BounceInset_2We have reached our first holiday and have gotten some top teams facing off already. Homestead and Concordia wasn’t close. Will Norwell and Concordia be a fight to the end?

Bounce has been impressed so far and there are still some surprises like Carroll, Heritage and Woodlan that I am interested in seeing how they will sustain their winnings ways. Meanwhile one of the ACAC’s favorites in Jay County has lost to some tough opponents and are 1-3. Will they bounce back easily?

1. HOMESTEAD (4-0)

WHY #1?

Total domination of one of their conference’s top three teams was impressive. Save for the win over Wayne, beating Carmel, Northridge and Concordia with scoring depth and harassing defense is pretty impressive and those around the state are taking great notice. If anyone is beating Homestead, it likely is not soon and likely not happening locally.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

This is the ceiling.

2. CENTRAL NOBLE (6-0)

WHY #2?

Only allowing 24.5 points per game, Central Noble has one of the best defenses in the state regardless of class. While we have all praised the team’s desire to score outside of Sydney Freeman and Meleah Leatherman, not enough attention has been paid to their stifling defense.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Last week’s reasoning didn’t change. Homestead has faced stiffer competition. If it wasn’t for the difference in conferences, we may be having a different conversation. Maybe.

3. NORWELL (4-0)

WHY #3?

The Knights move up a spot and leapfrog South Side, not because of their perfect record, but because their win over NorthWood is the best win of the two teams. Norwell has used a diverse scoring punch to start perfect and the deeper they keep getting, the harder they will be to beat.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

While their wins are good, their dominance does not yet equal that of the two teams ahead of them.

4. SOUTH SIDE (4-1)

WHY #4?

The Archers are outscoring their opponents by almost 20 points per game after graduating a beefy part of their scoring punch. Alaya Chapman and Lamyia Woodson have both been getting stronger inside and Chapman’s mid range work has looked nice. Defensively, they have controlled the interior and only allowed Bishop Luers one made basket inside the arc in the first half a week ago.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

South slips as a credit to Norwell, Bounce is taking nothing away from the Archers. In fact, after watching Homestead beat Concordia last week, Bounce thinks that South could give the Spartans their best game locally. South needs a higher quality of opponent and are about to get it.

5. CONCORDIA (4-1)

WHY #5?

Even after the big loss to Homestead, the Cadets still average 18.2 points per game more than their opponents. That shows how impressive their wins are. Carissa Garcia’s 25.6 points per game is coming from shooting 67 percent inside the three point arc. As teams have adapted to her shooting, she has adapted and become an elite presence elsewhere on the court, shown by the fact she posted a game high scoring total against Homestead despite going a rare 0-for-5 from deep.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The loss to Homestead exposed their depth. Bounce has questions. The Cadets don’t yet have enough answers.

6. BELLMONT (5-1)

WHY #6?

They continue to dispatch quality teams and all five of their wins have to be considered “good” wins. 17-9 is the total win/loss record of teams Bellmont has beat and that counts a 1-3 Jay County team that is better than 1-3 but have played very tough opponents.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

They’ve beaten a lot of teams close behind them in our rankings and fell to the one team ahead of them they’ve beaten. They need a higher overall quality of opponent but one isn’t coming until the first of the year minus South Side on Dec. 5.

7. ANGOLA (3-1)

WHY #7?

The Hornets are all figuring out their roles quickly and getting comfortable in them. 11 different scorers has been nice, but Angola’s defense has been strong when it has mattered so far. Hanna Knoll registered five steals in each of the first two games of the season and if she can stay on a high defensive level, the rest of the team will fall in line.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Can they stop high scoring offenses?

8. BISHOP DWENGER (4-1)

WHY #8?

They didn’t play a huge wealth of young players last year, but now those girls are stepping up big. Freshman Emma Lyons wants to insert her name into the best freshman conversation even if she isn’t quite near the top 2. Maybe she is third? Sophomores Maggie Cheever and Molly Ream have played well, but who will be the one to breakout the most.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The Saints are still young and lacking that signature win. Tests are on the way.

9. WEST NOBLE (3-0)

WHY #9?

The loaded senior group has proven that they can compete in what Bounce is just going to go ahead and say is the most competitive local conference. The Chargers played a little bit of spoiler last year and they have the capability of winning on any given night behind those seniors.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Remember that two of their wins are against Class 1A programs.

10. CARROLL (5-1)

WHY #4?

Coach Mark Redding is good. So is the program that he has built. Wins over Columbia City and Huntington North have not only been unexpected, but quality. Emily Parrett and Olivia Hoeppner are really emerging as new stars for the Chargers.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Bounce can’t be sold on them yet because wins over Leo and Northrop should have been more convincing. Yes, I am nitpicky.

JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 10

Heritage (5-2), Bluffton (2-2), Woodlan (5-1), Columbia City (3-2), Westview (5-1)

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

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