The Summit Athletic Conference is an odd place sometimes with all of the ups and downs. Last year, we actually had different conference and holiday tournament winners. This year, a lot of unknowns are present. A significant portion of the conference graduated, but it feels like we have a ton of talent back.
That shows the growth of girls basketball in recent years. There is not a lot of downtime, only reloading in this amphibian’s eyes.
We only sit a week away from the start of conference play with games on November 10, which is crazy. To know we are already going to be seeing how the pecking order breaks down officially is something Bounce is looking forward to. Until then, you will just have to rely on my predicted order of finish, whether you agree with it or not.
Homestead didn’t finish the job last year and it surprised a lot of people. But they were still young, still inexperienced and maybe lacked a sense of urgency this senior laden team is going to have. That said, Bounce doesn’t want to oversell or undersell this Spartan group. If they handle the target on their backs like they should, who in the SAC touches them? And are they actually deeper with talent than a team that boasted Miss Basketball just two seasons ago?
Bishop Luers sent shockwaves through Wayne High School when the eliminated Homestead from the holiday tournament last year. But after that, everyone knew what they were getting; no more surprises. So the Knights aren’t going to surprise anyone this year, but maybe they don’t need to. They have very fundamental talent and a defense that can harass opponents.
South Side lost a lot of talent to graduation. A lot of their followers were vocal that last year was the year to make waves and they did by capturing a pair of titles. Then they graduated a lot of what they relied on. Is that a problem for long? Not when you have coach Juanita Goodwell. She kept just enough in line to make up for a lot of what was lost and freshman Olivia Smith, if she plays as good as advertised, will have the Archers in title contention for four more years.
Concordia Lutheran may miss a step inside, but they have who Bounce is anointing the preseason SAC MVP in Carissa Garcia, who can hurt teams in a lot of ways. Garcia had to be brought along by upper class leadership when she was a freshman and if she can guide the younger pieces, Concordia has the potential to fall in the upper echelon of the conference.
Snider is somewhat of a mystery until they step onto the court. But we did see some really good flashes towards the end of the season from a team that was freshman and sophomore laden. They are growing up now though and if coach Gregory Addison has his way, a hard hitting defense could be a big part in stopping some strong offensive options.
Bishop Dwenger doesn’t have another Ellen Ross somewhere to be a double-double threat, but they do have Molly Ream, who led them in playing time last year and showed she could be the next torch bearer for the Saints.
Carroll will have to almost completely reload, but Bounce loves the defense show last year by Emily Parrett. Coach Mark Redding is a winner and that will put the Chargers in contention a lot of nights even if they aren’t ready to get over the hump just yet.
North Side may finally have some footing after years of an unsteady roster turnover. With a five player senior class of girls who have been in the program for years, North Side is coming off their most wins since 2009.
Northrop built for last season as much, if not more, than anyone else. It also means they have a lot to replace in numbers and reliability. Sophomores Destiny Jackson and Tiana White are going to have to grow up quickly.
Wayne will have an educated new coach in Lacia Gorman. Can she get the program back on the right foot? Mya Jackson can be and will be a dominant presence down low but the road back for Wayne will be a long one.
Carissa Garcia of Concordia has all of the tools to be an Indiana All-Star this season. The ultimate question for her is how much better she can make the players around her.
Sylare Starks of Homestead has had time to get comfortable with her Spartan teammates after a full season and full summer. Consistency is the key as there were times she looked like herself and times she looked out of sync last season. Starks in sync with her Spartan teammates is scary.
Alaya Chapman of South Side has always been an aggressor in the footsteps of graduated big sister Taniece and Bounce thinks she will turn that aggression all of the way up this year. Six points and four rebounds per game last year was fine but something has me feeling like she will be one of the toughest players to defend on the Archers roster this year.
Lydia Reimbold of Bishop Luers has been getting better in every aspect of the game every season. Last year, she posted 10.6 points, seven rebounds, 3.3 assists, 3.3 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. If you can’t rely on Reimbold to be involved all of the time, then who can you rely on?
Players on the rise
Ayanna Patterson of Homestead is not only good, she is quite humble. If you believe those who know her best, including Always 100’s Vernard Hollins, she may be the best female high school basketball player this area has ever produced by the time she is done here. If you don’t believe him or me, believe the over 20 Division I college coaches who have already offered her a scholarship purely based on her non high school playing exploits.
Libby Bierbaum of Bishop Luers is part of a very good junior class and she really did a good job of asserting herself well last year. Her confidence is growing and you could see that in almost every shot she took after the holiday tournament last season.
These opinions represent those of Bounce and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Bounce on Twitter at Bounce_OTH