BounceInset_2It has been a whirlwind two weeks since the boys basketball season kicked off just before Thanksgiving.

Many teams have played multiple games, while others (Bishop Dwenger) are still waiting to kick off its season after a successful postseason football run.

Bounce is confident that he has seen enough to put together his first in-season power poll of the year.

1. SNIDER (1-0)

WHY #1?

The Panthers went on the road to East Noble to open the season and picked up a three-point victory in the process.

What stood out about Snider in the win was the depth in which the Panthers have. Coach Jeremy Rauch can go about 11 deep without losing much production on the floor. And that is not including Cleevas Craig, who should be eligible this week after transferring in and needing to get the requisite amount of practices in.

Interior defense needs to improve, but Craig should help in that area.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

We don’t rate teams #0

2. BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (2-0)

WHY #2?

We can talk about the quality of opponents here, but the fact of the matter is the Braves beat North Side and New Haven by a combined 80 points last week.

Blackhawk Christian mirrors Snider in that it can go deep into its bench, but the Braves have the edge when it comes to top-level talent. Caleb Furst’s 33-point effort against New Haven showed what a lot of people already knew, that the sophomore has vastly improved his offensive versatility.

Meanwhile, Frankie Davidson is underappreciated as an athletic and strong finisher at the basket, arguably the best in the area.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The only difference so far between the Braves and Snider is the Panthers have a marquee victory.

NOTE: Blackhawk Christian and Snider will not face off until Feb. 5.

3. HOMESTEAD (3-0)

WHY #3?

We shouldn’t be surprised.

Luke Goode was a known quantity entering the season, but the rest of the Spartans roster had a lot of question marks.

But all Homestead has done is knock off Huntington North, Warsaw and Marion to start the season, putting the rest of the area on notice that the program has once again reloaded with talent.

Goode leads the team in scoring, but newbies Zak Krueger (14.3 ppg) and Xavier Overstreet (7.5 ppg) have stepped up big in the early going.

The Spartans have started off hot at the free throw line as well, hitting 87 percent (46-of-53) from the stripe through three games.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Despite the early success, it is difficult to vault the Spartans over Snider and Blackhawk Christian considering how impressive those two teams have been as well.

In an interesting scheduling quirk, Homestead plays just three times between now and the start of the SAC Holiday Tournament on Dec. 26.

4. EAST NOBLE (3-1)

WHY #4?

The Knights rebounded from a close home loss to Snider by knocking off Carroll over the weekend.

Can Bounce gush about Brent Cox for a second? Everyone knows Ali Ali and Hayden Jones, but Cox showcased his skills last year in several games as a junior. He is not flashy and he doesn’t have an abundance of athleticism,  but Cox is that blue-collar hoopster that cleans up the glass and is almost automatic when it comes to finishing at the basket. The senior is averaging a double-double (15.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg) through four games.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Coach Ryan Eakins’ team is the highest-ranked team with a loss in Bounce’s poll. That’s pretty fair as far as this amphibian is concerned.

5. NORTHROP (4-0)

WHY #5?

Sydney Curry has been everything many expected him to be, going for three double-doubles last week in a trio of Bruins’ victories. He has proven to be a nightmare for opponents in the post and has shown some skill in running the break as well.

Curry is just one piece in a bigger Northrop puzzle. Qualen Pettus has been a scoring machine through four games, and Nick Haines has showcased his outside shooting prowess.

The Bruins are 4-0 for the first time since the 2012-13 season and will look to keep it going this week as they open SAC play against Bishop Luers on Friday.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Northrop’s four victories have come against teams with a combined three wins. The Bruins are good, but it remains to be seen just how good.

6. CARROLL (1-2)

WHY #6?

A season-opening victory two days before Thanksgiving gave way to losses to Penn and East Noble. Neither loss merits serious concern in the Chargers being a contender in the SAC this year.

David Ejah was a beast against the Knights, going for 20 and 13 in a losing effort. If Ejah can be that consistent throughout the season, he will be a terror on opposing defenses.

Meanwhile, fellow senior Dan McKeeman was held scoreless in the weekend loss to East Noble. Getting McKeeman going will be key in a two-game week this week that features games against Concordia on Friday and Columbia City on Saturday.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Two losses in three games to begin a season could be harbinger of a mediocre season for some, but Carroll schedules tough out of conference. The Chargers should be just fine, but need to prove they are at the level of the teams above them in Bounce’s poll.

7. WESTVIEW (3-0)

WHY #7?

The way in which Westview dispatched of Churubusco, potentially a threat to the Warriors’ dominance of the NECC, should really be a cause for concern for the league. Westview’s 36-point victory was highlighted by Charlie Yoder’s 33-point, 11-rebound, three-block performance in the conference opener for both teams.

Westview looks well on their way to winning at least 25 games again and being an afterthought in the area because of its lack of Fort Wayne-area teams on the schedule.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The schedule leaves something to be desired, although a good test at NorthWood looms on Thursday.

8. HUNTINGTON NORTH (3-1)

WHY #8?

The Vikings have recovered from that season-opening loss to Homestead with three wins, including a 10-point victory over Warsaw last Saturday.

As expected, the senior trio of Hank Pulver, Sawyer Stoltz and Zach Daugherty have led the way offensively. Combined the three are averaging 71 percent of the team’s points thus far.

A huge test looms Saturday with a visit to Kendallville to take on East Noble in the NE8 opener for both teams.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The five-point loss to Homestead surprised some considering the Vikings were the veteran team to the Spartans’ roster of newcomers. Huntington North will have a chance to move up this power poll with a win over the Knights.

9. BISHOP DWENGER (0-0)

WHY #9?

The Saints were ranked No. 9 in our initial preseason countdown and it seems unfair to move them up or down considering they have yet to tip off the season.

Bishop Dwenger will hit the ground running this week with games against Norwell Wednesday and at Homestead on Friday.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Bounce is a fan of coach Matt Kostoff, but not enough to move his team up without a win yet. Then again, he would probably say they are still undefeated…

10. SOUTH SIDE (3-0)

WHY #10?

Is Austin Jordan getting the attention he deserves? In the first three games of his sophomore campaign, the guard is averaging 12.3 points and 5 assists per contest, both team highs.

Jordan is getting help from junior Treveon Jones (12.0 ppg) and senior Everett Merritt as the Archers are 3-0 for the first time since 2007.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

South Side has yet to beat a team with a winning record and should breeze past North Side this Friday to kick off SAC play. We will get a good indication of just how good the Archers are on Dec. 14 when they host Northrop.

JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 10

Heritage (2-0), Bellmont (3-0), Norwell (2-0).

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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