Aleah Snead is always ready to put on a show.
The Penn Charter High School freshman quickly became a star on the Quakers basketball team, but that’s not the only place she entertains large crowds.
Like all of her siblings, Snead learned to play a musical instrument when she was younger. She started playing the flute, and she still performs at events.
“I started doing it and I like it a lot,” Snead said. “It was hard to learn, but we practice a lot. We do things in school, a few concerts. I love it. I do get nervous doing it, but it’s still a lot of fun.”
Snead, of Oxford Circle, is great at playing the flute, but she’s not one to toot her own horn when it comes to talking about her basketball skills. However, if she did, she’d have a lot to brag about after her freshman season.
With Snead as a key player, the Quakers finished 25-4. They won all but two games in the tough Inter-Ac schedule. And they advanced to the finals of the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament.
And leading the way were seniors.
Penn Charter had a pair of talented leaders, Kait Carter and Carmen Williams, who were the heart and soul of the team. Both seniors scored 1,000 points, doing it in the same game in February.
But Snead was a crucial piece of the puzzle. She gave the Quakers a top scoring option, while also giving them something on the defensive end. Coming into the year, everyone knew they had to stop Carter and Williams to beat the Quakers, but they didn’t factor on stopping Snead.
That game plan usually changed quickly.
“We had great seniors, they really helped me when I started playing,” said Snead, who was second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.6 points per game, behind only fellow freshman Kelsey Bess. “I was a little nervous when the season started because we had a lot of good players. But I got comfortable pretty quickly. They helped me a lot.”
Offensively, Snead got good in a hurry. But defense was never a problem.
Like her brother Jalen, a sophomore guard at Archbishop Ryan, defense is a huge part of Snead’s game.
And despite being a guard, she hit the boards hard, averaging 5.8 rebounds per game, usually while playing against much taller competition.
Scoring is about talent, but rebounds and defense are all about hard work and she was ready to put in whatever was needed to get to the next level.
“I’ve always wanted to be a complete player, I like to be good at both ends and help the team every way I can, offense and defense,” Snead said. “I love playing defense. I’ve always loved it. People say how good my brother is on defense, too. I’ve learned a lot from playing with him. But I’ve learned a lot by just playing.
“Everyone at Penn Charter plays defense. It’s a big part of the team game and I was really happy about that. It’s a lot of fun to play at Penn Charter. They work really hard, but it pays off. It did for us this year.”
Snead has fit in like a glove on the Quakers basketball team, but she is doing quite well in every area of the school.
It took some time, but now that she’s used to the classes, she’s doing well. She’s also preparing to try something new in the spring. And if all goes well, her new venture will serve her well on the hardwood.
“At Penn Charter, you have to play two sports, so I want to give track a try,” said Snead, who will likely run sprints, but is open to whatever the team needs. “I think I’ll have fun with track. I like running, and it will help keep me in shape for basketball. But I’ll play AAU and work out at the school a lot over the summer, so I should be in good shape.”
Penn Charter will have big shoes to fill next year when the Quakers start practicing. They certainly have talent, but Carter and Williams have been very successful during their careers at the school, and they brought a lot more to the table than just putting up a lot of points.
The Quakers went as far as Williams and Carter carried them. Next year, there will be a void, and Snead is ready to accept that responsibility.
It helps that she’s a natural-born leader, but it also helps that she was able to witness first hand the way good captains carry themselves.
“I learned so much this year playing with them,” Snead said. “We will miss them a lot. I think we have people ready to help get this team where we need to be next year. We learned so much from watching them. We just have to use what they taught us. That will help us next year.”