Vikings dropped by Homestead in season opener

Vikings dropped by Homestead in season opener
Posted on 12/02/2020
Zach Hubartt looks to distribute the ball past Homestead's Luke GoodeThe 2020–21 season tipped off for the Huntington North boys basketball team on Tuesday night, as the Vikes traveled to face off against 11th-ranked Homestead. Despite a respectable showing from the visitors, the host Spartans came away with a 64–50 triumph. The loss started the Vikings’ season record at 0–1.

Typically played in front of a raucous crowd regardless of location, Tuesday’s duel was unlike any other played between the teams in the past, as no fans were allowed at the contest as per Homestead’s Fans in the Stands policy.

Junior guard Zach Hubartt got the evening started, burying a three-pointer for the first basket of the matchup and a quick 3–0 Huntington North advantage. The Vikings, sporting new red uniforms, would extend the gap to 5–0, but the Spartans finally came to life three minutes into the game en route to a 13–0 streak in a span of 2:31.

Huntington North stopped the bleeding in the final two minutes of the frame, cutting into the deficit for a five-point gap at 13–8 at the end of the first quarter.

Homestead’s Luke Goode, a University of Illinois commit, grabbed the headlines early in the second quarter, sinking a three-pointer to join the Spartans’ 1,000-point club. Goode then made the most of another opportunity as the final seconds ticked off the clock, executing a crossover jumper from beyond the arc to beat the buzzer for a 34–19 Homestead lead at halftime.

After a back-and-forth start to the third quarter, Hubartt would answer Goode’s last-second strike with a buzzer-beating jumper of his own to bring the score to 47–27 in favor of the hosts after three periods of play.

The Vikes tipped the scales in their favor in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Spartans 23–17 in the final stanza, but the effort was not enough to erase the Homestead advantage, as the visitors had fallen by a final tally of 64–50 when the final buzzer sounded.

“I was really proud of our effort,” said head coach Craig Teagle. “I think it’s obvious in the mid-fourth quarter we started wearing out. We’ve only had 10 practices with them and I think you can tell we don’t have our shape where it needs to be because of all the quarantining, but I thought the effort was good. We have to communicate better. We knew going in our game plan was (to) make them shoot 30 (or) 40 threes (and) don’t let them get to the paint. Well, when we turned it over, they got to the paint because it was a transition layup. I think we had them at about 28 points in the paint; we have to eliminate that. If we can eliminate that, then we have a chance to be in the game.”

Hubartt and senior guard Sam Thompson tied for the scoring lead for the Vikes with 15 points apiece and also tied for the team lead in rebounds with four along with junior forward Dominic Cardwell, who finished third on the team with nine points. Cardwell also swiped a team-best two steals.

Junior forward Austin Oswalt poured in seven points in addition to dishing out a team-high three assists, while junior forward Will Hotchkiss rounded out the scoring for Huntington North with four points.

On the other end of the floor, the Spartans capitalized on their size advantage all night long to come out on top.

Goode led the way for Homestead with 17 points and 10 rebounds to record the lone double-double performance of the evening in addition to snatching a game-best three steals. Fletcher Loyer, a Purdue University recruit, matched Goode’s output of 17 points while doling out a game-high six helpers.

In all, the Spartans hauled in 27 rebounds to Huntington North’s 23, but the hosts executed on their added offensive possessions, as Homestead’s 13 offensive boards led to an extra 15 points for the home team.

“They’re so talented that it’s going to be tough for anyone to match up with them,” Teagle said. “We tried to tell our guys, ‘We’re guarding one guy with five.’ It’s not like you have to guard one-on-one. Five of our guys are supposed to guard one of their guys. We didn’t do bad. I am proud of the kids’ effort and they had good attitudes on the floor. That’s a lot of the battle in today’s world, so if we can keep playing hard like that, we can fix some of the stuff.”

Teagle’s squad enters the season looking to establish an identity, as less than half of the roster saw notable playing time in 2019–20.

Additionally, the Vikes have already dealt with implications of COVID-19, as the majority of the team was quarantined for a period during the preseason, causing two games, including the Homestead contest, to be rescheduled.

“You just have to take each week and each game in its own entity, but if we can keep everyone healthy and keep them here, then we will keep improving,” Teagle said. “They’re a hard-working group and they’re fun to coach. We’re not super big obviously and we’re not real athletic, but we’ve got kids that work hard and they love the game of basketball and they’re passionate about it and they spend a lot of time with us doing it.”

The Huntington North and Homestead junior varsity teams also battled on Tuesday night, as the Spartans secured a 33–24 victory. Sophomore forward Aric Hosler paced the Vikings with 10 points in the loss.

Huntington North will return to the court on Saturday, hosting Warsaw in the Vikes’ first home game of the season. Opening tip for the varsity contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in North Arena.

Huntington North Vikings vs. Homestead Spartans
Dec. 1, 2020 at Homestead
Huntington North 50, Homestead 64

Huntington North
Zach Hubartt 5–10 2–3 15, Sam Thompson 5–11 2–2 15, Dominic Cardwell 3–5 3–4 9, Austin Oswalt 3–3 0–0 7, Will Hotchkiss 1–3 2–4 4, Noah Zahn 0–1 0–0 0, Jacob Daugherty 0–0 0–0 0, Cam McCarver 0–1 0–0 0, Tiler Carr 0–0 0–0 0, Cole Martz 0–0 0–0 0, Totals 17–34 9–13 50.

Fletcher Loyer 5–17 4–4 17, Luke Goode 6–20 2–3 17, Andrew Leeper 5–6 0–0 11, Grant Simmons 4–5 0–0 9, Kaleb Kolpien 2–3 1–2 5, Kyron Kaopuiki 2–2 0–0 5, Quinn Harmon 0–0 0–0 0, Caeden Kaopuiki 0–1 0–0 0, Ifaenyi Ezeakudo 0–0 0–0 0, Max Schiltz 0–0 0–0 0, Grady Swing 0–0 0–0 0, Totals 24–54 7–9 64.

Huntington North 8 11 8 2350
Homestead 13 21 13 1764

Three-point goals: Huntington North 7–16 (Zach Hubartt 3–5, Sam Thompson 3–9, Austin Oswalt 1–1, Noah Zahn 0–1), Homestead 9–30 (Fletcher Loyer 3–13, Luke Goode 3–11, Andrew Leeper 1–2, Kyron Kaopuiki 1–1, Grant Simmons 1–2, Kaleb Kolpien 0–1). Fouled out: Huntington North None, Homestead None. Rebounds: Huntington North 23 (Zach Hubartt 4, Sam Thompson 4, Dominic Cardwell 4), Homestead 27 (Luke Goode 10). Assists: Huntington North 9 (Austin Oswalt 3), Homestead 13 (Fletcher Loyer 6). Total Fouls: Huntington North 12, Homestead 16.
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