Dom Vazquez was playing his first state tournament game as a point guard, charged with controlling the action for the Archbishop Ryan basketball team.
Jalen Snead was playing his first state tournament game, period.
But in the Class 5A playoff opener against Penn Wood, Vazquez looked like an old pro and Snead looked like a wily veteran with a keen sense of what it takes to win in March.
With Vazquez orchestrating the action and Snead doing the dirty work, Ryan rolled to a 62-50 victory Friday in the first game of a doubleheader at Norristown Area High School.
“Dom did all the right things,” Ryan coach Joe Zeglinski said of his junior floor general. “He pushed when it was there and settled us down when we needed him to.”
The 6-foot Vazquez collected 14 points and capped a key 9-1 run early in the fourth quarter with a three-point play for the Raiders, who advanced to face District 3′s No. 7 seed Elizabethtown -- which upset Mars, 58-56, on Friday night -- in Tuesday night’s second round.
Snead generated seven points, seven blocks and 11 rebounds for Ryan (18-8).
“I haven’t seen a defensive performance like that in a high school game, I don’t think, ever,” Zeglinski said of Snead, a 6-2 sophomore.
Senior swingman Gediminas Mokseckas scored 20 with seven rebounds and three steals and senior center Christian Isopi added 15 points for Ryan, the No. 4 seed from District 12.
Senior Shamir Baynes scored 20 and senior forward Desmon Johnson collected 12 points with 10 rebounds for Penn Wood (17-10), the No. 2 seed from District 1.
In the second game of the doubleheader, West Chester East, the No. 1 seed from District 1, rolled past District 3 No. 8 seed Gettysburg, 53-33.
Vasquez, who came off the bench in a shooting guard/defensive pest role for the Raiders last season, set the pace early with a three-point jumper and a series of crisp passes that led to layups or free throws for Mokseckas or Isopi.
“The passing lanes were wide open tonight,” Vazquez said. “It’s usually not like that playing in the Catholic League against much taller players. It was easier to find my big men and get them going early.”
Vazquez also made a big play later in the game, grabbing an offensive rebound, making a layup and converting the free throw to cap a 9-1 run that turned a 37-32 lead into a 46-33 advantage.
That surge stymied Penn Wood’s best effort at rallying from a deficit that had grown to 14 points midway in the third quarter.
“Dom controlled the ball, controlled the pace of the game,” Zeglinski said.
Snead made five free throws in the fourth quarter. But his biggest impact was at the defensive end, where he swatted away several layup attempts and cleaned the glass like a player who was 2 years older and about four inches taller.
“In AAU, I score a little bit because I’m playing against guys my age,” said Snead, who plays for the Philly Pride AAU program. “But for this team, I like to do all the little things.
"I’m happy in my role. I play a lot. I’m happy because we won.”
Many younger players look to make an impact on the scoreboard. Snead prefers to make his mark deeper on the stat sheet.
“He’s always embraced that role,” Zeglinski said. “We’re always saying, ‘One more,’ for one more pass and he always does that.
“He does have a good offensive game, but he plays the right way and is so unselfish, has such a great IQ on defense. It’s really unbelievable to see at the high school level as a sophomore.”
Archbishop Ryan 18 10 11 23 – 62
Penn Wood 7 11 15 17 – 50
AR: Gediminas Mokseckas 20, Luke Boyd 4, Christian Isopi 15, Dom Vazquez 14, Jalen Snead 7, David Wise 2.