HOBART | Portage Coach Rick Snodgrass can feel Mike Black’s pain.
A 12-2 opening run by Portage turned into a 27-8 first-quarter lead. The Indians maintained that cushion for for a 52-35 win at Hobart.
The host Brickies were without three players, including last year’s leading scorer, Anthony Burgos.
“We’re playing a lot of guys who don’t have a lot of varsity experience,” Black said. “We lost five from last year to graduation, and now we have three out for various reasons. It makes it tough to have any continuity.”
That inexperience showed early when Portage was able to nail five 3-pointers from the left perimeter in the first quarter to build its huge lead.
Jordan Simpson (20 points, six rebounds) had three of those treys.
Snodgrass was happy for his teams’ fast start this season.
“These kids got thrown into the fire last year with little experience,” Snodgrass said. “They didn’t know what to expect at a varsity level. This season, they understand what it takes to play varsity basketball day in and day out.”
Intensity was the key to the game, according to the Indians coach.
“We just came off of a big conference win on the road,” Snodgrass said. “The last thing we needed was a letdown.”
Black’s Brickies are suffering a similar fate this year. He was also looking for intensity from his Brickies.
“We need to be competitive for 32 minutes,” he said. “We’re going to be a young and inexperienced team while we learn. We still have to scrap and go hard every play.”
Portage (3-0) was able to consistently drive inside the paint for short jumpers, as well as kick back out to the arc. They controlled the boards and took opportunity of second chances.
The Brickies (0-3) were able to cut the lead to 10 toward the end of the third quarter before the Indians ripped off six points to finish the third.
Simpson nailed three baskets early in the fourth to seal the deal for the Indians.
Defense, especially in the first half, was the Achilles' heel for the Brickies.
“We especially miss the experience on the defensive side,” Black said. “Communication and knowing where to be are all part of experience. We’re still short there.”