Story by Kyle Neddenreip, Indianapolis Star; Photos by Doug McSchooler, Indianapolis Star
LOGANSPORT – At 10:47 a.m. on Saturday, the buzzer sounded on the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A.
In a showdown of the state’s top two teams, second-ranked Carmel knocked off top-ranked Homestead 60-49 in the regional semifinal at the Berry Bowl in Logansport. Carmel (23-2) will play either Fort Wayne Carroll or Lafayette Jeff in the regional final at 8 p.m.
“We kind of came in with a chip on our shoulder,” said Carmel senior Brian Waddell. “We knew if we were able to defend their two best players, we’d be able to score offensively no problem. We tried to mix up our matchups and put different guys on them.”
Those two targets for Carmel were Homestead senior Luke Goode, an Illinois recruit, and junior Fletcher Loyer, a Purdue recruit. Carmel coach Ryan Osborn had three different players guard both the 6-7 Goode and the 6-4 Loyer. The latter got going in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 of his game-high 26 points.
Loyer pulled Homestead (25-1) within 50-46 on a 3-pointer 2:43 left and 53-49 on an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:26 left. But Charlie Williams, a 6-10 junior who finished with a team-high 20 points for Carmel, scored on the other end and the Greyhounds pulled away from there.
“We said before the game we didn’t want to be down eight or 10 going into the fourth quarter,” Homestead coach Chris Johnson said. “We knew it was going to be a battle. We just couldn’t get over the hump. We couldn’t get anything to fall consistently.”
Loyer was 10-for-18 from the floor for Homestead, but the rest of the team was 10-for-25. Carmel outrebounded the Spartans, 27-16. Pete Suder, who played a key role defending Loyer and Goode at different times, finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
“We got into some foul trouble early and had some guys step up and guard positions they haven’t all year,” Osborn said. “It’s a team that just kind of rolls with the punches. They’ve done a pretty good job of locking into big picture and doing what they need to get things accomplished.”
Williams continued his stellar play from the sectional, coming out with six points in the first quarter. He helped the Greyhounds pull away late, hitting 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.
“He’s grown more than anybody from the beginning of the season to the end,” Osborn said of Williams. “We’re talking about a kid that had every right to be a little bit frustrated early in the season … he’s really dialed in. He put it all together today and really rebounded and scored it well. We need to have a post presence like that.”
Osborn, whose hometown is Logansport, said the key between games for his team was rest. There were a few smiles as the players left the locker room, but no celebrating. That was no surprise to Osborn, who led Carmel to a state title two years ago.
“They are mature kids,” Osborn said. “I live it, so I see it every day. People make comments about how focused they are. I think they are humble kids and they are just in it for each other. That’s what makes it all so enjoyable.”
It was the end of the line for a Homestead team that had run the table until Saturday, knocking off top-10 teams like Lawrence North, Cathedral and Warren Central along the way. Goode and two other starters — Grant Simmons and Kaleb Kolpien — are gone to graduation. But Loyer will return.
“Unless you win it all, there is going to be disappointment,” Johnson said. “But you know, you look back to the beginning of the season and think, ‘Would you take going 25-0?’ I would in a heartbeat. We just got beat by a team that played better than us today. It’s too bad it’s not best four-out-of-seven like the pros so we could make some adjustments and play them again. But’s it not. And I’m very congratulatory to Carmel. They are a very good team.”
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.
CARMEL 60, HOMESTEAD 49
Homestead 10 7 15 17 – 49
Carmel 14 11 17 18 – 60
Homestead (25-1) – Loyer 10 4-5 26, Kolpien 1 0-1 2, Goode 5 3-3 15, Leeper 0 0-2 0, Simmons 4 0-1 9, Quinn 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 7-12 49.
Carmel (23-2) – Gioia 1 0-0 2, Whack 1 0-0 2, Suder 6 0-0 12, Waddell 7 2-4 16, Williams 6 8-8 20, Orme 2 0-0 5, Beery 0 0-0 0, Leary 1 0-0 3. Totals: 20 18-24 62.
3-pointers: Homestead 5 (Loyer 2, Goode 2, Simmons). Carmel 2 (Orme, Leary).