The Homestead girls basketball team remained calm and executed enough plays to hold off visiting Carroll 53-52 on Friday.
“Carroll's a very good basketball team this year,” Spartans coach Rod Parker said. “This conference is very tough as everyone's said from the beginning of the year. Tonight was one of those Friday night battles, so we were very happy to make some big plays at the end of the game to come out on top.”
With Carroll (5-3, 0-2) within 49-47 with 2:28 left, Homestead (6-1, 3-0 SAC) capitalized at the free-throw line to go up 53-47 with 35.9 seconds left.
Carroll's Kelli Damman hit a 3 with 26 seconds left, and in the final seconds the Chargers got a layup from Isabelle Dollens.
“I was happy with how (the girls) responded,” Chargers coach Mark Redding said. “When we made three turnovers at the end, I thought, 'OK, we're panicking,' but they never gave up, they got it back on defense, we had opportunities, that's all you can ask for from a team.”
The Chargers used a 12-2 run to go up 17-7 in the first quarter. Homestead used an 18-8 second quarter to lead 29-24 at the half.
“(Carroll) competed hard, and I thought they shot the ball well from the perimeter, particularly early on and late in the game,” Parker said. “Defensively, they played tough, they were solid, they rebounded the ball well. They did everything that coach Redding was hoping for them to do to get out of here tonight with a win.”
Sylare Starks led Homestead with 17 points. Haley Swing added 13 and Sydney Graber had 10.
Laney Steckler led Carroll with 16 points. Julia Miller had 15.
“The crowd was great. We played together as a team. We had times we were down a little bit, but that's where leadership stepped in, and we just hung together,” Starks said. “We know that they're a great basketball team, so this tested us a little bit. But we came out and got the 'W.'”
Homestead led 38-25 with 4:35 left in the third quarter, holding Carroll scoreless in the quarter to that point. In the final four minutes, though, the Chargers closed the gap to 43-41.
“That's because we were missing some shots,” Redding said of the third quarter. “We had some good-looking shots. We missed them. Normally we make them. But it's just one of those things that as the year goes on, we should be making those.
“I thought the girls played well. I thought we had our opportunities, I was proud of them for not giving up. We're down 12 or six and we stayed in it. That's all you can ask.”
Note: Homestead graduate Karissa McLaughlin, the 2017 Miss Basketball and a Purdue freshman guard, helped unveil the 2017 state championship banner before the game.