H-F coach not surprised by state basketball title

The IHSA Class 4A state championship trophy is on display during a ceremony Sunday, March 11, to honor the state champion
Homewood-Flossmoor High School boys basketball team. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Jamere Dismukes knew this team was special pretty early.

Last summer, Homewood-Flossmoor won the Nike Chicago Basketball Academy tournament at Whitney Young. The field was loaded, including some of the state’s traditional powerhouses. The Vikings beat Curie, Kenwood Academy and Simeon that week to take the title.

What’s more, they did it before Bryce Heard was on the roster. The four-star recruit with scholarship offers from major conference schools across the country hadn’t yet transferred back home from Montverde Academy in Florida.

H-F boys basketball Head Coach Jamere Dismukes offers remarks at
the trophy ceremony Sunday, March 11, after his team claimed the
IHSA Class 4A state basketball championship the night before.
(Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

“When we won the CBA, I thought to myself ‘We really have a chance,’” Dismukes said. “Bryce transferred about a month later, and I thought that could put us over the top.” 


The coach’s confidence came even before that moment, though. 

One of his assistants shared a picture of the 2023 state finals in a staff group chat. Dismukes answered with a promise. 

“My response in our group message was ‘We will be there next year. I guarantee it,’” Dismukes said. “I’m very confident in what we do as a staff here. I’m very confident in the support and the resources here. I think when you have a confident staff, a lot of resources and good support, I think you can do this pretty much every year.” 

When H-F topped Normal Community 60-48 to win the 4A state championship, Dismukes’ prophecy became reality.

“It feels like all the hard work that we did, summer league, all the training, all the weight lifting, it feels like we got our reward,” Dismukes said. “Hats off to our guys for just staying focused and keeping that main goal the main goal.” 

That’s not to say there weren’t low moments over the course of the season. The Vikings won 33 games but also lost four.

During the Chicago Elite Classic, H-F took a huge setback against one the top prep basketball programs in the country. Washington D.C.’s Gonzaga beat the Vikings 77-47 at Credit Union 1 Arena.

It was a turning point that players kept in mind throughout the remainder of the campaign. 

“It really humbled us, not only the kids but myself as well because I got a chance to coach against one of the premier programs in the country,” Dismukes said. “We didn’t get hit in the mouth. We got stomped in the mouth.”

Dismukes described the following day’s practice as “elite.” He said none of the players hung their heads. Everyone was eager to get back to work.

“At that point, I knew that this team was resilient,” Dismukes said. “I knew this team was going to shock the world.” 

The Vikings rattled off 13 straight wins after that. 

There will be some turnover next year. Heard is expected back but star point guard Gianni Cobb, captain Carson Brownfield, Mac Hagemaster, Gakobie McNeal and Dominic Pangallo are among the eight seniors who will graduate. 

The key to staying at a championship level, Dismukes believes, is building the feeder system. He plans to continue to be a familiar face at Parker Junior High and James Hart School games, as well as with the Vikings United youth team.

“I think if we’re going to keep this thing moving, we have to 100% start with the younger kids,” he said. “They’re the kids who are going to grow up in our system and try to accomplish what this group accomplished.”

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