BounceInset_2We are closing in on the final days before Christmas and Bounce is in a giving mood.

In this week’s Power Poll, he is giving more respect for league wins than losses out of conference.

Northrop? Gets more kudos for a win over South than a blowout defeat against Lawrence North.

Concordia? Let’s focus on the 2-0 record in the SAC and not on the season-opening loss to Norwell.

Here is our final power poll of 2018, whether you like it or not.

NOTE: There will be no Power Poll next Tuesday. Bounce’s Power Polls will return January 1, 2019.

1. SNIDER (4-0, 2-0 SAC)

WHY #1?

It was a two-win week for the Panthers, who handled North Side on Friday before downing a talented Merrillville squad one day later.

While the scoring has been on point for Snider in averaging 73 points per game, it is the aggressive defense that has led to big nights on the scoreboard. On Saturday, the Panthers forced over 20 turnovers on Merrillville, many of which became easy points in transition.

Coach Jeremy Rauch laid the groundwork with this program in his first few years, focusing on playing solid defense when his team lacked much in the way of high-level talent (outside of Malik Williams). Now that the roster is loaded, Snider can be considered one of the top offensive AND defensive teams in the area.

It is a packed week for the Panthers, with three games in four days starting tonight against DeKalb.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Impossible.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-0

2. BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (5-0)

WHY #2?

The Braves may be without Caleb Furst and Michael Pulver for another few weeks, but Coach Marc Davidson’s team continues to not miss a beat.

With all credit to Canterbury last Friday, the Cavs had no way to stop Frank Davidson, who went for 31 points and is making a good case as the early leader for Outside the Huddle Player of the Year honors.

Abe Hicks and Marcus Davidson also made quite an impression against Canterbury, showcasing the scoring depth that this team has.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Despite being undefeated, the Braves lack that “marquee” victory in the area. There will be plenty of opportunities for that after Christmas as the SAC portion of the schedule picks up, beginning with a home game against Concordia on Jan.5.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-0

3. HOMESTEAD (5-1, 1-1 SAC)

WHY #3?

It won’t go down as one of the best games the Spartans have played this season, but Friday’s 64-61 win at Bishop Luers prevented Homestead from slipping to 0-2 in the SAC.

Zak Krueger continues to impress. The junior’s shot was off against the Knights, hitting just 4-of-11 from the field. But he was able to get to the free throw line 18 times, connecting on 15 of them to finish with 23 points.

Coach Chris Johnson’s team now has an extended break leading into the SAC Holiday Tournament next week, where it will open with Bishop Dwenger on Thursday morning.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The Spartans are the highest-ranked team in the poll that isn’t undefeated. Bounce has a bit of concern about secondary scoring behind Krueger and Luke Goode, but we expect seniors like Alec Grinsfelder, Xavier Overstreet and Trent Loomis to pick it up offensively as the season progresses.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-1

4. NORTHROP (6-1, 2-0 SAC)

WHY #4?

Qualen Pettus had himself a game in Friday’s 48-43 win over South Side, scoring 19 points, hitting some pivotal free throws and getting the game-clinching steal in the closing seconds. After breaking onto the scene last year, the junior is proving to be one of the top players in the conference.

As encouraging as Friday’s win was, the Bruins laid an egg Saturday in a 21-point loss to Lawrence North. The setback should allow Coach Rod Chamble to refocus his team as it prepares for a rematch with South to open the SAC Holiday Tournament next week.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Northrop beat a quality team in South Side on Friday, but still looked like a work in progress, a point which was proven on Saturday.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-0

5. WESTVIEW (6-0, 3-0 NECC)

WHY #5?

Other than perhaps Fairfield, it is difficult to look at any team in the NECC as a threat to Westview. The Warriors handled Angola by 22 points in its lone game last week to go to 3-0 in the conference with the average margin of victory being 27 points.

The big question that will be answered soon is, can Westview be competitive against the likes of Center Grove, Valpo and Warren Central in the Hall of Fame Tournament next week?

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Westview ranks No. 8 in the entire state in the Sagarin Ratings, but its strength of schedule is the weakest in the top 10.

That will change next week.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-0

6. EAST NOBLE (5-2, 2-0 NE8)

WHY #6?

The Knights continue to take strides forward despite missing senior Brent Cox for the last three games. The fact that he averages a double-double has left a void on both ends of the court for Coach Ryan Eakins’ team. Cox could mix a significant amount of time.

The absence of Cox has had a silver lining, with junior Nate Dickson picking up the scoring slack with 13 points against Huntington North on Dec. 8 and nine points in last week’s 15-point win at Columbia City.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

You could make a case that the Knights do indeed deserve to be higher than No. 6, considering they have given Snider its toughest test to date. East Noble can prove that as soon as Jan. 3 when Westview comes to Kendallville.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-1

7. CONCORDIA (5-1, 2-0 SAC)

WHY #7?

Who saw this coming? The Cadets are one of just three teams with unblemished league records in the SAC after last Friday’s defeat of Bishop Dwenger. Since a season-opening loss to Norwell, Concordia has won five straight and beaten quality teams like Carroll, Canterbury and the Saints.

After a few years of showing flashes, senior Adam Gottschalk has emerged under coach Phil Brackmann as a consistent scorer. He dropped a game-high 21 points in the win over Bishop Dwenger.

The Cadets will get Bishop Luers next Wednesday in SAC Holiday Tournament play.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The loss to Norwell is not a bad defeat, but does keep the Cadets from being in the upper half of Bounce’s power poll.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-0

8. BISHOP DWENGER (4-1, 1-1 SAC)

WHY #8?

The Saints took a bit of a tumble in this week’s power poll due to Friday’s loss to Concordia. However, Bishop Dwenger impressed on Saturday by going down to Marion and knocking off the Giants.

The schedule for team is insane over the next month. Last Friday’s game was the last home contest for Bishop Dwenger until it hosts Bishop Luers on Jan. 18.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Some flaws in this team were exposed by the Cadets on Friday, but none of the unfixable variety.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-1

9. SOUTH SIDE (0-5, 0-2 SAC)

WHY #9?

After being rumored for a few weeks, the news became official on Monday that South Side was forced to forfeit its first four games of the season due to using an ineligible player. The reasoning is far from nefarious, with a transferred player having seen action without all of the transfer paperwork having been completed.

Despite Friday’s loss to Northrop, junior JT Langston Jr. appeared to be the best player on the floor, hitting some big shots from inside and out for the Archers.

This team is still a work in progress, but at times on Friday looked like the better squad. Miscues at key times prevented South from staying undefeated.

The good thing for the Archers is, they get to try and avenge the loss when they open SAC Holiday Tournament play against the Bruins next week.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Last week’s loss leaves South Side still without a big-time win…or without an official win altogether after the forfeits.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-1

10. HUNTINGTON NORTH (5-2, 1-1 NE8)

WHY #10?

When we get to February, the Vikings may end up being the second-best team in the NE8. Unfortunately for them (and us), the showdown for league supremacy came in December, an 11-point loss at East Noble.

Two wins last week, including a double-digit takedown of an athletic Kokomo team, has Huntington North feeling good as it approaches the Christmas holiday, when it will host a one-day shootout with New Haven, Merrillville and Lowell.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The two best teams that Huntington North has played thus far have beaten it. However, that duo (Homestead, East Noble) is pretty darn good.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-2

JUST OUTSIDE THE TOP 10

Adams Central (5-1), Bellmont (5-2), Carroll (4-3), Heritage (5-0), Jay County (5-3), Norwell (4-2), Wayne (3-3).

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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