Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Tom Rehm awards the Nancy Rehm award to the Homestead girls basketball team after Sunday's Nancy Rehm Border Wars Classic at the University of Saint Francis.
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Karissa McLaughlin, of Homestead, is awarded MVP by Tom Rehm at Sunday's Nancy Rehm Border Wars Classic at the University of Saint Francis.
Sunday, April 30, 2017 9:00 pm
Homestead girls go out in style
MARK SCHUTTE | For The Journal Gazette
Knowing that this really was the final time he would coach the four seniors who helped Homestead win a Class 4A state title, Rod Parker was looking for a chance to get the players on the court together for one last time.
So, with 3:58 to go in Indiana’s 79-58 win over Ohio in the Nancy Rehm Border Wars Classic on Sunday at Saint Francis, Parker inserted Karissa McLaughlin, Madisen Parker, Jazmyne Geist and Teryn Kline into the lineup.
As they had done for four seasons playing for Parker at Homestead, the quartet generally made life miserable for its opponents during their curtain call.
Geist scored inside on a pass from McLaughlin, who shortly thereafter picked off a pass and went in for the last two of her game-high 23 points and a 79-53 lead.
With 1:38 to go, Parker removed the four players, who came out to an ovation and then gathered on the bench for one last group hug.
“It was memorable to go out for one last minute playing with my Homestead teammates,” said McLaughlin, who was named the game’s MVP after scoring 23 points (tied for the third most in Border Wars history) to go with five assists, five steals and five rebounds. “We thought state was going to be our last time, then we found out this was going to be our last time to play together. They’re going to be my friends for life.”
After winning the 4A title on Feb. 25 with a win over Indianapolis Pike, Rod Parker thought he was watching the girls who helped Homestead go 103-10 over the past four seasons play together for the last time.
But when he was asked to coach the Indiana team in the annual Border Wars game, Parker knew he couldn’t say no.
“I was really excited the four seniors had one more opportunity to play together,” Parker said. “One last closure for their careers at Homestead, but also what they’ve been able to do for basketball in the Fort Wayne community.”
After the game, the Spartans were then recognized for their contributions by receiving the 2017 Nancy Rehm Award, which for 35 years has gone to a person or group who has contributed to the advancement of women in sports.
“That is extremely special; I had no idea that award was coming,” Rod Parker said. “It’s a great list of recipients from the past and to be able to put the Homestead Spartans and these young ladies on that list and receive that award speaks a lot to their character on and off the court, and I’m very proud of them for that.”
Geist and Parker each finished with 12 points and three rebounds.
The Indiana team never trailed after the opening five minutes and led by as much as 32 early in the fourth quarter. The win was Indiana’s fourth in the five years and gave it a 13-12 lead over Ohio in the series.
“We had a lot of talent,” said Tippecanoe Valley’s Anne Secrest, who added seven points and seven rebounds. “We were very deep. As a team we wanted to win and give Indiana that leg up. That was nice being able to do that.”
Jami Hardy of Cardinal Stritch led Ohio with 13 points, while Kierstyn Repp of Archbold and Whitney Will added 11 each.
To cap her MVP day – which came three days after being named Indiana’s Miss Basketball – McLaughlin won the girls 3-point shooting contest at halftime of the boys game, hitting 19 threes in one minute, two ahead of Repp.