Your amphibious friend Bounce is back with his weekly hoops rankings.

There were some eyebrow-raising scores last week, meaning there was some movement behind the top two.

Let’s see where we are at in mid-December.

1. SNIDER (2-0)

WHY #1?

The Panthers continue to ease into the season, having played just two games through the first three weeks. But the two victories have been impressive.

In last Friday’s SAC opener, Snider showcased its depth in a victory over Wayne in which the Panthers led by as many as 21 points.

The addition of Cleevas Craig gives Snider a true post, allowing Dillon Duff to play more on the wing, which fits his game.

Merrillville on Saturday will be a solid test.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Power poll rules dictate no one can be ranked higher than #1.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 2-0

2. BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (4-0)

WHY #2?

Two more blowout victories last week were overshadowed by the hand injury to Caleb Furst, who missed Saturday’s 42-point win over Woodlan.

While there is a lack of clarity, Outside the Huddle has been told that Furst should not miss significant time. But even if the stud sophomore has to sit out a little bit longer, the Braves should be just fine until it heads to the tournament at North Daviess late this month.

While this team hasn’t been challenged yet, it is AVERAGING 92 points per game, seven points better than the next highest-scoring team (Silver Creek, 85 ppg).

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Blackhawk Christian at Snider, Feb. 5

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 0-0

3. BISHOP DWENGER (2-0)

WHY #3?

Uh, why not? All the Saints did in a three-day span to open the season was beat Norwell and Homestead.

The win over the Spartans was particularly impressive considering Bishop Dwenger trailed by double digits through the first eight minutes. But the Saints defense stepped up, holding the Spartans to just 15 points over the middle two quarters to help earn a three-point win.

Jared Lee has been exceptional. A guy that projected to step into the starting lineup this year, the senior dropped a game-high 15 points in the Homestead win.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The Saints deserve to be in the No. 3 spot, but there is plenty more to prove. The schedule later this month will be telling, with Marion, Richmond, Homestead (to start the SAC Holiday Tournament) and Carroll looming between Dec. 15 and Jan. 4.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 1-0

4. HOMESTEAD (4-1)

WHY #4?

Many were caught off guard by Friday’s loss to Bishop Dwenger, although it wasn’t totally unexpected. Coaches Chris Johnson and Matt Kostoff are the two longest-tenured in the SAC and have met up in competition many times. Basically, there are no secrets there and it is all about execution.

Zak Krueger continues to be the early favorite for newcomer of the year in the SAC. He currently leads the Spartans in scoring (16.4 ppg), assists (4.8) and steals (1.8) from his point guard spot.

Homestead rebounded from the Friday defeat by pounding New Haven by 33 points a night later. Spartans are just fine.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The Spartans lost to #3 Bishop Dwenger and have yet to play the top two in our poll. Patience.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 1-1

5. NORTHROP (5-0)

WHY #5?

The Bruins continued to hum right along last week, taking care of Bishop Luers in their lone game.

The problem with playing Northrop is that they have a lot of different ways it can hurt you. Sydney Curry can post you up. Qualen Pettus can dribble right around you. TaQuay White can hurt you inside and out. Nick Haines can get hot and hit everything from the perimeter.

There’s a lot to like with this Bruins team and it is playing with confidence right now.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Despite the impressive record, the Bruins have yet to play a team that is even sniffing our Top 10, let alone in it. That changes this weekend when Northrop goes to South Side, then follows that up with a game against Lawrence North on Saturday.

The Bruins can make a statement.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 0-0

6. WESTVIEW (5-0)

WHY #6?

It was two more wins by double digits last week for the Warriors, making it five straight in that fashion to start the season.

Late last year, Nick Rensberger battled through a knee injury that took away his ability to play at full speed. Now much better, the senior post is delivering. He dropped 20 points in Saturday’s win over Central Noble, a team high besting the likes of Elijah Hales (18 points) and Charlie Yoder (19 points).

Things get interesting in a few weeks with a trip to Warsaw followed by the Hall of Fame Tournament on Dec. 29 where the first opponent will be IU commit Trayce Jackson-Davis and Center Grove.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

It is tough to properly rank the No. 1 team in Class 2A due to a lack of opponents from the Fort Wayne metro area. This squad very well may be good enough to battle with some of the top teams around, we just don’t know.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 0-0

7. EAST NOBLE (4-2)

WHY #7?

The Knights took a bit of a tumble in our weekly rankings after a loss on the road to an average Northridge team on Friday. However, they did recover and knock off a solid Huntington North team one day later.

This team remains one of the more talented teams around, with Ali Ali averaging 17.7 points a game and Brent Cox looking the part of a force in the paint.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Losses to Snider and Northridge overshadow a narrow win over Carroll. This could be the lowest the Knights will be in this power poll all year.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 1-1

8. SOUTH SIDE (4-0)

WHY #8?

Four of South’s top five scorers are underclassmen, paced by sophomore Austin Jordan (12.3 ppg). That’s bad news for opponents in the future, but the Archers are playing pretty darn well now.

But while the start looks good on paper, the quality of opponent has been lacking. That changes this Friday against Northrop.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

South could really make a statement and climb this power poll with a victory on Friday.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 0-0

9. HUNTINGTON NORTH (3-2)

WHY #9?

The Vikings went on the road to Kendallville and trailed East Noble by just one point after the third quarter last Friday, but the Knights pulled away down the stretch.

Sawyer Stoltz has been hot and cold for Huntington North. He scored 18 points against Mississinewa and 24 against Southwood, but has not scored more than four in his other three games.

A double dip with Leo and Kokomo is on the schedule for this weekend.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

An 0-2 record against the OTH Top 10 is a big reason why.

Record against OTH Top 10: 0-2

10. WAYNE (1-2)

WHY #10?

Many will look at this ranking for the Generals and think it is way, WAY too high. Maybe it is, but we were impressed with how Wayne played Snider last week, fighting back from 21 down to get to within eight late.

This team is still trying to find its leader with Craig Young gone, but Darius Alexander was in beast mode in the second half against the Panthers and Timon Kinnie was hot from the outside.

There are pieces here. Can Coach Aaron Rehrer meld it together?

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The two losses have been to quality opponents Snider and Culver, but the Generals must prove they can win consistently before starting a march up these rankings.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 0-1

JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 10

Heritage (4-0), Carroll (2-3), Bellmont (4-1), Adams Central (4-1), Norwell (3-1), Jay County (3-2).

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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