Some days, everything goes your way.
Tuesday was one of those days for the Homestead girls basketball team: The IBCA No. 1 Spartans hit their first six shots against South Bend St. Joseph and put together one of their best offensive performances of the season in an 80-44 win.
That red-hot start came several hours after senior Ayanna Patterson was announced as a McDonald's All American, one of 24 girls and 48 players from across the country who will participate at the annual high school basketball showcase in Chicago at the end of March. The All American game is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, and Patterson is the first girl from Fort Wayne to be selected since a girls game was added in 2002.
“It means a lot. I mean, I'm able to go out and represent my city and Indiana altogether, go out and play my hardest in Chicago,” Patterson said.
The only other northeast Indiana player to participate in the girls game is Shanna Zolman Mahaley of Wawasee, who was the MVP of the first class of McDonald's All American girls in 2002.
“I'm so excited for Ayanna, it's a great accomplishment, it's a great honor to be named to that All American team,” Homestead coach Rod Parker said. “It's just a great representation of all the hard work she's put in, a great reflection of her teammates here at Homestead, Homestead High School and the Fort Wayne area.”
Patterson got the Spartans (20-1) started Tuesday night, hitting the first basket in what soon become a Spartans onslaught. Maggie Keinsley followed with a bucket of her own, Ali Stephens hit back-to-back 3s and Patterson scored again before St. Joseph called a timeout with 5:39 to play in the quarter, trailing 12-0. Coming out of the timeout, Stephens hit her third 3 of the evening to give Homestead a 15-0 lead before Kelly Ratigan hit a 3-pointer for St. Joseph's first points.
But the rest of the quarter was all Spartans, including a 3-point attempt at the buzzer by Emma Reust that gave Homestead a 30-3 lead.
“It was probably the most beautiful basketball we've played,” said Patterson, who has signed with UConn. “We were moving the ball. We just relied on and trusted each other. Seeing the ball go through the net does a lot for us.”
St. Joseph stanched the bleeding and didn't lose more ground in the second quarter, as Ratigan scored 13 points and hit three of her team's four 3-pointers. Homestead led 47-22 at halftime, but the third quarter was much like the first, and the Spartans outscored St. Joseph 22-2, triggering the running clock.
Patterson, who came into the game averaging 25.4 points, 12 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.8 blocks per game, finished with a team-high 23 points. Keinsley scored 15. Molly Stock had 14 and Reust had 11.
Ratigan scored a game-high 27 points.