SHOOTER: Chris Johnson’s winning formula asserts dominance versus the Summit Athletic Conference
Friday night’s rematch between Homestead and North Side was going to come down to one thing: adaption. Who could make the warranted changes to their game plan after the Legends’ victory in the Summit Athletic Conference Holiday Tournament?
To really nobody’s surprise, Homestead coach Chris Johnson made the right changes. He adapted and he won, ending the Spartans four game skid against North Side in a budding rivalry game for both teams.
Homestead adapted to jump out by 19 points at the end of the first quarter and they adapted to absorb North Side run after North Side run, ultimately pulling out the 71-62 win. But enough about Friday night because this column isn’t about that one game. Instead, it is about Johnson.
Win number 300 on the Spartan sideline. Let that sink in. There are only 23 active IHSAA boys basketball coaches with more career wins than Johnson; just 45 current coaches who have more overall wins than Johnson has at Homestead after cashing in on that 300th Spartan win on Friday night. At 380-171, Johnson has won 69 percent of the games he has coached.
Numbers do not lie.
What has been even more amazing is that Johnson has put his stamp on the Summit Athletic Conference. Homestead has been in the conference just three years coming on the heels of a Class 4A state title during the final year of the Northeast Hoosier Conference. During Homestead’s time in the SAC, they are 20-3 in regular season games with one title under their belts, a win away from a share of the title a year ago and currently sit in the driver’s seat this season with four conference games left.
People used the word upset a lot on social media Friday when referring to Homestead’s early domination and likely victory Friday night. Maybe Shooter read those tweets wrong. Maybe they were referring to the mood of the North Side fans. Friday was no upset. Yes, Homestead had lost four in a row against the Legends including three losses last year when they lost just four times total. But look at the numbers beyond that: Johnson wins, so Homestead wins.
Numbers do not lie.
Shooter had a chat with Homestead parent David Skowronek on Twitter the other day. He challenged Shooter with some math, something not entirely in my wheelhouse, but I gave it a shot. Johnson’s dominance against the SAC has been unrivaled. In the last ten seasons, including the current one, he is 69-28 against SAC schools with an average point spread of just 7.8 points per game in the relative few he has lost. Overall as Homestead’s coach, Johnson is 109-67 against teams that were part of the SAC when he beat them.
All of it came together on Friday when Johnson claimed the SAC driver’s seat again with arguably the unlikeliest Homestead team to do so in the last handful of years. There are no McDonald’s All-Americans, no surefire Division 1 standouts. Instead, Homestead today is comprised of fundamentally sound basketball players that just get the picture: listen, learn, win.
They know Johnson will lead them correctly, they’ve seen the numbers and they have now been a part of the tangible proof: a lot of people could probably agree that Chris Johnson owns the SAC. I’ll say it at least.