KENDALLVILLE — Despite a coaching change this year for the Snider girls basketball team, the Panthers still have some familiar traits.
And one of those traits is defense.
The Panthers forced 39 turnovers in a 57-31 win over East Noble on Tuesday to improve to 7-1.
“Everyday we talk in practice about how defense is our bread and butter to spark us on our offense,” first-year coach Kelley Meiklejohn said. “Obviously we are quick. It is a given. We want to take our strengths and use it to our advantage, and one of them is pressure and force them into turnovers. Luckily, we were able to do that tonight.”
The Panthers have won five in a row and stopped the 6-3 Knights’ four-game winning streak.
“Getting a new coach was really good for us,” Snider sophomore guard Deja Wimby said. “We needed a female coach to give us more, and she knows what she is talking about. If we listen to her game plan, we will be fine.
“(The coaching change) was a lot easier than we expected, but I am glad she is here.”
Meiklejohn took over for Ryan Gould and has just tried to maintain what has been established in the program over the years.
“They are used to winning,” Meiklejohn said. “It hasn’t been much of a change, but I wanted to make it known that this is still Snider basketball, and I am a part of it and keep running with them.
“I didn’t want to change much because of the tradition, but at the same time we made some adjustments, and we are still making those adjustments. It’s going to be a year-long process.”
The Panthers’ lone loss was to defending Class A state champion and top-ranked Canterbury, 72-67.
On Tuesday, Wimby led Snider with 21 points, while Bryanna Moore added 10.
“Our defense got better as the game went on, and it helped our offense,” Wimby said.
“We just need to keep going. The game was supposed to be about our defense. We didn’t even really run our offense because we just ran transition because of our steals and great D.”
The defense offset struggles on offense, which included 22-of-64 field-goal shooting and 12-of-23 free-throw shooting.
“We are still trying to figure out our identity against a zone,” Meiklejohn said of East Noble’s defensive of choice. “When they are in zone, we are still trying to find that and see what our strengths are and how to take advantage of their weaknesses.”
Snider is ranked No. 12 in the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association’s single-class poll and is receiving honorable mention votes in the 4A poll. The Panthers are 1-0 in the SAC after last Friday’s 71-39 win over North Side.
Against East Noble, Snider went on a 21-0 run from midway through the first until 48 seconds left in the second to lead 27-4. The Panthers expanded the lead to 46-14 with a 10-0 run in the third quarter.