When it comes to relationships, Stonewall Jackson boys' basketball coach Marcus Lawrence and Raiders senior Tychicus "Tyc" Snow are not only on the same page, they are in the same pew.
Their fathers were ministers at the same time at the Star of Bethlehem Church in Triangle. Both coach and player are short point guards. And both want badly to turn around a Stonewall program that has produced just one winning season the past eight years.
"Tyc is a very intuitive, quiet, reserved kid, and I was like that myself in high school," said Lawrence, who played at Gar-Field and has known Snow since he was a baby. "We intuitively think alike. It's almost like I don't have to tell Tyc when he made a bad pass. We both know it. He's more like an extension of me on the court."
"He knows how much I want to win, just like I know how much he wants to win," said Snow, a first-team all-Cedar Run District pick last year who sometimes eats lunch with Lawrence, a career counselor at Stonewall. "That's how we connect."
In the year of the junior in Prince William County high school boys' basketball, the 5-foot-7 Snow is a member of the old guard, a four-year varsity man and three-year starter. But in terms of being one of the most dynamic players in the area, he has just started to emerge.
Snow's first two years in high school, his nightly scoring output looked more like a miniature golf scorecard than basketball point totals, and through nine games last season his average was a modest 6.9 ppg.
After a particularly disappointing outing, he decided if the Raiders were to be successful, he would have to shoot more. So Jan. 11 vs. Osbourn Park he scored 24 points, and a shift to more minutes at the two-guard spot helped spur a Snow accumulation of 16.3 ppg the final 11 games, including a flurry of 17 points in five minutes in the Cedar Run District semifinal loss to Osbourn. In addition, his assist to turnover ratio for the season was almost three-to-one.
"It just came to me: I have to win. That's all basketball's about to me," said Snow, the youngest of seven siblings (two of them former Raiders point guards) whose biblical names all begin with T. "I just want to win. If you don't win, then you're just not good. That's just how I see it. Nobody remembers losers. It's all about winning."
"The biggest difference right now is his confidence level," Lawrence said. "After that first OP game he has just been a confident and very assured player, and colleges are starting to take notice of that."
One in particular is Wisconsin-Green Bay, whose representatives last summer watched Snow and his Prince William Pacers team at 17-under AAU nationals in Orlando. In that tournament, Snow blanketed a guard from Georgia named Matt Causey, who has signed to play at Georgetown next season.
"He caused a lot of disruption for the Georgia team," recalled Forest Park Coach Brion Dunlap, who coached the Pacers. "And his defensive pressure and his activeness and quickness allowed us to get back in the game. They had to have other people handle the ball who weren't comfortable because at times he wore down the point guard."
Since last season, Snow has added 10 to 15 pounds without sacrificing his quickness or leaping ability, and despite a deep foot bruise that kept him inactive for much of November, he scored 22 points in the season-opening win at Stafford.
As usual, he probably had his favorite Bible verse in mind: Philippians 4:13 -- "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."
"My faith is basically all I have," Snow said one day at practice while resting his foot. "When I read that [passage], it motivates me to work extremely hard because I know no matter what odds are against me, I can do everything."