The boys side of the Allen County Athletic Conference Tournament kicks off Tuesday, January 8 with host sites starting the boys games at 6 p.m. with Jay County visiting Adams Central, Woodlan playing at South Adams and Heritage heading to Southern Wells.

The tournament will continue with games throughout the week, culminating in a championship game on Saturday, January 12 at South Adams High School.

So lets take a deeper look at the seven ACAC schools and what could help them to contend for a conference tournament title right in the heart of the regular season.

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Adams Central’s Ben Voirol looks for a pass during a December 18, 2018 game against Blackhawk Christian.

ADAMS CENTRAL (5-5, 2-1 ACAC)

Why they could contend

They have one of the stiffest tests right out of the gate, but the Flying Jets have all of the pieces in the right positions. With Colten Yergler and Lucas Van De Weg controlling the pace, Kevin Brown at shooting guard, Ben Voirol and Dylan Miller inside, Adams Central may not be the deepest team overall, but they don’t have holes in their core lineup.

Potential tournament star

Kevin Brown is averaging over 22 points per game and is a dead eye shooter capable of taking over any game. He is a hard nosed perimeter defender and leading Adams Central in steals. He could be the star not only for the Flying Jets, but of the entire tournament.

Potential tournament breakout player

Ben Voirol is a smooth threat on the interior and midrange. He is somewhat unassuming when you key on Brown and Miller, as many teams do.

BLUFFTON (2-8, 2-1 ACAC)

Why they could contend

The Tigers had the co-worst start overall of any ACAC boys team, but they have contended in a lot of those games, including an overtime loss to Monroe Central and a double overtime loss to Winchester. Chris Benedcit’s resume is as stout as any other coach in the field and with him on the sidelines, they will continue to be a threat for upsets.

Potential tournament star

Johnathan Irwin has been the guy for Bluffton for a couple of years. His numbers do not scream flashy most of the time (Saturday against Woodlan was an exception), but Irwin is a consistent presence and his senior poise is something the Tigers can always lean on.

Potential tournament breakout player

Tanner Cooley has actually been leading this Bluffton team in scoring by a couple of tenths of a point, but has been doing it while shooting a team best 53 percent from the field.

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Heritage first year coach Adam Gray talks to his team during a December 8 game against Bellmont, part of the Patriots’ 5-0 start.

HERITAGE (7-2, 2-0 ACAC)

Why they could contend

It was no mistake that Heritage started 5-0 behind first year head coach Adam Gray. Their work rate is exceptional and they play with an enthusiasm that is hard to rival. To really contend in this tournament, they are going to have to make the most of their shot attempts and play offense at a high level.

Potential tournament star

Jaydon Harris has star written all over him when he plays. His swagger is noticeable, but still somewhat low key. He doesn’t show off the highest motor on the team, but is deadly to put the ball in the basket from almost anywhere on the court.

Potential tournament breakout player

Walter Knapke is a pace setter in a conference of guys who like to set the pace. He drives the ball up the court with a football player mentality for sure and a keen physicality could be a difference maker in this tournament.

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Jay County’s Ryan Schlechty peers around an official during a November 24 game at Richmond.

JAY COUNTY (7-4, 2-0 ACAC)

Why they could contend

The Patriots are not ready to give up perceived control of the conference just yet. They have been playing a decent quality of opponent to prepare them to be kings of the ACAC. Around the basket, they create havoc for teams who aren’t willing to get into a shootout.

Potential tournament star

Ryan Schlechty has picked up his output this year and is affecting games on every part of the floor. His ability to control tempo was crucial in December, even in losses to South Side and Muncie Central. Leading his team with 4.7 assists, he is also second in scoring.

Potential tournament breakout player

Wyatt Geesaman is a big part of that interior clog that Jay County can put on the court. The 6-foot-5 senior. He had a monstrous 11 rebounds and four blocks in their first ACAC game, a win over Woodlan.

SOUTH ADAMS (1-9, 0-2 ACAC)

Why they could contend

This year is a longshot year for the Starfires without their top player James Arnold, but this is a team with nothing to lose. And you know what they say about the teams with nothing to lose. South Adams is going to play hard and getting to host a first round game is helpful, winning at the Stardome as a visiting team sounds easier than it is. And even if they don’t claim tournament wins, it is a great building time for a team without a single junior or senior.

Potential tournament star

Nick Miller is a load to handle inside. While the ACAC has nice guards to spread games out a lot this year, Miller is one of several post players that are fun to watch beat and battle inside. 13.7 points and 7.3 rebounds say that anyone who will have to play against him better bring their “A” game.

Potential tournament breakout player

Aidan Wanner is second on the team in field goal percentage (for those with at least 5 attempts) at 42 percent and is a threat most places on the floor. Just a freshman, he is getting his feet wet, but has found a modicum of success early in his career.

SOUTHERN WELLS (5-6, 1-2 ACAC)

Why they could contend

The Raiders have been trading wins with Class 1A and 2A schools all year, with their best win against 5-6 North Miami. First year coach Kyle Penrod will lean on his experienced lineup to be able to pull off some upsets. Luckily for him, he does have an experienced lineup.

Potential tournament star

Kreigh Roush is one of the more stabilizing forces Southern Wells has as a lot of guys have stepped up to score for them this year. He has the experience and the nohow to be efficient in important games as he was during last year’s Sectional title run.

Potential tournament breakout player

Dylan Junk led the Raiders in scoring in a close game against Blue River Valley with 17 points just before the break and could be in store for breakout minutes in the ACAC Tournament. He is a capable shooter that can also get to the line, a place the Raiders have battled opponents well this season.

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Woodlan freshman Joe Reidy, center, prepares to box out Fremont players during a December 20 game.

WOODLAN (2-9, 0-3 ACAC)

Why they could contend

Woodlan’s look of up to five guards can really spread out the floor and make teams extend themselves defensively. It opens up a lot of options for a guard core that can and will shoot their shot when given space pretty much anywhere on the floor. If their jumpers are consistent, they will have some upsets on their minds.

Potential tournament star

Joe Reidy has all of the makings of a star post player and is just a freshman. He comes in off a 19 points, nine rebound night two games ago against Churubusco and that is a team you have to work hard against inside. Reidy can take over games if he can stay out of foul trouble against other quality posts.

Potential tournament breakout player

Konner Norman, of all the heady guards in this tournament, could cause the most chaos defensively. He is tough, he is physical and if Ben Reidy is still out injured, Norman’s minutes become even more crucial.

ACAC

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