It was a 62-54 victory for Homestead over Norwell in Tuesday’s undefeated tilt between arguably the two best teams in northeast Indiana, but the Knights had just as much to be proud of as the Spartans.
Foul trouble for Sydney Graber and Ayanna Patterson along with a subpar shooting night from the free throw helped keep the door open for Norwell well into the third quarter. But an 8-0 run by Rylie Parker, back after two games with a knee injury, helped put distance between the two teams.
For Norwell, which starts three sophomores, it was an encouraging night. The team entered this night hitting 75 percent of their free throws and continued that hot shooting by shooting 21-of-26. The Knights showed a fearlessness on offense in attacking the basket, becoming the aggressor as they looked to rattle the Spartans.
Norwell also protected the basketball much better than it has in previous games, turning the ball over less against Homestead than their 18 per game average.
Homestead’s depth played a big part in Tuesday’s win. Graber did not have the best of nights, being held scoreless and relegated to the bench for long stretches due to foul trouble. When she was in the game, she seemed to have a quick trigger as she sought a way to impact the scoreboard.
A definite concern for the Spartans is their free throw shooting. Homestead could have iced the game much sooner if it would have done better than 12-of-25 from the free throw line. This team has state championship aspirations, but it is shooting less than 65 percent from the line for the year. That won’t get it done in close games deep in the 4A tournament.
While Homestead got the win, both the Spartans and Norwell are in a good spot as we enter the second half of the girls schedule. Bounce expects to see both competing in regionals and beyond in February.