Boys Basketball | Class 4A North Semistate

Homestead to be a 'big' challenge for Lake Central's Wideman

2014-03-18T17:00:00Z 2014-04-15T19:45:31Z Homestead to be a 'big' challenge for Lake Central's WidemanSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com

When Homestead boys basketball coach Chris Johnson walks into Lafayette Jeff's packed gymnasium on Saturday for the Class 4A Northern Semistate, a lot will be new and fresh.

But coaching against Lake Central will not be.

Johnson was an assistant coach for Jim East at Merrillville from 1992 through 1994. In fact, this is the third year of the last four that an East assistant has coached in this game, which is 32 minutes from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Munster's Mike Hackett was here in 2011 and Merrillville's T.J. Lux was here last March. Now it's Johnson.

"We're playing our best basketball at the end of the year and that's what you want to do," Johnson said. "Our kids are coming together. We're shooting better from the outside and that's opened up the inside."

Opening up the inside is big, real big, for the Spartans (20-7). Homestead sophomore Caleb Swanigan is 6-foot-8, 270 pounds. He's already been offered by Indiana, Georgetown, Michigan State and Pittsburgh. Michigan and Purdue are also recruiting Swanigan in a big, real big, way.

In Saturday's surprising regional win at Marion, Swanigan scored 18 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in the 68-60 win over Kokomo. He scored 26 and had 13 rebounds in the 59-57 win over Hamilton Southeastern in the championship, which was the school's first regional title.

"He's a phenomenal player," Johnson said. "He's got great hands and great footwork for a man that size. He runs the floor very well and he leads us in 3-point percentage.

"He reminds me of a young Zach Randolph."

Lake Central also has a great big man in 6-8 senior Tyler Wideman, who will play at Butler next year and had the game-winning tip-in Saturday night in the Indians' 57-55 win over Penn at the Michigan City Regional.

Like Wideman, it is not a one-man show. Swanigan has a lot of help. The starting five is formidable.

Ryan Cotter is a 5-9 senior guard averaging 4.2 points and 1.9 assists. Tahj Curry is a 6-foot-1 sophomore guard averaging 9.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Ben Skowronek is a 6-3 sophomore forward is scoring 2.8 points a game.

Joe Ault is a 6-4 senior forward who is averaging 10.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. And Swanigan is averaging 21 points per game and a lot of rebounds.

The two teams have two common opponents. Homestead beat Merrillville 70-41 on Nov. 3, and the Spartans lost to Munster 61-58 on Dec. 28. Lake Central beat Merrillville 72-33 on Dec. 28 and beat the Pirates again, 65-43, on Feb. 7.

Lake Central beat Munster 47-38 on Dec. 17. Then, the Indians beat the Mustangs 53-37 on March 8 in the championship game of the E.C. Central Sectional.

Johnson knows this will be a big test on a big stage. Few expected his team to win a Marion and they did. So being an underdog, even slightly, is nothing new, like coaching against Lake Central.

"They have a big-time player and we have a big-time player," Johnson said. "But both teams have good players around them. It's going to be a great, exciting game. We're looking forward to the challenge."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which local prep soccer semistate qualifier will most likely reach state?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses