Snyder a team leader for Tucker

CHARLESTON -Tyler Snyder had a determined look right from the tip-off during Tucker County’s Class A quarterfinal win over Greater Beckley Christian on Wednesday night.

With a loss, the senior point guard knows his playing days as a Mountain Lions will end, so it didn’t take him long to find his shooting touch early against the Crusaders, finishing with 15 of his game-high 22 points in the first half.

“I’m definetly more motivated knowing a loss ends my career,” Snyder said. “The seniors on this team know that, too. We have to come out and give it our best because we know a loss and our basketball careers are over in high school.”

Snyder is part of a special group of athletes at Tucker County, as the success of the team’s football team has carried over to the hardwood.

“We’ve worked very hard to be successful,” said Snyder, who was a standout receiver on Tucker’s football team that lost an overtime heartbreaker to Madonna in the state semifinals. “In the past, players didn’t want to put the work in during the offseason. Coach (Shane) Eakle has really pushed us to get into the weightroom and get stronger.

“That has really helped us as athletes.”

Snyder also has turned to his brother, Logan Snyder, who was an all-stater in both basketball and football during his career at Tucker County, for guidance.

“I guess you can say I’ve followed in his foot steps,” the younger Snyder. “I was able to play with him for two years and that was great.

“I learned a lot from him, including how to be a leader and to step up for your team when the time comes.”

Snyder and the rest of his teammates will face Tug Valley at 1 p.m. today in the state semifinals. A win would put the Mountain Lions in position to give veteran coach Tom Gutshall the first state title of his 30-year career.

“Winning a title for coach Gutshall would be great,” Snyder said. “Of course it would be great for the team and community as well, but he really deserves one.

“He’s been more than a coach to me. He’s taught me how to be a man, and has been a great influence in my life.”