After Friday night's loss to Snider, the Homestead girls basketball team was in need of a pick-me-up, and they picked themselves up with a decisive 46-30 win over visiting Warsaw on Tuesday.
The Spartans (12-5) held the Tigers (14-5) scoreless in the third quarter, part of a 20-0 Homestead run that started just before halftime and lasted until Warsaw's Bailie Stephens scored early in the fourth quarter. The Tigers also failed to make a 2-point field goal in the second quarter and finished the game with just six.
“We're really working hard to defend better as a team, fundamentally,” Homestead coach Rod Parker said. “I think we did a pretty good job of that. We challenged shots, and we also rebounded the ball much better tonight than in the last couple games, which helps get stops.
“This was obviously a good bounce-back game for us. Friday night Snider played very well against us, with a lot of energy. But we had some defensive breakdowns today that we really had to focus today on as a team to not let happen again.”
The teams were tied at 6 at the end of the first quarter. Warsaw junior Abby Sanner hit two shots and junior Ayanna Patterson scored all of Homestead's points. Patterson, who was honored before the game for joining the 1,000-point club in a win over Mishawaka Marian last week, was sent to the foul line three times but hit only two of her five attempts.
Homestead senior Amber Austin opened the second quarter with a layup, and sophomore Alison Stephens hit a 3-pointer to help open a lead, and after Patterson scored two consecutive baskets the Spartans were up 15-9.
Kensie Ryman, Kendall Wayne and Bailie Stephens each hit a 3-pointer for the Tigers in the second, but Homestead sophomore Molly Stock made up for it with two 3-pointers of her own at the end of the half as the Spartans went into halftime with a 23-15 lead.
After halftime was when Homestead really got going. Patterson hit five shots in a row in the third quarter, several of them fueled by senior Grace Sullivan's three steals. Patterson finished with 20 points, all in the first three quarters (she and other starters spent much of the fourth quarter on the bench), and 12 rebounds. Stephens scored nine points, six of them in the fourth quarter, and Stock finished with eight.
Ryman made the score more respectable by hitting three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as she finished with 12 points. But it was not nearly enough to close the gap after being outscored 34-9 in the second and third quarters.
“That means we really worked hard in practice and we really focused on it,” Patterson said of her team's lockdown defense in the second and third quarters. “We were bringing that defensive intensity, so that translates into our offense. Just getting steals and rebounds, stuff like that. That brings enthusiasm on the offensive side.
“We brought the intensity, on offense and defense, redeeming ourselves from the Snider game and coming back strong.”