Quentin Snider scored a dozen as top-ranked Ballard defeated Jeffersonville, 69-67.
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) – Accepting a scholarship offer from the University of Louisville translates into fist bumps, crazy Twitter love and praise from the recruiting world.
On Tuesday night Quentin Snider, a junior guard at Ballard High School, tasted the flip side of the attention that he ignited after he committed to Rick Pitino and U of L:
Students from Jeffersonville High School chanted "O-VER-RA-TED!" whenever Snider touched the basketball in a game that Ballard won, 69-67. If Snider missed a shot, the crowd roared and stomped. A turnover made them happier. A missed free throw late in the fourth period of a tense, back-and-forth game nearly sent the Jeff students home delirious.
"I heard it," Snider said. "It's the first time that all the crowd was all over me."
It started when Snider turned the ball over about two minutes into the game. It never stopped, even after Snider knifed into the lane for a difficult, twisting layup that put Ballard ahead, 58-56, with 5:50 to play. Snider finished with 12 points, missing a dozen of 17 shots.
"This was a tough game for Quentin," Ballard coach Chris Renner said. "This was probably one of the first games that I've seen Quentin struggle. He's a young man that since he's been at Ballard High School he's really had nothing but success."
There was more. It seemed as if several Jeffersonville players had a few discouraging words to whisper into his ear, too. Darryl Baker, Jeff's best player, played as if he was determined to do everything a little better than Snider.
Baker scored 30, including a pair of three pointers and all 12 of his free throws.
"The other players just talk a lot," Snider said. "I have to play through that."
Did all the noise affect Snider? Remember he is only a junior, trying to direct a team ranked Number One in Kentucky to be in position to win a state championship. Less than two weeks ago, Snider scored 28 in a game Ballard played against the Harrison twins, seniors from suburban Houston who have committed to play for the University of Kentucky.
"A little bit," Snider said. "I still played through it. I think I'm going to have a target around me the whole year. I've just got to play through it."
Snider did play through it Tuesday, especially with the assistance of his teammates Lavonne Holland (18 points) and Kelan Martin (22). Jeffersonville had no answers for Martin. The Red Devils are an undersized team that essentially starts five guards. Martin is a full-sized, 6-foot-6 post player. He scored at least four points in every quarter – eight in winning time during the fourth quarter.
Renner complimented the atmosphere, considering it additional proof of how much Southern Indiana communities care about their high school teams. Renner knows that playing through the noise in Jeff in December can translate into playing through the noise of state tournament final exams in Kentucky in March.
But if Snider did not play an unforgettable offensive game, his defense was a factor. High school basketball games last 32 minutes. Jeffersonville made nearly one turnover for every minute, finishing with 31.
The Red Devils stayed in the game because of Baker, a tough, determined senior. Two years ago it seemed as if Baker was going to have as many scholarship offers as Snider. It hasn't worked out that way – because of injuries, an aborted move to Indianapolis and grades. Baker said it was likely that he would have to play in junior college next season.
But Snider will have to play through the noise this season – and next season. He will find himself in more gyms with opposing teams and opposing players trying to rattle a guy who has already secured a scholarship with Pitino and U of L.
"Sometimes it's games like this that really build a kid's character," Renner said. "I know he's frustrated. I know he's down. He knows he didn't play well. Don't need to tell him that. But he's also happy that the team won."