FORT WAYNE – It might have been Senior Night for Class 4A No. 4 Homestead, but the Spartans didn’t get distracted for long as they rolled past Leo 75-29 Friday.
Homestead (19-1) honored its lone senior, Butler-bound Sydney Buck, in a pre-game ceremony and trailed 2-0 before scoring the next 12 points to begin the rout. The lead ballooned to almost 50 points – at 70-22 – in the second half.
Sydney has had a great career, and one of the things with Senior Night is it is a big emotional thing, Homestead coach Rod Parker said. There is always a big adrenaline rush at the beginning of the game, and there is a big letdown at the beginning. We talked at halftime that we had weathered that. We got some good shots, but we just didn’t get them to go in. Once our defense got us some easy buckets, then our offense started working. It was a good game for us.
Buck missed her first three shots, but got on track for a game-high 19 points.
It is kind of hard to shift the energy to the game, Buck said of the festivities. We started off kind of tough, but we battled back, so it was good. It is emotional in the beginning. We have a home game (today), but it won’t be the same. It’s going to be tough, and I will miss it a lot, but you just have to move on.
Homestead won its ninth straight game by forcing 24 turnovers, 10 in the first quarter against a young but solid Leo (17-3) team. It gave the Spartans the opportunity to look forward to tonight’s game against Indianapolis Ben Davis (12-7) to end the regular season.
The game let us to do that, but coming in we weren’t setting up to do that, Parker said. We specifically set up our schedule to play Leo tonight and Ben Davis tomorrow to do everything we could to replicate a sectional, next Friday and Saturday, if we are fortunate to get to the sectional semifinals and finals. Ideally, it is to help us get better down the road, so we weren’t holding anything back tonight. We think Ben Davis is a team that can help us get better next week.
The game against the Giants, the 4A state champions in 2009 and 2010, is the latest in a string of tough nonconference games for the NHC champion Spartans. It includes defending 4A state champion Bedford North Lawrence, Homestead’s lone loss, Carmel, Mooresville and Rushville.
Those have been the best games all season, Buck said. It is good competition, and it gives us good exposure down there in the Indianapolis area.
First up is Ben Davis, and that should be a good game. Then the focus is on Wayne (the first game of the South Side Sectional on Tuesday) and hopefully into the sectional championship, and then move on from there.
Freshman Karissa McLaughlin added 16 points, and sophomore Lindley Kistler had 14 for Homestead.