The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

January 10, 2013

Jon Gerardi's column on boys basketball: Young Tigers optimistic about season

All in the blink of an eye, the East Juniata Tigers lost a big part of their team. During a Christmas basketball tournament, starter Cole Snyder -- who's been a great defensive player for the Tigers -- twisted his ankle and like that, forced coach Brock Anders to readjust his starting five.

That's basketball though, or really just sports in general: injuries happen. You just have to move forward the best you can.

Anders knows that, but furthermore, he's fully aware that he also has a younger squad. Anders said before the season started that his younger players were "picking up the slack" in practice and this was their time to show it.

"They've decided to step up and make some plays. It's created some leadership for some of our older guys and given them an opportunity to play and take advantage of minutes and I think once playoff time rolls around (and) we get down the road with some of these league games, I think it's going to benefit us," Anders said after a 58-48 loss to Tri-Valley League rival Greenwood last Thursday.

Looks like Snyder's injury may have been a blessing in disguise. The senior Tiger isn't out for the year (he'll be back relatively soon) but the unfortunate ankle twist has allowed for the younger Tigers to get in and help East Juniata out.

You may not have witnessed the younger players stepping up last week at Greenwood in terms of scoring since Bailey Coder and Nick Lorenz combined for 38 of the team's 48 points. But keep in mind that after Coder fouled out with just under six minutes to play, the Tigers didn't let Greenwood increase it's lead past 10 points until the final 45 seconds. In fact, they actually helped cut it down to eight twice.

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