Sometimes an early lead is a mirage.
Sometimes it's just enough to give you a leg up over a tough opponent.
Blackhawk Christian's 14-0 run in the first quarter Tuesday was the second type, giving the Braves a double-digit lead over Snider they would ride to a 76-58 win.
The Blackhawk Christian victory snapped the Panthers' six-game win streak and is the largest margin of defeat for Snider (15-4, 6-1 SAC) this season.
“I was proud of how we played: Snider is a very good basketball team, and they always play with great energy, so we knew matching their level of energy was going to be important,” Blackhawk Christian coach Marc Davidson said. “I think, for the most part, we were able to do that.”
The Braves (17-3) got the ball rolling immediately, as junior wing Marcus Davidson hit the first basket of the game. He would hit seven of his first eight shots, including all four attempts from 3, and finish the night 9 of 15 overall for a team-high 23 points.
“I hadn't really shot it as well the last few games – last game I didn't shoot well at all, teams are really starting to cover me a lot,” Marcus Davidson said. “And so I was ready to have a breakout game.”
Early on, Snider senior Isaac Farnsworth was matched up against Blackhawk Christian's 6-foot-10 forward Caleb Furst, with senior Dillon Duff coming to help whenever Furst got the ball. But the Braves still had plenty of other scoring options. Zane Burke, who was recognized before the game for scoring his 1,000th career point against Cripus Attucks over the weekend, hit two 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 21 points. Even junior Callan Wood got in on the action, scoring eight of his 11 points in the first half.
Michael Eley was a force for the Panthers as the junior scored 20 of his game-high 30 points in the second half. He also added nine rebounds and three steals. He was 8 for 11 in the final two quarters. Despite his heroics, the rest of the team struggled to shoot and Snider never closed the gap to less than 12 points. Duff shot 2 of 7 in the second half and finished with 10 points, well below his average of 17.3. Farnsworth also scored 10.
Furst had more room to move in the second half and finished with 16 points. He had 12 of his team's 32 rebounds, and added three blocks.
“To play with (Snider), you have to rebound with them,” Marc Davidson said. “I thought rebounding was the difference in the game. We limited them, most possessions, to one shot. But they are so aggressive going to the boards that you have to box out, and our defensive rebounding was the difference tonight.”
The win is one of the most impressive for the Braves, but Marcus Davidson still found room to nit-pick.
“They're a really good team and we wanted to limit the turnovers – we still turned it over too much, we turned it over more than we should have,” Davidson said. “But we knew that if we won the rebounding battle we'd be in pretty good shape.”