It may not have mattered who was in the finals of the Summit Athletic Conference’s Holiday Tournament on Friday night. If Luke Goode was on the other team, you probably didn’t stand much of a chance. Goode scored a game and tournament high 31 points to lead Homestead to a 65-49 win over top seeded Snider.
Goode finished the day going 11-of-16 from three point range between the two Spartan wins, over Snider and Carroll.
“That is what big time players do. The stage is big. Big time players show up when the stage is big,” said Homestead coach Chris Johnson.
“That first shot went in, I was feeling my shot and I just kept shooting. My team gave me confidence,” Goode said. “Some of the shots I just had to trust myself. I put hours in in the gym and it kind of payed off.”
Snider’s Dillon Duff went to work early as the third seeded Spartans struggled to find a match up for him. He drew an early first quarter foul from Goode and Homestead tried out Trent Loomis and Alec Grinsfelder, who then totaled three fouls between them against Duff’s dribble drive.
But when you have Goode, you have a chance. The sophomore hit three of four first quarter three point attempts, including a buzzer beater to tie the game at 14.
Zak Krueger’s finish with 6:30 left in the second quarter was the finishing touch on a 7-0 Homestead run to start the quarter, allowing the Spartans to play with the type of lead they had become accustomed to through the tournament. Snider did an admirable job of not letting the lead balloon to double digits, getting timely makes from Jayshawn Underwood and Duff while trying out different players defensively on Goode.
The defense against Goode seemed to matter little. He hit four three pointers in the opening half and tallied 20 points on his own to propel Homestead to a 30-24 halftime lead. Duff’s nine points and five rebounds led Snider in the first half while Cleevas Craig had seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
The game seesawed early in the third quarter, but at the 4:27 mark of the third quarter, Krueger rolled off a third straight important screen from Grinsfelder to separate himself from Michael Eley and knocked down a 15 foot jumper to give Homestead their first double digit lead of the game, 40-30.
“I’m just trying to get them open. They [Krueger and Goode] are our scorers, coach wants the ball in their hands so I am just going to do my best to help them get points,” Grinsfelder said. “It is big for us, big for coach Johnson and we are just happy to come out with the win.”
“Nobody has to score to be good. Will Smith came in and rebounded the ball, Trent Loomis played good all week. It doesn’t have to be scoring where our team is the best, but more the defense and rebounding where we can all contribute,” Goode added.
Homestead’s lead was pushed to 15 with a minute and half to play when Goode knocked down yet another jumper, this one from twelve feet away in the short corner over the defense of Underwood, who just didn’t have the length to bother the 6-foot-5 sophomore’s shot.
The Spartans went into an ultra patient mode in the final five minutes of the game. Their late game ball movement was evident in this game just as it was their first two wins and they were able to wear the clock down to zero by moving the ball smoothly with crisp passes and no desire to shoot the ball.
The end of the game went like much of the middle two quarters, with Snider looking for some flashes of offense, but ultimately having a lot of their looks challenged well by the Spartans.
“We wanted to make sure we wanted to make them take contested shots,” Johnson said. “I give a lot of credit to my assistant coaches, they understand the game, they feed me a lot of information so we are very fortunate to have the type of kids we have, the type of coaches we have and I am just happy to be a part of it.”
Goode led all scorers with 31 points while Krueger added 21. Duff had 17 points and Underwood added 10 in the loss.
While either Homestead or Carroll have made the championship game in three of the four years the teams have been in the SAC, this is the first title from either of the former NHC transplants.
Homestead is now 7-3 all time in the SAC Holiday Tournament with their first title. Snider falls to 43-41 in tournament history with their eighth runner up finish.