INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis North Central girls came out in an aggressive, trapping zone against Homestead on Friday, trying to make life difficult for Spartans star Ayanna Patterson inside and force Homestead to shoot from the outside.
The strategy worked, but Spartans guard Rylie Parker made the Panthers regret it.
Parker knocked down six 3-pointers in the first half and seven in the game, on the way to a game-high 27 points, leading the Class 4A No. 5 Spartans to a 62-50 road win over the Panthers on Friday.
"Rylie Parker came out to shoot tonight," interim Homestead girls coach Kara Ankenbruck said. "The second half, (North Central) found where she was in the corner a little bit better, but Rylie was knocking down shots. ... She was due for a game like this. So proud of her, senior leadership was outstanding tonight."
In the second game of Friday's doubleheader, the Spartan boys fell to the Panthers 74-62 despite 19 points from junior Luke Goode, including 13 in the second half.
The girls matchup was physical throughout, with the Panthers (10-7) doing everything they could to make Homestead ball-handlers uncomfortable. In a tough road environment, the Spartans (13-1) kept their composure and moved the ball well to find open shots.
"They just came to battle," Ankenbruck said. "We told them from the beginning it was going to be a battle. They came out, executed on offense and on defense, they just locked down."
That execution on offense often led to open 3-pointers for Parker, who hit three each in the first and second quarters. Her seventh 3 came to open the fourth quarter, putting the Spartans in front 50-39. She pumped her first in excitement as she ran back on defense.
Watching Parker pour in 3-pointers from the bench was her father, Spartans head coach Rod Parker. The elder Parker is on a leave of absence as he undergoes treatment for cancer, but has been attending Spartans games when he can.
"It was really special," Parker said of having her dad at the game. "A few times when I came out, I came to him and he just brings a sense of safety. Coach Ankenbruck does a really good job and having my dad there with her is just a really good duo."
The Spartans led most of the way, with the best North Central flurry coming on an 8-0 run in the second quarter. Patterson kept the run from extending further with a huge chasedown block on a fastbreak and Parker nailed a 3 on the ensuing possession to stop the Panthers' momentum.
Patterson finished with 10 points and Sydney Graber had 11 for Homestead.
The boys game was hotly-contested early and tied at 31 midway through the third quarter. At that juncture, however, the Panthers (4-5) got hot and an 18-6 run put them in front by 12. Sophomore guard Leland Walker, who had 26 points, scored seven during the run, including a 3-pointer that extended the advantage to double digits for the first time.
Coach Chris Johnson said his team didn't take care of the ball well enough.
"You can't have however many turnovers we had, 20-25 turnovers, and expect to be in games against good teams," Johnson said. "We've done that now the last two games. ... When you do that, you're going to have a tough time winning."
Junior Grant Simmons chipped in 15 points for the Spartans (6-3), but they dropped their second game in a row after losing to Snider in the SAC Holiday Tournament.
"Right now, we're just not clicking and teams are taking it to us," Johnson said.
The schedule gets no easier for the Spartans going forward with a rematch against Snider and a showdown with Class 2A No. 1 Blackhawk Christian in their next three games.