It didn’t take long for Penns Valley’s family connections to pay dividends this season.
In the Rams’ season opener, freshman point guard Aaron Tobias surveyed the court, faked the ball to the corner against Mifflinburg’s 2-3 zone and made his first pass to his brother, Andrew, on the block.
Andrew, a senior, made the layup, giving Aaron his first varsity assist.
“It was something special,” Aaron said.
The Tobias brothers aren’t the only freshman-senior family duo on Penns Valley’s roster as Logan and Luke Snyder are also enjoying one season playing together at the varsity level. All four players have been crucial to leading Penns Valley (12-10) to its 21st straight winning season and another trip to the postseason.
The No. 9-seeded Rams will face No. 8-seeded Penn Cambria on the road in the first round of the District 6 Class 3A playoffs at 7 p.m. Monday.
The Tobiases and Snyders watched their older brothers — Cameron Tobias and Sam Snyder — play for coach Terry Glunt before coming through the program.
“The reason we’ve been successful is we have great kids from great families,” Glunt said. “And the Tobiases and the Snyders, they’re pillars of the community.”
The brothers have been pillars of the basketball team this season.
Like Aaron and Andrew Tobias, Luke and Logan Snyder made their mark early in the season. Luke has been the focal point of opposing defenses, often leading the Rams in scoring despite the constant attention. Logan became the team’s sixth man in his first season, providing a scoring punch off the bench.
They filled those roles to help the Rams open the season 4-0, with Luke scoring a team-high 14 points and Logan hitting some big 3-pointers in a 10-point performance in a Dec. 19 win over Philipsburg-Osceola.
That’s when Logan Snyder first started to feel comfortable.
“It felt special,” Logan said.
Logan said Luke taught him how to play tough growing up, utilizing his age and size advantage in one-on-one battles. But Logan eventually learned how to beat his older brother, using his speed and shooting ability to frustrate Luke.
At the beginning of the season, Luke tried to help calm Logan’s nerves, reminding him they were just playing another basketball game. With each game, it became more about staying focused.
“He knows how to play basketball,” Luke said. “He’ll do it.”
Andrew provided a calming presence for Aaron, too.
Aaron knows he can turn to Andrew, who inbounds the ball and helps his brother break pressure defenses along with Luke.
Glunt described Andrew as a “fanatic on the boards” and added Luke can do anything inside or outside.
They’ve also been role models for their younger brothers.
“The older brothers were too,” Glunt said. “And they were quite young when they first started seeing Sam and Cam play, so they’ve been around for all the success. I think they just think this is par for the course.”
Andrew played with Cameron one year, and now, he’s getting to play with his younger brothers, Aaron and Matthew, this season.
“Not many people get to play with their other brothers and sisters,” Andrew said. “It’s been a real treat.”
Aaron said it’s bittersweet knowing this will be his only varsity season playing with Andrew.
“It’s just like when we were back at our house when we were younger on the driveway,” Aaron said, “but I also know that I have to enjoy it while I can.”