Homestead was just one of two SAC teams who defeated Bishop Luers in the 2019-2020 season, beating the eventual SAC regular-season champs by 11 points in the regular season and by 20 points in the first round of the Holiday Tournament a week later.
And on Friday night the Spartans showed that they are indeed a force to be feared in the SAC, beating the Knights 94-56 to improve to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Homestead has now won its two league games by a combined 64 points.
"I thought the first half, we were very dialed in. I'm very proud of our kids, to hold a team like that with a lot of firepower to 15 points in the first half," Homestead coach Chris Johnson said, referring to his team's 46-15 halftime lead. "I feel like we lost a little bit of focus (in the second), we weren't talking as much as what we were in the first half, and communicating and really locking in. We've got to get out of the habit of just looking at the scoreboard, and try to get better each and every game."
The Spartans took a 5-0 lead on a 3-pointer by senior forward Luke Goode a minute into the game. Bishop Luers called a time out just over two minutes into the game when, for the second straight possession, Homestead senior forward Kaleb Kolpien scored on a second-chance shot, giving the Spartans a 10-0 lead. The Knights finally ended the 11-0 scoring streak almost 4 minutes into the game when Homestead was called for goaltending.
Bishop Luers junior forward Nelson Knapke narrowed the gap to 11-6 with a 3-pointer, but the Spartans pulled away again as junior guard Fletcher Loyer hit two free throws and then completed an old-fashioned 3-point play.
The Spartans led 18-9 after the first quarter, and in the second a 3-pointer by senior guard Caeden Kaopuiki ignited a 15-0 Homestead run that turned into a 23-2 run to end the half. The lead would only dip below 30 on a few occasions throughout the rest of the game.
Bishop Luers senior guard Naylon Thompson had averaged 26 games in his first two games of the season, but the Spartans held him to just four points in the first half on 2-of-7 shooting. He would start out strong in the second half, opening the third quarter with a bucket and then hitting a 3-pointer soon afterwards, but he would finish the game with just 10 points. Senior forward Lukas North led the Knights with 11 points.
"One of the biggest things was neutralizing penetration, dribble penetration, and keeping Naylon (from scoring)," Goode said. "I feel like we did a good job with that tonight. He's a great player, and Kaleb Kolpien, shout out to him, he did a great job guarding his guy, and our team just played good help-side defense, kept him off the scoreboard."
Loyer, who moved from Michigan this summer, led all scorers with 30 points and is now averaging 22.8 in his six games with the Spartans. Goode scored 19, and junior forward Andrew Leeper scored 12 despite missing much of the second half.
"Leeper, in the first half, probably played one of the best games he's played this year, and then his back locked up on him a little bit," Johnson said. "Grant (Simmons), he didn't play tonight, so we've got to get these kids healthy. But I'm very proud of the way these kids played."