Another week at the top for the Spartans, but it happens after two games where they had to hold their breath a little. Good for Norwell and Bishop Luers, who both held their own but had winning streaks snapped by the depth of Homestead.

This is the last week before a heavy holiday schedule for most of these teams.

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

1. HOMESTEAD (12-0, 5-0 SAC)

Why #1?

Why wouldn’t they be? Despite solid challenges in the last week, the Spartans have powered through and deficiencies they have had. They have done so with a bevvy of double digit scorers. Last Tuesday’s win was big for two individual reasons: it could have been a true breakout game for Ayanna Patterson, who’s double-double was fantastic and showed true maturity. Also, Rylie Parker is back to pre-injury form immediately. This week they have a big test in North Central. Next week, it is a non stop test.

Why not higher?

I’m not sure.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 4-0

2. CENTRAL NOBLE (12-0, 6-0 NECC)

Why #2?

Lets talk about what they did without Sydney Freeman healthy last Friday. Sure, their best player played, but she scored all of three points on all of three or so shots. Behind her, they thrives and that is what it will take for another deep tournament run, although we are still a ways away from the postseason. Central Noble’s players are more aggressive offensively and that could pay off greatly.

Why not higher?

Homestead is just really good.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 2-0

3. NORWELL (10-1, 3-0 NE8)

Why #3?

So why didn’t Norwell drop this week after picking up their first loss? Did you see their Homestead game? The Knights had the lead for a bit and constantly got in shots and runs at a more seasoned and more challenged Homestead team. Norwell plays a great schedule, but not Homestead’s schedule. None the less, they looked like a team who plays on an extremely high level every night. Eric Thornton has Norwell clicking and they will likely continue to roll up until January 12’s NE8 title showdown at Bellmont.

Why not higher?

The loss will hold them back from moving up now.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 2-1

4. BELLMONT (10-1, 3-0 NE8)

Why #4?

Last week’s lone game was far closer than it ever should have been, but wins are wins and Bellmont always had control.  They will have a fun run of ACAC opponents and a showdown Saturday with Bishop Luers at Hoosier Gym that will test them. But, until someone actually beats Bellmont again, there is no reason to believe they should be any higher or lower than they are right now.

Why not higher?

January 12. That is likely the next chance to move up. When Norwell comes to Decatur, all eyes will be on the Northeast 8.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 2-1

5. SOUTH SIDE (8-3, 5-0 SAC)

Why #5?

Because they are just good. Their losses come to teams a combined 27-8 but the South Side that Bounce saw in the second half last Friday against Northrop were on another level. I mentioned it elsewhere this week, but this team was able to flip a switch at halftime of that game and take over. They can do that against nearly any opponent, I know they can.

Why not higher?

After losing to Bellmont, we have to ask how they can finish big games. Like many other teams on this list, they can answer a lot of questions in the SAC Tournament.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 1-1

6. CONCORDIA (11-2, 4-1)

Why #6?

Winners of their last seven, the Cadets have played good basketball and are finding depth behind Carissa Garcia and Nautica Rogers. CC Calloway played good on Monday in a win over Columbia City and the more depth they can have, the more fun next week could be in the SAC Tournament. They will not play until then.

Why not higher?

Because they still hold losses to those elite teams. A good run in the SAC Tournament can change my mind.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 2-2

7. BISHOP LUERS (7-3, 3-2 SAC)

Why #7?

Homestead ended Luers’ seven game win streak, but there was a seven game win streak. Over that time, they have shown strong defensive effort and looked like a team who could contend at the top half of the SAC. For a while last Friday, it looked like they could contend for the top spot before succumbing to Homestead.

Why not higher?

The seven wins came against low and mid level teams. Talk to me after Saturday’s game against Bellmont.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 0-3

8. WEST NOBLE (9-1, 3-1 NECC)

Why #8?

Their unbeaten start happened for a reason. This is a scrappy team who never gives up. Despite a big deficit to Central Noble last Friday, they fought back and made it a game while trying to keep a zero in the loss column. West Noble has earned respect and for good reason.

Why not higher?

The loss to Central Noble shows they aren’t in the elite, but kudos for hanging with the Cougars, even if Sydney Freeman wasn’t 100 percent. A good run through the NECC Tournament could boost them.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 0-1

9. WARSAW (10-4, 2-0 NLC)

Why #9?

A win over Columbia City isn’t a top notch boost to the resume, but it isn’t a bad one. Their four losses come to teams with a combined record of 45-4 so you can’t call a single loss they have a bad loss. Nearly everyone with a loss in this area has a “bad loss.”

Why not higher?

Warsaw is 2-1 against other area teams but we are still looking for a signature win.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 0-1

10. BISHOP DWENGER (7-5, 3-2 SAC)

Why #10?

They can still play at a quality level as they basically trade wins and losses at this point.  They are a good team that can always keep teams on upset watch, which makes them a fun team any night or in next week’s SAC Holiday Tournament.

Why not higher?

There is nowhere upward to go right now. The Saints are a quality program that hasn’t shown they can top elite programs. Right now, they tread water at the back end of the top 10.

Record vs. OTH Top 10: 0-3

OTHERS UNDER CONSIDERATIONS

Carroll (8-5), Jay County (6-6), Bluffton (7-4), Woodlan (10-3)

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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