Lady Spartans’ Season Recap

Lady+Spartans+Season+Recap

Luke Land, Writer/Designer

DISCLAIMER: At the time of writing this, the girl’s team have lost to Noblesville in the Regional semi-final. This is a recap of the regular season ONLY. No information is related to the state playoffs games that have been played.

With the regular season having ended, it’s only right to go over the past season the girls’ basketball team just completed; a historic season at that. The Lady Spartans put on an absolute show this season, going 21-1, with their only loss being  to Noblesville. They went undefeated in Summit Athletic Conference (SAC) play and outright won the conference.

I feel as though this year’s team has improved consistently throughout the season,” said head coach Rod Parker. Parker feels that the team chemistry and culture built at Homestead has allowed the Lady Spartans to reach their full potential. 

He is proud of the girls for giving it their all this season, especially since “giving it your all” is what he preaches religiously day in and day out. The girls’ effort  has allowed them to play at a high level against great competition. 

A key success to their wins this season was Ayanna Patterson (12), the 6’3” center committed to the  highly-ranked University of Connecticut. Parker said that “it has been very rewarding to watch Patterson grow as a player and person over the past four years. Parker states that Patterson is treated “no different than any other player in our program”. 

Parker was asked the tough question of who is better: the 2016-17 state championship winning team, or this year’s team. Parker said that they’re not comparable. They both had very different strengths and weaknesses. He added that they have two common themes: the chemistry and willingness of players to play their roles that allowed them to be successful.

Maggie Keinsley (12) is proud of the team’s accomplishments from this season, from breaking the school’s win-streak record, to being ranked number one in the state and a top-25 team in the nation. Keinsley feels that she played well as an individual because she was surrounded by a great team.

The lessons that Keinsley learned this year have been important. She learned to value every possession, and that the little things will help them win games. She has also learned that team chemistry is essential to success. . “Our team is one big friend group, and that helps us on the court,” said Keinsley.

Keinsley’s biggest personal victory this year was committing to play basketball at the next level at Saginaw Valley State, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school. She couldn’t be more ecstatic about it either, saying that it’s been a dream of hers ever since she was a little girl.

When asked what it was like playing her final game at Homestead, it made her tear up. She views this group of girls as her sisters, so leaving is going to be a tough thing for her. “We have hopefully a long postseason run, so my time isn’t fully over yet, but I do not know what I will do when it is,” Keinsley said.

Finally, when asked who she’d like to thank. Keinsley said her family and extended family, her coaches at Homestead, her Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coaches, and Vernard Hollins for helping her to make her who she is today.

“It’s bittersweet, I’ve played with most of these girls in my grade since 2nd grade so that’s definitely going to be sad,” Ali Stephens (11) said about playing her second-to-last season. Although she is sad about having only one full season ahead of her, Stephens is excited for her next four years at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. 

Stephens couldn’t be happier about where she is at this season. Even though she didn’t set many personal goals, she is ready to accomplish the goals she set her freshman year: score 1,000 career points; make the most threes in one game; and to make the most threes in a career. 

Stephens had struggles early on in the year; her shot wasn’t falling. But she adapted. “My shot will come, I just have to focus on getting those extra rebounds, making good passes and playing good defense,” Stephens said. 

For next season, Stephens just wants to go out there and win games. She wants to win it all: the SAC and state, but she also wants to go out there and enjoy her final year as a Spartan. 

The underclassmen are looking bright at Homestead. Emma Ruest (10) and Claire Landrigan (10) have promising futures. 

Ruest is hoping next year to become a leader for the incoming girls. She wants to be a mentor and provide help when needed. She is also excited about next season because of all of the returning girls. 

As for this season, Ruest has played very well with her given opportunities. She said she’s improved a lot since last season. Ruest is extremely proud of how she played against South Bend Washington, which was the number three team in the state at the time. She had to overcome her jumpshot not falling this year, but she spent a lot of time trying to correct it.

For Landrigan, she’s proud with how she played with the limited time given. Her biggest victory this season was getting past her nerves and being able to play basketball on the big stage. She feels that everyone being close together allows the team to play better.

For next season, Landrigan wants to be a bigger asset for the team. She feels that there will be serious ground to make up for the loss of two great seniors, but comradery will be there and it will be a fun experience for them. Landrigan hopes that she can play the sixth man role next season, which will allow her to be a bigger part of the team and get more playing time.

Here at Homestead, we have had such a great program, and this year is no different. This is a historic season for the Lady Spartans. From being the best in the state to breaking school records, this team is special. I cannot wait to see what they do this postseason. Hopefully, they bring home more than just a sectional title. 

(Photo Credit: Grace Lenea Studios)