Snider.
“I hope it shows our girls that we are capable of playing with anyone,” Snider coach Ryan Gould said. “Hopefully we learned that if we play defense the way we are capable of, we can play with anybody in the state this year.”
Barnes’ layup with 26 seconds left gave Snider a 61-59 advantage.
“(The win) makes us feel great, especially coming off the loss we suffered last week against South Side,” Barnes said. “We really needed to pick ourselves back up, and this picked us all the way up.”
Coming back from a double-figure deficit, Norwell took a 57-54 lead with two minutes left on a three-pointer by Hanna Smith.
The defensive pressure helped the Panthers limit the number of times Norwell senior Jessica Rupright, a Miami of Ohio recruit, got the ball.
“We had some spurts where we really got after them,” Gould said. “They don’t play a lot of teams that pressure the way we try to pressure.
“We tried to pressure them as much as possible at the midcourt line and not let (Rupright) have too many touches.”
IUPUI recruit Akilah Sims led the Panthers with 18 points, while Deja Wimby had 15, Barnes 13 and Meredith Shipman 11.
For Norwell, Rupright scored 16 points, Sophie Gerber 15 and Paige Frisch 10.
The Knights had 14 turnovers in the first half.
“We played at their pace at critical moments, and Snider’s good at that,” Norwell coach Eric Thornton said. “Playing against a team like that with that kind of pressure really helps us. Not too many teams can do what they do, and we are going to use this to our benefit.”