The Summit Athletic Conference Holiday Tournament is its own beast. Kind of existing in its own bubble, the girls side is always a microcosm of the regular season with a few twists and turns mixed in just for a fun shakeup.

Don’t believe us, just ask last year’s Bishop Luers Knights and Homestead Spartans.

Below, we at Outside the Huddle break down each team, by seeding, and mention some players you should watch out for in this year’s tournament.

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

Why they could contend

Because only twice have they ever lost to a SAC opponent while in the SAC. And while I’m quick to avoid labeling last year’s tournament loss a fluke, it probably wouldn’t happen too many other times if they replayed that game. Homestead controls Homestead’s destiny and, as coach Rod Parker has said, you have to work hard to have that school’s name across the front of your jerset.

Potential tournament star

Sylare Starks has as much, if not more, SAC Tournament experience than anyone who will see the court at Wayne this week. Homestead may not need Starks to be 100 percent on, but she has a point to prove after last year and that makes her very dangerous.

Potential tournament breakout player

Ayanna Patterson will play in her first tournament and it isn’t so easy for a freshman to make a big impact in this tournament. But she isn’t just any freshman.

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South Side’s Jas Combs could be a breakout performer for the Archers in their attempt to repeat as SAC Holiday Tournament champions.

(2) SOUTH SIDE ARCHERS (9-3, 5-0 SAC)

Why they could contend

Being the defending champion is a motivator in itself. This Archer group doesn’t want to let the last Archer group down. If teams give South Side second or third opportunities, it will spell trouble, so finding ways to contain both Alaya Chapman and Lamyia Woodson at the same time is crucial. Easier said than done.

Potential tournament star

Jaci Jones has become a player meant for this stage. Capable of leading her team or hitting the big shot, South may want the ball in her hands when push comes to shove. That is what makes a star, the need to have the ball.

Potential tournament breakout player

Jas Combs is a silent killer. The way she exploded off the bench in a recent win over Northrop was no fluke. She may end up being the best Archer on the team when her career ends, but she is far from that. A shining moment in this year’s tournament isn’t out of her grasp.

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Nautica Rogers has added a strong inside threat for the Cadets.

(3) CONCORDIA LUTHERAN CADETS (11-2, 4-1 SAC)

Why they could contend

See below under “potential tournament star.” Carissa Garcia is arguably the SAC’s best player. Does the team with the conference’s best player always win? Often enough. As Concordia continues to find roles for other, younger players, they will just get better.

Potential tournament star

Carissa Garcia, as noted, is one of a kind. She has been one of the most exciting players to watch in the SAC Tournament since her freshman year. Nobody made it on the top scorers list all-time last year on the girls side. If anyone will score 29-plus points this year in a game, the best bet is on Garcia.

Potential tournament breakout player

CC Calloway has started to come out of her shell in recent games. This is the right time to do that and make the biggest mark.

(4) CARROLL CHARGERS (8-5, 2-2 SAC)

Why they could contend

Carroll is a surprise team in the fact they have been as successful so quick with a big roster turnover. Because of their quick ascent back to contendership has to worry other teams. The Chargers are game for any opponent, win or lose. That could give others pause.

Potential tournament star

Emily Parrett got good experience last year in the tournament against Luers and South Side. This year, she has been able to score well and step up as an energetic leader for the Chargers. Carroll could very well go as she goes.

Potential tournament breakout player

Olivia Hoeppner does a lot of the little things that go unappreciated. This is the time when you will appreciate them if you are a Carroll fan.

(5) BISHOP DWENGER SAINTS (8-6, 3-2 SAC)

Why they could contend

The Saints have nothing to lose. The entire team will be back again next season minus one player deep off the bench. Few things are more dangerous than teams like that, the Saints will play with house money.

Potential tournament star

Molly Ream has a solid outing in the 2017 tournament and will be the de facto leader into this year’s tournament. She is leading the Saints in points, assists and steals. Ream will be active on the perimeter, challenging anyone she matches up with.

Potential tournament breakout player

Maggie Cheever is just one a good core of youngsters for the Saints. Cheever has, like most young players, traded good games and bad games. If she puts out some of her solid scoring and rebound numbers here, it will help the Saints a lot.

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Libby Bierbaum of Bishop Luers was one of the tournament’s breakout players last year.

