When Alyssa Vogt was hired as Tumwater High School’s girls basketball coach, Sierra Snyder was a sophomore.
Vogt noticed Snyder’s raw talent. She noticed how Snyder’s athleticism set her apart from other players. And she noticed one more thing.
“It was pretty evident she had a knack and a nose for scoring,” Vogt said.
Flash forward to Jan. 31, 2017.
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Tumwater hosted W.F. West in a Class 2A Evergreen Conference game. Snyder hit a free throw, and at a game break, the announcer addressed the crowd.
Snyder, now a senior, had scored her 1,000th career point.
“It was awesome,” Vogt said. “Being in the 1,000-point club — it doesn’t matter what school you go to, what (classification) you play in — it’s very difficult wherever you are to reach 1,000 points in your career.”
Snyder is the second girls basketball player in the area to reach that mark this season. She and Black Hills senior Emma Duff are also the area’s top two scorers this season.
Snyder is averaging 17.8 points per game and has scored in double digits in each of the 17 games she’s played in this season. She’s scored 20 or more points six times.
“It was kind of a time of reflection,” a humbled Snyder said of breaking the 1,000-point barrier. “I felt grateful for the past four years, and my basketball career — almost nostalgic about everything.”
Snyder got her start in basketball in elementary school, following after her father and her brother, Austin, who is a Tumwater graduate.
She said basketball’s competitive nature is what drew her to the sport.
“The game is so fast-paced,” Snyder said. “Something is always happening. I just loved that aspect of it.
“And bringing people together around the community was a big part of it.”
Snyder also plays soccer, and has a 4.0 GPA. Vogt said Snyder’s maturity on the basketball court has skyrocketed during high school.
Snyder is a versatile talent. She might drive to the hoop. She might catch the ball, pump fake and shoot. She’s more comfortable with her 3-point shot.
And she knows how to break a double team or find enough room to shoot over it.
“She’s being aggressive and taking shots when they’re open. … She put in her time, and knows she’s a leader and the main focal point,” Vogt said.
Snyder leads Tumwater in scoring by a large margin but attributes a lot of her scoring opportunities to her teammates.
She has mastered the fast break, and her teammates have mastered distribution.
“I’m usually the first one to think, ‘I’m going to get down the floor when this shot goes up,’ ” Snyder said. “You have people like Brooke and Sophia Kelsch who will look up the floor and get me the ball.”
“When push comes to shove, at the end of the night you have to score to provide for your team,” Hare said. “She’s instinctive of that and understands that.”
Brooke Hare — who has played varsity at Tumwater with Snyder the past four years and is the T-Birds’ leading rebounder (7.1 per game) and shot blocker (5.6 per game) — said Snyder fit into her role, even as an underclassman.
“I think since we both started on varsity as freshmen, we had to find that role really quickly,” Hare said. “She took to it quickly and has known her place and what she has to do for the team. … She’s an all-for-the-team kind of player.”
Snyder has also developed as a leader throughout her high school career. When Snyder is playing well, Vogt said, the team has a different feel and different dynamic about it.
“What she has brought to the experience and what she has shown in her demeanor on and off the court is just a role model to all of these younger kids on the team,” Vogt said.
All while consistently scoring baskets.
Tumwater has a legacy of scorers, Vogt said, and Snyder is certainly one of them.
“She’s reaping the benefits of her hard work,” Vogt said. “She’s earned it. She’s 100 percent earned it.”