SHINGLE SPRINGS — Chris Snyder’s recent bout with the flu left the 6-foot-9 center for the Ponderosa High basketball team completely drained.
“I didn’t eat anything for three days straight,” Snyder said. “I could barely run.”
Snyder felt much better Friday against Delta River League and intra-county rival Oak Ridge and it showed as the Bruin senior recorded a double-double that, with the help of teammates, led Ponderosa to the 59-48 upset of the Trojans to spoil the return of ex-Bruin Tyus Millhollin.
Oak Ridge (2-3, 11-10) led 18-15 at the beginning of the second quarter but Ponderosa (1-4, 10-10) started with a 5-0 run that included a three-pointer from Josh Boiler to tie the game at 18-all. Then Snyder (13 points, 10 rebounds), standing in front of the arc, fired off a shot to give the Bruins a 20-18 lead.
“He’s a multi-dimensional basketball player; he’s just not a low-post presence for us,” said Ponderosa head coach Troy Selvey of Snyder. “He’s a good shooter. He is playing carefree, stress free.”
Snyder scored from inside and outside the paint in front of Ponderosa and Oak Ridge fans who packed the student sections on the east and west sides of the gym.
The Bruins’ offensive rebounding by Snyder, Boiler and Jordan Brennan allowed Marcus Forbes (nine points), Shelby Lee and Brennan to combine for seven points and a 27-24 halftime lead.
“He did a great job,” said Oak Ridge head coach Bobby Edwards on Snyder. “I’ve seen him play ball for four years. He’s a good kid.”
Oak Ridge provided excitement at the start of the game as well. Millhollin scored eight of the team’s 10 points that included two of three, three-pointers for a 10-3 lead.
“Tyus comes out with the first eight points, and it gave us a different feeling,” Edwards said.
At the start of the third quarter, Millhollin (16 points) nailed two more treys, with another one coming from Connor Davis (six points) for a 9-0 Trojan run and a 33-27 lead with 5:57 left.
But the Bruins’ play stepped up again as they produced their own 13-3 run that included Bist hitting the tying shot, 35-all, and the go-ahead bucket for a 37-35 lead with 1:18 left. The quarter ended with the Bruins ahead 40-38.
“If we play hard, we can compete,” Snyder said.
Ponderosa was guilty of five turnovers in the second half, while Oak Ridge had only two. But the Bruins were quick to rebound the ball as soon as a Trojan player missed what were hurried shots, particularly in the fourth quarter.
“Sometimes we run set plays, but the plays weren’t there,” Edwards said. “Ponderosa stuck to its game plan. We did not stick to our game plan. They played more as a team. We played more selfishly.”
The Bruins’ defense held the Trojans’ offense to only 10 points in the final quarter. Ponderosa continued its run with an 8-3 start for a 49-41 advantage after Bist (12 points) canned a trey. Bist and Matt Bejsovec pulled down a combined five rebounds in the final eight minutes that set up the Bruins’ offense inside the paint.
“He did a great job rebounding,” said Selvey of Bejsovec. “Josh played well across the board. We played well as a team. Playing against your rivals is always going to bring the best out of you.”
One play that put Bruin fans in a frenzy was when Bist grabbed a rebound, threw the ball to Bejsovec (nine points), who went coast-to-coast for a basket and a 53-44 lead with two minutes left in the game. Bejsovec also scored Ponderosa’s next basket.
“They shot, and they kept getting second and third shots,” Edwards said.
Seconds after the game ended, the Ponderosa student section and fans swarmed the court, hugging and high-fiving Bruin players, Selvey and his coaching staff.
“I felt the crowd kept us in the game,” Snyder said. “They (Oak Ridge) are a great team.”
Ponderosa had more rebounds than Oak Ridge, 38-15. Behind Snyder’s boards were Forbes with seven and Bejsovec with six.
Boiler finished with three points, and Lee had two.
Behind Millhollin in scoring was Matt Battaglia with eight points, Connor Davis and Connor Sende, six each, Michael Brenneman five, Jared Casey four and Jordan Roberts three.
Ponderosa and Oak Ridge play their final league and regular season game at the Trojans’ gym on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.