The Homer Central girls’ varsity basketball team got off to a fast start and were never challenged during the first round of Section 3 Class B Tournament action.
Jerze Joseph buried six 3-pointers and netted a total of 25 points as the 15th seeded Trojans rolled to a 64-22 win over visiting 18th-seed Camden in the first game of the post-season doubleheader Thursday night at Homer High School. Joseph, who also had three steals, was 9 for 22 from the field, including a 6 for 17 effort from three-point range.
Homer improved to 11-10 overall and will hit the road Saturday for a 6 p.m. second round game at second seeded South Jefferson (18-2).
“We have been shooting incredibly over the past six games,” Homer coach C.J. Kudla said. “It’s something we’ve preached as coaches all season and it’s finally coming along. I think this is the second or third game of the season where we’ve hit double-digit 3 pointers. I keep telling them all that matters at this point in the season is who is making plays to score the most points. There are no mysteries at this point in the season. Everyone knows what we do and who we are, so we need to be able to make plays and set each other up to make plays. Tonight we got into foul trouble early and couldn’t run our normal high pressure stuff, but our shooting in our half court offense made up for it. It’s incredible to get this sectional win at home.”
The Trojans went 24 for 66 (36 percent) from the field and were 11 for 29 (38 percent) from behind the 3-point arc.
Homer took a 16-7 lead in the first quarter, but really took charge in the second quarter. Six different players took part in the 20 point explosion as the Trojans bolted to a 36-10 halftime advantage. While the points were nice, it was equally impressive watching the defense allow just three points in the quarter.
Homer continued its dominance in the second half by scoring 14 points in both the third and fourth quarters. Hannibal was held to 12 second half points, six in each quarter. The Trojans’ fourth-quarter effort saw Joseph hit three 3-pointers and score 12 of the team’s 14 points.
After Joseph, Annika Roos scored nine points on three first half 3-pointers, grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots for Homer. Catherine Apker also netted nine points, made seven steals, pulled down six rebounds and dished out two assists for the Trojans. Gracie Patriarco chipped in with eight points, five steals, two rebounds and two assists.
Mary Buckingham led Camden (10-11) with six points. Leandra Paul added four points while Kendra Igoe and Megan Zalepeski each netted three points.
As for facing South Jefferson in the next round, a team ranked number two in the state behind Horace Mann from the AIS.
“We move on to South Jefferson, arguably the best team in the state, in any class,” Kudla said.
“They are very well coached and play at an extremely high level. I told the girls that, to me, going to South Jeff is a win-win. 50 percent chance we go shock the world, 50 percent chance we lose to a top team in the state and we start our off-season knowing exactly what we need to do when we return all five starters next winter.”