As fans filed (trickled?) in to Wayne High School on Friday night for the title game of the SAC Holiday Tournament, the lack of any real energy from those in attendance almost made the result predetermined.
Many came expecting to see Snider run away with its third holiday tourney title and first since 2005.
After all, the Panthers had overcome a double-digit deficit in the second half against Northrop earlier in the day. What could Luke Goode and Zak Krueger possibly do to beat Snider that Sydney Curry, Isaac Anderson and the Bruins couldn’t?
Maybe it was the amount of energy expended to beat Northrop in the semifinal. Maybe it was the Panthers overlooking their opponent.
Or maybe, Homestead is just the best team in the SAC.
Whatever the reason, the Spartans’ 65-49 demolition of Snider on Friday was a lesson in crowning a team before the play on the court. Everyone walked away from Friday morning’s semifinals already handed the Panthers the tournament championship. Perhaps some of the youthful Snider roster listened to too much of that talk prior to the final.
The Spartans rode Luke Goode in the first half Friday, with the sophomore going for 20 points in the first half that included 4-of-6 from three-point range.
Meanwhile, Snider looked out of sync from the outset. They played with the same lack of energy that the half-full gym failed to generate. Apart from Dillon Duff (17 points, eight rebounds), no Panther seemed to play with the vigor necessary to compete with a Homestead team that was executing to perfection.
Goode was the star in the first half, but Zak Krueger made his presence felt over the final two quarters. He came alive with a trio of threes in the third quarter, while Goode continued to pour in points, eventually finishing with 31.
By the time the fourth quarter came around with Homestead up 14, Snider looked as good as done. With five minutes to go in regulation, Panthers fans were already filing out the door, almost looking half dazed at what they had witnessed.
Homestead (7-1) finished with nine threes made on 17 attempts. It shot close to 50 percent from the field for the game. Snider looked a half-step slow and a touch out of position defensively all night long, and the Spartans made them pay repeatedly.
Many prep hoops fans in northeast Indiana have crowned Snider as the “next” North Side. Loaded with talent both on the roster and on the coaching staff, the Panthers entered this week’s tournament with the top seed and the sexy pick to triumph.
With Friday’s result, a lesson was learned – Snider is not quite there yet.
And maybe one of these days, people will give Homestead coach Chris Johnson the respect he deserves.
BOUNCE’S ALL-SAC HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT TEAM
Note: These selections are of my own opinion, as is all you read in my columns. This in no way is an “official” tournament team decided by the conference. They don’t do that. Maybe they should.
Tournament MVP: Luke Goode, Homestead
Is there any doubt? Goode posted games of 31, 22 and 21 points while hitting 14 three pointers in three games over two days. His championship game 31 points was a tournament high and his three games were three of the top 5 scoring efforts on the boys side of the tournament (note: his 21 points tied four others for the fifth best game)
Bounce’s 1st Team All-Tournament
Luke Goode, Homestead
Zak Krueger, Homestead
Dillon Duff, Snider
Brayden Pearson, Concordia
Isaac Anderson, Northrop
Bounce’s 2nd Team All-Tournament
Michael Eley, Snider
Qualen Pettus, Northrop
Sydney Curry, Northrop
Craig Young, Wayne
David Ejah, Carroll
Bounce’s 3rd Team All-Tournament
Jayshawn Underwood, Snider
Dan McKeeman, Carroll
Kamari Anderson-Drew, Concordia
Adam Gottschalk, Concordia
Jared Lee, Bishop Dwenger