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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Shooter: Is Homestead's success an attention curse?

Homestead's Jazmyne Geist (34) and Karissa McLaughlin (12) battle for a rebound with South Side's Taniece Chapman (background) during the SAC Holiday Tournament finals on December 26, 2015. (News-Sentinel photo by Dan Vance)
Homestead's Jazmyne Geist (34) and Karissa McLaughlin (12) battle for a rebound with South Side's Taniece Chapman (background) during the SAC Holiday Tournament finals on December 26, 2015. (News-Sentinel photo by Dan Vance)

More Information

TODAY
BOYS
Angola at Lakewood Park, 7:30 p.m.
North Side vs. Lawrence Central, 3:30 p.m.
Snider vs. Lawrence North, 6:30 p.m.
Fremont at Woodlan, 7:30 p.m.
Huntington North at Wabash, 7:30 p.m.

Goshen Tournament
Fairfield vs. East Noble, 6 p.m.

GIRLS
South Side at Lawrence North, 3:30 p.m.

FRIDAY
BOYS
Bishop Luers at Indianapolis Manual, 9:30 p.m.
North Side vs. Indianapolis Tindley, 12:30 p.m.

Goshen Tournament
Consolation, 6 p.m.
Championship, 8 p.m.

GIRLS

Warsaw at Norwell, 7:45 p.m.
Chicago Simeon at Homestead, noon
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Spartans' talent can be taken for granted

Thursday, December 22, 2016 05:12 am
Friday at noon, the Homestead Spartan girls are welcoming Chicago Simeon, the 14th best team in the state of Illinois, to Fort Wayne for a game. It is a makeup game, rescheduled for noon on a Friday, away from any primetime interest it was to generate last weekend; fact is, nobody seems to be talking about a top-three team from Indiana facing a top-15 team from our western neighbors. Some may say its poor scheduling, but to me it is another instance of a flat-out curse. That’ right, the Homestead girls are cursed. What? Curse you say? The No. 1 team in Class 4A, ranked in the top 15 in the nation by USA Today, undefeated and with a Miss Basketball candidate?

Yes, cursed. It’s not a shock when they do good or break records or score a lot of points. SAC tournament coming up? Eh, they’ll win. Postseason favorite? Eh, they’ll go the furthest. When assumption turns into “hot it is,” it sets a dangerous precedent on focus of coverage sometimes.

And this frog is just as guilty as anyone else. We all talk about the surprises and the intriguing matchups, but somehow it seems like Homestead is forced to take a backseat and simply because what they are doing is somehow not considered special just because we know they will be successful.

Karissa McLaughlin’s face should be in the paper every time Homestead plays a game. She’s that good. The last time the region had a Miss Basketball was Norwell’s Jessica Rupright in 2012, and the last time Fort Wayne had one was Tiffany Gooden in 1994. Especially if she does manage take home that honor, McLaughlin can lay claim to possibly being the best female basketball player to ever come out of Fort Wayne.

That’s a big title.

It is baffling to Shooter that the Spartans aren’t more of a focal point. Coach Rod Parker has the perfect mindset if you ask this frog. He does the exact opposite of of hide and downplay the sky-high expectations of the team. If anything, he magnifies them. Parker makes sure that his girls know exactly what they are staring down the barrel of and it has only accelerated his team’s progress and success at points. The Spartans, too, know that they are the best team in the area. They may not say it, but they know.

But they don’t shy away from it the way that a lot of media seems to. Just because something is dominant does not make it boring.

Watch a Homestead game if you don’t believe me. Take a stroll over to Wayne next week for any of the three games that the Spartans are likely to play in and just watch. When Dr. James Naismith created the game of basketball 125 years ago yesterday, spawning generations of amphibian and Spartan basketballers alike, not even he could have imagined the pure majesty that a high school team could play with like Homestead did.

Not only do they have News-Sentinel Fabulous Five honorees McLaughlin, Madisen Parker and Jazmyne Geist. They have a bench that would make most area coaches want to plug in as their starting five. They have key seniors, juniors, sophomores and even freshmen alike. And yet, it is rarely talked about and seemingly never celebrated at the same rate that other teams, especially of the opposite gender, are.

Maybe it is for a fear of putting teenagers on a pedestal. Maybe it is for the sake of not being repetitive. But the Spartans deserve these things. They deserve repeat praise and they certainly deserve a pedestal that they’ve earned by buying into their own hype so they can make themselves better.

Since that last region player, Rupright, was named Miss Basketball, this program is 106-12. That is something that legend is made of and something that should absolutely be immune to curses.

This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Shooter at nssports@news-sentinel.com



More Information

TODAY
BOYS
Angola at Lakewood Park, 7:30 p.m.
North Side vs. Lawrence Central, 3:30 p.m.
Snider vs. Lawrence North, 6:30 p.m.
Fremont at Woodlan, 7:30 p.m.
Huntington North at Wabash, 7:30 p.m.

Goshen Tournament
Fairfield vs. East Noble, 6 p.m.

GIRLS
South Side at Lawrence North, 3:30 p.m.

FRIDAY
BOYS
Bishop Luers at Indianapolis Manual, 9:30 p.m.
North Side vs. Indianapolis Tindley, 12:30 p.m.

Goshen Tournament
Consolation, 6 p.m.
Championship, 8 p.m.

GIRLS

Warsaw at Norwell, 7:45 p.m.
Chicago Simeon at Homestead, noon

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