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Spartans’ ‘D’ takes backseat in win

LEO-CEDARVILLE – Homestead boys basketball coach Chris Johnson had one grievance after his team got its fifth straight win in a 100-88 shootout against host Leo on Monday.

“Offensively, you can’t complain anytime you score 100 points,” Johnson said. “But I am not too happy with the effort on defense because it was a one-pass, bombs-away night, and I don’t like playing that way. It’s what AAU has brought us; play absolutely no defense, and that’s both teams. That’s not the team we want to be known for. We will play any way a team wants us to play, but we still have to defend at the opposite end.”

Nick Gamble led the Spartans (6-1) with 27 points, Trevor Osborn had 25, Caleb Swanigan 19 points and Joe Ault added 14 points.

“It’s a fun style to play, but we have to work on our defense,” Gamble said.

Swanigan added 20 rebounds, and his presence inside is important to the Spartans’ tempo.

“We have a 6-foot-7, 285-pound kid under the basket who is pretty tough to guard,” Johnson said of Swanigan. “We can’t play into a team’s up and down and say let’s play fun-and-gun because all of the sudden he’s going to get worn out.”

The Spartans’ offense impressed Leo coach Cary Cogdell.

“They have all the pieces to beat about anybody, and I think they are one of the best teams in the area,” Cogdell said.

Leo (3-3) got 29 points from David Hardin, including seven three-pointers, 27 points and 14 rebounds from A.J. Busche and 14 points from Sam Waters.

Homestead led 69-49 midway through the third quarter before Leo came back. The Lions had the ball trailing 84-81 with three minutes left but committed a turnover, and the Spartans closed with a 16-7 run.

“They ran out on us and got away a little bit, but our kids battled … at that point coming back from that amount, you can’t make any mistakes against a team that good,” Cogdell said.

The Spartans made 42 of 70 from the field, including 25 of 39 in the first half. But defensively, Homestead gave up 88 points.

Leo was 14 of 37 on three-pointers and 31 of 73 overall.

Homestead led 55-47 at halftime before going on a 14-2 run to open the third to get the 20-point lead.

“We know they are capable of making runs,” Gamble said. “Our whole thing was to stay poised when they make their run, and we just have to make sure we punch back.”

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