The scoreboard in the Spartans gym Monday reflected a game that had been played two days earlier and a two-hour bus ride away: Homestead 61, Pike 54.
The Homestead High School student body filled and overflowed the gym to celebrate the girls basketball team’s first IHSAA Class 4A state championship, but also to thank the team’s four seniors: Jazmyne Geist, Teryn Kline, Karissa McLaughlin and Madisen Parker.
“We knew exactly what the goal has been all year,” said Parker, a starting guard for the 29-2 Lady Spartans and the winner of the Class 4A Patricia L. Roy Mental Attitude Award. As she had done in her Bankers Life Fieldhouse acceptance speech, Parker shared the credit with those who surrounded her. She thanked “all our coaches for all the time they gave us … all these players, and all these coaches.”
“I was honored to receive the honor this year, and I think it spoke volumes about our team and also about the program that we’ve built here at Homestead,” she said Monday. “I think our whole team has a very positive mental attitude and I think that’s part of why the award came to Homestead and it played into why we won.”
In accepting the award in Indianapolis, Parker shared the spotlight with her mother, Melissa, and her father, coach Rod Parker. Madisen’s sister, Rylie, is a freshman and an up-and-coming Lady Spartan. Madisen’s brother Ryan, 9, also attended the Monday presentation at Homestead. “He’s involved a lot in the community and he’s one of our biggest fans, too,” coach Parker said of his son.
Even after accepting the mental attitude award, the Lady Spartans continued to demonstrate that attribute. The team and the Homestead fans applauded the introductions of the state runner-up Pike Red Devils.
That’s how it’s done at Homestead, Madisen said. “Pike’s a great team. They worked hard. We were there two years ago and we knew what it felt like to fall a little short after you’ve worked so hard. Getting there is a great accomplishment. They have a great team and they’ll have a great team again next year.”
Geist was a match for Pike’s strong rebounding, snagging 12 rebounds. Sophomore Haley Swing grabbed 10 hotly contested rebounds.
Holding a 3 -point lead at the half, the Lady Spartans came out from the locker room to the gym floor one final time.
The Lady Spartans had to battle to the end. “I never had a sigh of relief,” Geist said. “I knew that we had to keep fighting to the end, and we did, and we got the job done.”
McLaughlin took scoring honors in the championship game. Her 29 points tied her for fourth place in IHSAA Class 4A girls state finals history. Parker scored 17 points.
Coach Parker said Monday’s pep rally was a celebration of the seniors and their hard work. “It’s been a very exciting year. It was great that they could come back and [be cheered] in front of the teachers and the student body and a good representation from the community,” Parker said. “We play a great schedule and we appreciate all the community support.”
He said that also applies to the boys basketball team “and across the board in extracurricular and athletic activities.”
“We’re glad we can give them a product they can enjoy,” Parker said.
The victory capped a championship season that had not been without its close calls or even without disappointment. Geist said she wouldn’t rewrite the season if she could. “I would not have traded anyone in the world,” she said. “I would not have traded coaches, teammates, the way things played out, our wins and losses. I would not have traded anything because it all turned out the way it was supposed to.”
For full tournament results and to keep up with the boys tournaments, visit ihsaa.org.