There are going to be games like Friday for Homestead sophomore sensation Caleb Swanigan.
He is going to be hounded and collapsed upon in the post every time he touches the ball.
He is going to be swatted at, lunged at and basically mauled by opposing teams to prevent the No. 17 player in the Class of 2016 according to ESPN.com from single-handedly beating them.
That was the case for Swanigan against Carroll, with Chargers coach Marty Beasley utilizing a defense that made sure the 6-8, 280-pound big man didn't go off.
Fortunately, Homestead (4-1, 1-0 NHC) had other weapons to pick up the slack.
Swanigan finished with a season-low nine points on just 3-of-10 shooting, but his teammates stepped up in a 52-48 victory over the Chargers at Carroll Fieldhouse.
Sophomore Tahj Curry and junior Teddy Ray each scored 13 points from their guard positions, showing that the Spartans can have a balanced offensive attack when their star is not getting clean looks.
“We tried to get it (inside), it just wasn't there,” Homestead coach Chris Johnson said. “When it's not there you have to be able to step up and hit some threes and we did.”
Ray hit 4-of-8 of his 3-point attempts while Curry filled up the score sheet in a variety of ways. In addition to his 13 points, the sophomore had five rebounds, three assists and five steals.
Carroll (2-3, 0-1) was led by Chandler White's 17 points, although the junior shot just 5-of-16 from the field.
“It was a good team effort all around the board, we just played real good,” Curry said. “They were really helping down on (Swanigan), so our guards had to come out and make shots. That's what we did.”
While Swanigan did not have monster offensive numbers, he did grab 15 rebounds and did not appear to get frustrated when being hounded inside. Carroll made no secret that it was collapsing down on the big man when he posted up, sometimes pulling all five defenders inside or within a step of the paint.
“(Carroll) did a great job of bottling up our inside game and Tahj and Teddy did a fantastic job,” Johnson said. “I could go through the entire line … our guards did what they were supposed to do.”
With proven veterans in the backcourt like Nick Gamble and Seth Coate gone and just a pair of players back with significant varsity experience in Swanigan and senior Joe Ault, the biggest question for the Spartans this season was how the new players were going to adapt to the varsity game and how they were going to handle it when Swanigan was not able to do his thing.
That question was answered on Friday night, although plenty of work remains to be done. Homestead shot just 13-of-26 from the free throw line, allowing Carroll to stay in the game late.
“To be able to come in and win a tough game like this with Caleb having (nine points) … it's a big win for us,” Johnson said. “I like this team. We're getting better as far as our guards so teams won't be able to do what they're doing once we step up and (are) able to hit some threes. “
HOMESTEAD 52, CARROLL 48
Homestead: Joe Ault 3, Ryan Cotter 5, Tahj Curry 13, Teddy Ray 13, Luke Cooper 2, Caleb Swanigan 9, Dana Batt 7.
Carroll: Jake Graham 4, Chandler White 17, Jeffrey Kalonji 2, Kyle Mallers 12, Jeremy Kalonji 8, Josh Gilbert 2, Kelham Brown 3.