Chris Johnson and Bishop Dwenger are returning to the boys basketball semistate.
Just not together.
Almost two decades since leading the Saints to a semistate appearance, Johnson is headed back to the brink of the state finals.
Johnson, though, will be coaching Homestead as it plays Lake Central in a Class 4A semistate at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at Lafayette Jeff.
About three hours later at Huntington North, Bishop Dwenger will make its first semistate appearance since 1996 with a 3A game against Bowman at 6:15 p.m.
Johnson was 80-33 in five years at Dwenger (1995-99), including a regional championship and the semistate appearance.
The Saints made it to the semistate in his second season with the team.
I said this is pretty easy, Johnson said of his success at the time. But the longer you are in it, you realize what an honor it is and how tough it is because of how the great coaches are out there.
We are going to enjoy this, and you don’t take it for granted anymore because it is difficult.
Johnson left Dwenger for Homestead in 1999 and is 219-119 in 15 years with the Spartans. He has won three sectional titles with Homestead.
Homestead earned its first semistate appearance with a 59-57 win over Hamilton Southeastern in the regional finals at Marion.
Johnson texted Dwenger coach Matt Kostoff after the Spartans’ win to offer his congratulations on the Saints’ regional title.
I have a lot of great friends over there and a lot of great memories with the Dwenger family and community. I wish them nothing but the best of luck, Johnson said.
Kostoff was Johnson’s assistant at Dwenger and took over as the Saints’ coach after Johnson left.I am very happy for him, and he is very happy for us, Kostoff said of Johnson. He is a good friend, and there is a lot of mutual respect between the two programs.
Kostoff is 190-137 in 15 years with the Saints. Dwenger is in its fourth semistate and first since 1996 thanks to a 50-47 win over Muncie Central in the regional finals at Blackford.
It would have really been nice to see both schools at the same semistate, but it didn’t work out that way, Kostoff said.