BounceInset_2After a few weeks off for the holidays, Bounce is back to break down the top 10 teams (in his mind) in the area.

What kind of movement have we seen after a myriad of tournaments and one-day shootouts?

Not much, surprisingly, although we do have a new No. 1.

1. HOMESTEAD (9-1, 2-1 SAC)

WHY #1?

The Spartans made mincemeat of their league brethren in the SAC Holiday Tournament late last month, winning all three of their games by double digits in capturing the program’s first-ever title in the event.

The team’s 16-point victory over Snider in the championship game was most impressive. With a 31-point effort, Luke Goode put people on notice that he is one of the top players in a loaded sophomore class in the area.

Homestead still has some deficiencies, but the secondary scoring has improved. In last Friday’s victory over South Side, Goode finished just 2-of-10 from three-point range, but teammates Alec Grinsfelder, Trent Loomis and Luke Bradtmiller stepped up with some big shots.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

New year, same rule regarding No. 1 teams.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 4-0

2. BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (10-1)

WHY #2?

There is no debate on whether or not the Braves are one of the top teams in Class 1A, evidenced  by an overtime victory over Barr-Reeve in late December down at North Daviess.

But why not aim higher?

Blackhawk Christian has a deep roster that is getting healthy with Caleb Furst back and senior Michael Pulver close. The second half of the schedule is riddled with SAC foes, including Homestead tonight.

Let’s just put it out there, it’s a disappointment if this team doesn’t reach the 1A state championship game.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

With its lone loss to a decent Manual team, you could make a case that the Braves should be No. 1. They can prove it tonight as they take on Homestead.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-0

3. NORTHROP (8-3, 3-0 SAC)

WHY #3?

After falling to Snider in the SAC Holiday Tournament, the Bruins got their revenge last Friday in a regular-season showdown.

Sydney Curry has been nearly unstoppable when he stays out of foul trouble. The big guy went for 23 and 10 against the Panthers as Northrop stayed undefeated in the conference.

Something to be impressed by are the defensive stops this team can get in clutch moments. Northrop teams of the recent past had to run and gun to outscore opponents, but this group has the ability to win on the defensive end of the court as well.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

A loss to a mediocre Kokomo team on Saturday took some shine off of Friday’s victory, and it very well may have exposed the Achilles’ heel. When this team is hype and plays off of its emotion, it can be one of the best in northeast Indiana. But when they aren’t locked in, they can be beaten by teams not as talented as them.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 3-1

4. SNIDER (8-3, 2-1 SAC)

WHY #4?

The team that entered the Christmas holiday atop Bounce’s poll has slid all the way to No. 4 after a couple of losses.

So, what is going on?

After a 6-0 start, maybe we were a bit too hasty in crowning the Panthers. It was easy to do so with a deep and talented roster, but this team is still missing something – leadership. Who becomes that voice in the huddle? Who fires up this team and puts it on their shoulders when they are struggling? With no seniors, it is tough for an underclassman to ascend to that position, but someone needs to soon.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Back-to-back losses to Homestead and Northrop are prime reasons why. The Panthers will have a chance to end their mini-skid when they host the Panthers on Friday.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 3-2

5. EAST NOBLE (9-2, 2-0 NE8)

WHY #5?

The Knights sit atop the Northeast 8 winners of six straight, including an impressive victory over Westview last Thursday.

The return of Brent Cox from an illness was a crucial part of that Westview win and will continue to be so going forward. Hayden Jones and Ali Ali have been very good, but it is Cox that has been a true workhorse for this team.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Prior to last week, the only game for East Noble against an upper-echelon northeast Indiana team was Snider, which was a close loss. With Homestead on the schedule for this Saturday, could the Knights pull out a victory and make a move?

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 3-1

6. WESTVIEW (8-4, 5-0 NECC)

WHY #6?

Typically, a four-game losing streak would see a team drop heavily in these rankings, but the Warriors accounted for themselves very well at the Hall of Fame Tournament against Center Grove and Valparaiso, as well as against East Noble.

Charlie Yoder dropping 37 points in the defeat to Valparaiso hopefully showed some media folk from other areas of the state just how good he is.

Westview will look to roll through the NECC Tournament that begins today.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

No. 6 feels underrated after the Hall of Fame Tournament, but it is tough to life the Warriors above East Noble, who cannot be above Snider, who cannot be above…well, you see the problem here.

Fact is, Westview is still arguably the best team in Class 2A.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-1

7. CONCORDIA (7-3, 3-0 SAC)

WHY #7?

Just two teams remain undefeated in the SAC, and the Cadets are (shockingly) one of them.

Coach Phil Brackmann’s team would love to have their SAC Holiday Tournament loss back. After falling behind big, Concordia closed to within one point before Snider put it away and won by five.

Things get real in the league for Concordia soon, with a solid South Side team on the road on Friday followed by Snider next week.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

You could have made a case for this before the 37-point beatdown at the hands of Blackhawk Christian last Saturday. Concordia has a tough stretch beginning today as it heads to Huntington North for a battle with the Vikings.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-2

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

WHY #8?

Yeah, why a winless team at No. 8? Well, South Side has had to forfeit its first four games, all wins, but will not reflect that on its overall record until the conclusion of the season. Well, Outside the Huddle isn’t going to wait until the end of the season. The Archers are officially 0-8.

But this is still a very talented team that with some better rebounding may have knocked off Homestead last Friday. The availability of third-leading scorer Everett Merritt remains in question after the senior missed that game.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Losses to Northrop twice and Homestead aren’t anything to frown upon, nor is a two-point loss at Marion. This team feels close to running off several big wins, but isn’t there quite yet.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-3

9. HUNTINGTON NORTH (9-3, 1-1 NE8)

WHY #9?

Zach Daugherty continues to be a huge problem for opposing teams from outside the arc. He is currently hitting 63 percent (25-of-40) from range as the Vikings have won six of seven.

Coach Craig Teagle’s team lacks that victory against a solid area opponent, but has the chance to notch just that against Concordia tonight.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The schedule has not exactly been overly challenging, although the win over Merrillville should merit some raised eyebrows.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-2

10. CARROLL (6-4, 2-1 SAC)

WHY #10?

The Chargers have won five or six, with the lone loss coming to Homestead in the SAC Holiday Tournament. The fact that four of the victories came against teams currently at .500 or above also stands out.

David Ejah leads the team in both points (14.3) and rebounds (9.6) per contest and is playing as consistent of basketball has he has his entire prep career.

The approaching stretch of South, Merrillville, Snider and Huntington North later this month will be telling.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Carroll has yet to beat a team in my top 10, although the defeats to East Noble and Concordia both came by just three points.

The second half of the schedule, per usual, is very tough. If Ejah continues to play consistent and Dan McKeeman continues to hit close to 45 percent from three, the Chargers could rise.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-3

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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