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The Journal Gazette

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Homestead freshman Ayanna Patterson goes up for a shot on South Side junior Alaya Chapman on Saturday night.

Sunday, December 30, 2018 1:00 am

Spartans reclaim champion's trophy

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

PEAK PERFORMERS

BOYS

Brett Sickafoose, Whitko: 25 points, as the Wildcats lost to Plymouth 54-50 Friday

Austin Miller, Wawasee: 25 points, as the Warriors beat Garrett 63-51 Friday

Luke Goode, Homestead: 31 points, as the Spartans beat Snider 65-49 Friday

Jackson Paul, Churubusco: 24 points, as the Eagles beat South Adams 57-52 Friday

David Ejah, Carroll:18 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks, as the Chargers beat Wayne 51-45 Thursday

Craig Young, Wayne: 23 points, as the Generals lost to Carroll 51-45 Thursday

GIRLS

Niesha Anderson, Snider: 19 points, 13 rebounds, as the Panthers beat North Side 57-35 Wednesday

Olivia Smith, South Side: 21 points, as the Archers beat Northrop 68-50 Thursday

Ayanna Patterson, Homestead: 20 points, 14 rebounds, as the Spartans beat South Side 43-30 Saturday.

Grace Miller, Bellmont: 24 points, as the Braves beat Bluffton 57-41 Saturday

To vote for the Journal Gazette Player of the week, go to www.journalgazette.net/sports/high-schools/hoopsplayer. Voting goes through noon Sunday. Results revealed Tuesday.

Just 24 hours earlier, the Homestead girls were in the midst of a 49-29 loss to Northwestern, their worst of the season, in the Hall of Fame Classic final at New Castle. 

But Saturday night, the Spartans were cutting down nets after beating South Side 43-30 to win the SAC Holiday Tournament for the third time since joining the conference in 2015.

“I was a little nervous, because I'm afraid of heights and stuff like that, but getting this piece of the net means a lot,” said Homestead senior Sylare Starks, who had not won a title with Homestead since joining the team before last season.

Because the Spartans (16-2) played in the Hall of Fame Classic during the SAC girls off day, Saturday final at Wayne was Homestead's fifth game in three days.

“We just had to stay mentally tough, and just being around each other all the time helped us grow,” said Starks, who scored nine points in the final. “We fed off of each other's energy, and we got the job done with that.”

Homestead coach Rod Parker said his players knew this three-day stretch would be a key measuring stick for the season, and he was pleased with the team's showing. 

“Several people told me we were crazy, but one of the things we're always looking to do is challenge ourselves with a tough schedule, put our kids in positions where we have to grow, not only as a team athletically, but also mentally as we continue through the season,” Parker said. “And of course, the opportunity to play in the Hall of Fame is something that only comes around every so often, you can't pass that up.”

South Side, the defending tournament champion, overcame a 14-point deficit against Concordia in the afternoon semifinal. The Archers played deliberately early in the game, taking their time before shooting. That pace allowed the Archers (11-4) to keep Homestead within striking distance, and the Spartans led 16-12 at halftime. 

“It was interesting, because I honestly thought the game might be more up-tempo than it was,” Parker said. “They were very deliberate in their offense today in the half court. I think we did a good job of defending them and not giving them what they wanted early in their offense, which forced them to be a little more deliberate.”

The one player South couldn't slow down in the first half was Ayanna Patterson, who had scored 10 points by the end of the second quarter and finished the night with 20 points and 14 rebounds. 

In the second half, Homestead hit four 3-pointers and pulled out to a 13-point lead. 

“I thought, today, in the first half we missed some shots we needed to knock down,” Parker said. “It might've been fatigue, it might've just been the game of basketball. But I thought we stepped up in the second half and hit the big shots we needed.”

In the fourth quarter, Jaci Jones hit two 3-pointers, each time bringing the Archers within 10, and a bucket by Alaya Chapman cut the Homestead lead to 36-28. But South Side ran out of time to complete another comeback.

Jones finished with had 12 points. 

vjacobsen@jg.net