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The Journal Gazette

Friday, January 05, 2018 10:50 pm

Homestead 58, South Side 55

Homestead girls learn lesson, defeat South Side

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

The Homestead girls basketball team learned from the reality check it was given at last week's SAC Tournament after a first-round exit.

The Spartans remained undefeated in regular season play after a 58-55 win at South Side on Friday.

"(After the loss) The message was more of a mental message," Spartans coach Rod Parker said. "This team has struggled to play a full 32 minutes in a game and we talked about that we were going to get snake-bit along the way because we'll play a good stretch of eight or nine minutes of basketball and then we'll let teams back in games.

"I thought that game was one that we went out there thinking that we were going to win because we were Homestead and that just isn't the case . ... I thought we played as a much more unified group this week."

After wins over Lawrence North and South Side, the Spartans (15-2, 6-0 SAC) feel like they're finally working together as a unit and the leadership component that had been missing is getting established.

"It took us a little while to find our roles because obviously this is a whole new team from last year," junior Kara Gealy said, "but I thought all of us have done a really nice job stepping into our roles and knowing what each of us brings to the table to make us a successful team.

"Obviously the loss (to Luers) motivated even more and to beat Lawrence North, one of the best teams in the state, really hyped us up but we knew we couldn't look past South Side because obviously they're a great team. We came out with great team effort, we picked each other up and I thought we played really well together tonight."

The Archers (15-2, 5-1) took a 45-44 lead with 6:37 left in the game after clawing back from a 42-31 third quarter deficit.

The game was tied at 48 after South Side's Shamari Tyson hit a 3-pointer with 5:40 left but Homestead responded with a 5-0 run to go up 53-48 and kept the lead for the remainder of the game.

The Archers jumped to a 17-8 first-quarter lead but Homestead outscored South Side 18-9 in the second quarter to tie the game at 26 at halftime.

The Spartans built a 42-31 lead in the third quarter, helped by an 8-0 run by Sydney Graber.

"We were in the locker room (at halftime) and we talked about the first quarter, we were down 17-8, it was 26-26 at half," Graber said. "Coach said, 'We've came back this far, let's not stop now. We're still in charge.' Homestead's all about third quarters, we came back in the third quarter, pushed ourselves and got the lead.

"Ever since our first loss to Carmel, we've been working on breaking a press. Our main focus has been getting the ball to the middle, pushing it so I think it really helped to break a press and we got a lot of points off the press."

Graber led the Spartans with 16 points, Sylare Starks added 14 and Kara Gealy 12.

Tyson scored a game-high 23 for the Archers and Jaci Jones added 14.