Snider returns to regionals as part of another strong season

February 8, 2023

When the dust settled on the 4A DeKalb Sectional last weekend, the Snider girls basketball was once again cutting down the nets. 

After drawing a bye in the first round, the Panthers dispatched the host Barons handily, 50-36, in the semi-final. Then, in Snider edged Carroll, 58-52, in a rematch of a regular season game the Panthers won eight days prior.

This is the first time 4A #10 Snider (20-4, 8-1 in Summit Athletic Conference) has won back-to-back sectional titles since the Panthers won three straight from 2010 to 2012.

"We have a fire in us," junior guard Jordyn Poole tells PSM. "The past month, we've had really good practices. That's a big part of it. We've been preparing ourselves really well, and we want it really bad."

This sectional title is remarkably different than last season's. Yes, junior guard Jordyn Poole returned to put up 15.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in another All-SAC season. But the Panthers had to replace key losses as well: Jyah LoVett (18.4 points per game) to graduation, Destini Craig (15.8 points) to a transfer to Northrop, and head coach Akilah Sims to an assistant coaching position at Western Michigan.

Tharp was elevated to head coach in the offseason, and has found the right mix on the roster this winter. ForwardJohnea Donahue has increased her production from 8.0 points in 18.6 minutes as a sophomore to 12.4 points in 25.2 minutes as a junior. Fellow juniors Tia Phinezy (8.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game) and Ciara Sims have been key contributors, as well.

After a 2-3 start, the Panthers are 18-1 heading into a 4A Marion Regional final on Saturday against West Lafayette Harrison. Their lone loss in that stretch was a 79-70 defeat at the hands of then 4A #6 Northrop, which ultimately decided the SAC.

"Each game, we've grown and we've learned something," Tharp adds. "Everything stepped up another level and it's shown on the court."

After winning their first regional game in a decade in 2022, the Panthers fell to eventual state champion Noblesville in the regional final later that evening. An IHSAA rule change reconfigured the regional round to a one-game championship, meaning Snider and Harrison will play for the title in the designated 4A Regional 3 and advance to the two-round 4A semi-state next Saturday.

Snider hopes for its first regional title in 13 years. Harrison's last regional came in 1986.

Tipoff between the Panthers and the Raiders is set for 4:00 Saturday afternoon at Marion.

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