(6) BISHOP LUERS KNIGHTS (7-5, 3-2 SAC)

Why they could contend

Just look at last year. Forget that the Kathryn Knapke piece is missing. But look at last year. One of the biggest tournament upsets in recent memory over Homestead shows you that Luers plays hard and Mark Pixley knows how to coach well. With a six seed, Luers will need to pull upsets all three days to do so, but don’t put anything past them. Just look at last year.

Potential tournament star

Lydia Reimbold has always played very well in the Holiday Tournament and is one of the best scorers in the conference when she is on. Reimbold is capable of big numbers every game and if she flexes her rebounding muscles, she will change the course of games.

Potential tournament breakout player

Katelynn Gray is perhaps the Knights’ most critical piece on the exterior. Her ball handling and shooting touch is are big intangible factors.

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Coach Rashida Muhammad will lead a young Northrop team into the Holiday Tournament.

(7) NORTHROP BRUINS (5-6, 0-5 SAC)

Why they could contend

Rashida Muhammad has established herself as one of the conference’s best coaches and has taken a completely different team this year to a decent start. Northrop has all of the pieces to win important games, they are just a little raw still.

Potential tournament star

Treva Datcher has the chance to make waves on the interior in a tournament that boasts a lot of really strong guards. She moves well in the post and Wayne will struggle to find a matchup for her in the opening round.

Potential tournament breakout player

Destiny Jackson has had some breakout numbers all season long, but with Northrop in a rebuilding year, not enough people have taken notice. As noted, the SAC Holiday Tournament stage is a big stage and a unique one. Jackson could shine against Wayne and a potential rematch with South Side.

(8) SNIDER PANTHERS (4-7, 2-5 SAC)

Why they could contend

The Panthers have had wavering levels of success over the past few years in the tournament, but the big news here is a chance at a four game win streak. Snider has gotten at least one win in the SAC Tournament each year since 2009 and rematching North Side, who they just beat, could give them a chance to do the same. To win the tournament, they are going to need to have some big games ready, but lets get that one win first.

Potential tournament star

Da’Leshia Davis is the reason why you can never underestimate Snider. While their coach is new and most of the team lack overall experience, Davis is one of the highest scorers you will see in the tournament.

Potential tournament breakout player

Niesha Anderson had a 10 rebounds game against South Side and a 17 point game against Wayne. The flashes are there for the freshman and she could end up being an important piece in Snider’s game(s).

(9) NORTH SIDE LEGENDS (4-10, 0-4 SAC)

Why they could contend

2009 was the last time the Legends won a tournament game. That has to be the goal here, knowing they aren’t going to win the whole thing. Last year they got that elusive Sectional tournament game win, so why not take a game in the SAC Tournament this year?

Potential tournament star

Nya Coleman can put up some gaudy numbers. She has three 20 or more point games this season with five double-doubles and a triple double.

Potential tournament breakout player

Jewel Reuille seems to always be on the verge of that one big game. She plays with great intensity and confidence. Also, this isn’t the senior’s first rodeo in the holiday tournament.

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Wayne’s Mya Jackson will be a big part of the General’s attempt to score a tournament win.

(10) WAYNE GENERALS (1-12, 0-5 SAC)

Why they could contend

Don’t expect them to. But Wayne, like a couple of other teams at the bottom of the seeding, know they can a lot out of a tournament win or competing in a tournament game. Wayne hasn’t been able to do either in quite sometime but there is a lot of faith that Lacia Gorman is the right coach to turn the program around.

Potential tournament star

Mya Jackson is an intimidating presence inside and actually made some strides last year in the tournament before fouling out. If anyone can get Wayne close to a win in this year’s event, it will be her.

Potential tournament breakout player

Shiara Alexander can be a heck of a rebounder for the Generals and they will be looking for impact players. Could she step up as one?

2018 SAC GIRLS TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Wednesday, December 26

#8 Snider vs. #9 North Side, 9 a.m.

#7 Northrop vs. #10 Wayne, 12:30 p.m.

#4 Carroll vs. #5 Bishop Dwenger, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday, December 27

#3 Concordia vs. #6 Bishop Luers, 10:45 a.m.

#1 Homestead vs. winner of Snider/North Side, 4 p.m.

#2 South Side vs. winner of Northrop/Wayne, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 29

Semi Final 1 (Homestead/Snider/North Side winner vs. Carroll/Dwenger winner), 10 a.m.

Semi Final 2 (South Side/Northrop/Wayne winner vs. Concordia/Luers winner), Noon

Final, 7 p.m.

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