JAMESTOWN — Many basketball players play a little taller than their actual height.
And then there is Greeneview junior Ellie Snyder.
“She’s like a giant in a 5-foot-4 body,” Coach Vince Purpero said of the Ram point guard. “She will go in the paint against anybody. She’ll get her shot blocked, but she’ll go right back at them again. She’s not afraid of the 6-foot girls.”
That’s the type of killer mentality Purpero likes.
And if Snyder loses possession, she’s the first player back to the other end to try and make a stop. Despite the uncertainty presented by COVID-19, Purpero knows that every time the ball is goes up, Snyder is ready to mix it up.
“She gives you 100 percent the entire time she’s on the court,” he said. “She’s fearless. She leads by example. Her play is on the court and it’s a great model for everybody else to follow.”
That’s key this season for Greeneview. Purpero is in his first season as coach and the Rams had to replace Sylvie Sonneman, who averaged 18 points and more than six rebounds per game for Greeneview. Heading into last night’s game against Kenton Ridge, Snyder was averaging a team-high 10 points per game, almost double her average from last season.
“This year I had to step up and be a more productive scorer on offense,” she said. “Last year we had a super-high averaging player.”
While her scoring is up, Snyder is also working hard to keep one number low: fouls per game. She’s averaging 3.6 per game this year and is as focused on not fouling as she is scoring.
“If I don’t foul in my first quarter I’m usually good for the rest of the game,” she said with a laugh. “My mentality is to try and not get my first foul in the first quarter. Sometimes I do get in foul trouble early in the game.”
Part of that aggression comes from playing defense for the Rams soccer team. Part of it comes from being her biggest critic. But when she messes up, she takes it out on the opponent, not herself.
“Whenever I make a silly mistake or a silly turnover … I just get super mad, I don’t really know what goes through my head,”she said. “I just find the nearest person and try to foul.”
During some scrimmages early this season, some referees approached her and mentioned that they know shes the one who “fouls all the time.”
“They said you’re going to foul out every game,” Snyder said. “I was like, ‘Oh we’ll see about that,’ “
For the record, she has three disqualifications this season for the Rams, 2-7 prior to Wednesday’s game.
A running joke is that when Snyder goofs up on the court, her family counts down until she commits a foul.
“They’re like ‘wait for it, wait for it,’ ” Snyder said. “I’m just super hard on myself. I think that’s maybe why I get so angry. (But) it hasn’t been as big of a problem as it was last year.”
That’s a good thing for the Rams, who need Snyder on the court.
“Her personality, is if she gets out of the game it impacts us,” Purpero said. “She does a lot of things that the average fan doesn’t see. She will cause girls to make bad passes for other girls to get steals. She will cause other girls to travel. She creates shots for other people. She’s a coach on the floor. That’s her job as the point guard.”
Snyder accepts that responsibility.
“Being a point guard you’re like naturally a leader,” she said. “You have to get the offense going, all the plays. Know exactly what’s happening. Me as a point guard, that helps with my leadership skills. I want everyone to have a good time.”
Until she commits a turnover, of course.