Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Homestead's Luke Goode, left, and Wayne's Dillion Redding fight for the ball during the second quarter of Tuesday night's game at Wayne.
Wednesday, February 07, 2018 1:00 am
Homestead 58 Wayne 51
Spartans stave off Generals' charge
AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette
Momentum is a funny thing.
It can shift at any time.
The Homestead boys basketball team almost fell victim to a major momentum swing but pulled out a 58-51 win over Wayne on Tuesday.
The win was the seventh straight for the Spartans (11-6, 7-0 SAC) after starting the season 4-6.
“It feels great (to be undefeated in the SAC), especially from where we started at the beginning of the season, and we've just been getting better since then,” Homestead's Onye Ezeakudo said. “To be at the top of the SAC, which is a really hard conference, it's a great feeling for all of us.
“I'd say we've all found our role. No one's forcing. Everyone knows what the team needs to do to win, and I think that's been a big part of it.”
Homestead scored 14 straight in the first and second quarters and used six 3-pointers to lead 22-6 with 5:06 left in the first half.
The Spartans led 33-13 at halftime, but the Generals came out of the locker room with a different level of intensity, trimming the deficit to 38-36 with 6:35 left in the game and to 52-51 with 36 seconds left.
“There weren't a lot of adjustments (at halftime),” Wayne coach Aaron Rehrer said. “It was, 'Come out and play tough.' It's hard to figure out how to compete for the SAC title and you come out and spot them 20 points. We took bad shots (in the first half), we took quick shots.
“I'd say the biggest adjustment that we talked about was we had to keep their guards in front of us better so that we didn't have to help. Every time we helped, they kicked it to the corner and hit a 3. We played with so much more urgency the second half, defensively, than we did the first half and we didn't have to help as much, which made a big difference. We got some rebounds, got some stops, I thought we took better shots in the second half.”
A 13-0 run by Wayne was helped by a half-court buzzer-beating shot by Craig Young, who led all scorers with 20 points, to end the third quarter.
“I thought the first half, we played phenomenal basketball, really bottled Craig (Young) up,” Homestead coach Chris Johnson said. “But in the second half, give them credit, they started making shots. That got them going. Anytime you can hit almost a three-quarter-court shot to end the third quarter, we know things are going well for them.
“That gave them momentum, but I'm proud of our kids the way we hung in there, kept battling. They very easily could have folded because things weren't going our way. I'm proud of our kids, the way they were able to come into a very tough place and beat a very good Wayne ball club.”
Grant Raber led the Spartans with 18 points, and Ezeakudo added 17.