Both varsity teams trounce Jackson Olin to begin area play

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Jake Stephens (JR, left) poses with Cannon Armstead (SR, right) before tip off (photo by Russell Dearing)

Russell Dearing, Staff Writer

Thursday, Jan. 5 proved to be a clean sweep for the Homewood Patriots, with both the boys and girls varsity teams defeating the opposing Jackson Olin Mustangs by wide margins. 

Kayla Warren (JR) sizes up the Mustang defender (photo by Russell Dearing)

For the girls, this win was nothing short of domination.

Under the direction of head coach Gavin King, the team executed their game plan to perfection, posting a final score of 64-24.

The girls started the first quarter on a 14-0 run, attributed mainly to their stifling defense. The Mustangs were hard-pressed to cross midcourt in the first half, with the Patriots only letting up full-court pressure when they went up 32-4. 

Offensively, the Patriots led a balanced attack spearheaded by junior Kayla Warren’s 14 points and 6 assists (in addition to 4 defensive steals). 

The girls have won 8 of their last 9 games, which improves their season record to 16-4 and 1-0 in the area. 

Coach King expressed that these area wins are “the most important” and highlighted the hard work each of his players has contributed. 

Laine Litton (SO, left) and Ellis McCool (FR, right) lockdown Jackson Olin ball handler (photo by Russell Dearing)

“All of our girls have gotten better individually. We’ve worked really hard at practice… they just have continued to get better and better throughout the year.” 

King then claimed that he does not plan to dwell on this win, as he is focusing more on what lies ahead.

“We’ve got some really tough games ahead of us,” he said. “We definitely don’t take these wins for granted.”

“We just have to keep working, keep scouting, keep preparing for our next area opponents,” he asserted.

We have a lot of work still to do.”

— Head Coach Gavin King

The Patriots will take the court again at Columbia High School on Jan. 6 at 5:15 pm.

For the boys, Thursday’s victory was grittier than the final score may indicate.

Though they finished 59-40, Homewood sputtered out of the gate, falling behind as Jackson Olin took advantage of their size and bulk to create open looks their shooters were able to knock down. 

Clay Burdeshaw (SR) goes up for the dunk (photo by Russell Dearing)

“Jackson Olin was better than what we had kind of seen on film,” said head coach Tim Shepler said in a post-game interview.

But the Patriots refused to give in, clawing their way back and ending the half down by only 3 points. In the third quarter, junior David Stone took over, scoring 8 of his team-high 15 (1 of 4 Patriots in double figures) within the period. This, along with a pair of triples by senior Cannon Armstead, powered Homewood to a 4-point lead going into the fourth quarter.

From there the boys took the lead and did not look back, outscoring the Mustangs 16-1 in the final quarter and finishing with a resounding area win. 

Jeremiah Gary takes it straight to the hoop past multiple Mustang defenders (photo by Russell Dearing)

For Shepler, this game was somewhat of a rollercoaster.

“It made us a little nervous,” he admitted. “We wanted to get off to a good start; you always do at home. It didn’t look like it was going to be our night there for a while.” 

He was quick to praise his players’ resilience, however, claiming that his team  “stayed the course” and “the better team won.” 

Junior Stone’s production in the post is a promising sign for Homewood moving forward, seeing as they have mostly played a spread, outside-in offense due to their lack of size. If he manages to keep this up, the Patriots may have another option if their perimeter shots are not falling. 

Homewood faces off against Minor at home on Jan. 10 at 7:30 pm.