Games in the Northeast Corner Conference tournaments will pick back up again on Friday, January 11 with semi final games. The finals will be played January 12 at Lakeland High School.
The girls games will continued to be played at 6 p.m. with the boys contests following roughly at 7:30 p.m.
Six different schools will take part in the final two rounds with just West Noble and Angola having teams on both sides, including the Angola girls team that will continue their quest to defend last year’s NECC Tournament title.
NECC BOYS SEMI FINAL
PRAIRIE HEIGHTS AT ANGOLA
Elijah Malone has a frame that makes him tough to contain on the interior, as seen in Wednesday’s win for Prairie Heights over Fremont. You don’t just do whatever you want against a 6-foot-7, 253 pound post player. He was-of-9 from the field for a game high 20 points Wednesday and the Panthers are going to use him to their advantage as much as they can on Friday.
Angola will need Dyer Ball and Luke Honer to both play big and stay out of foul trouble against Malone. The game could be be controlled however outside of where the big boys play. Blake Pocock has had a strong single year in an Angola jersey and plays with unbridled passion. Nothing reinvigorated their comeback on Tuesday against Fairfield quite like a big Pocock triple or how excited he was afterward. Don’t forget this team also shot 65 percent from the field in the fist half Wednesday against Churubusco.
Angola won the first meeting by 15 just a week ago.
WESTVIEW VERSUS WEST NOBLE AT CENTRAL NOBLE
West Noble’s year has fluctuated a lot in terms of wins and losses, but Trevor Franklin hasn’t fluctuated in what he does most nights. He is going to score a good deal of points but I am a long time proponent of teams needing two or hopefully three reliable scorers to win a multiple day tournament. Nick Knepper and Bryan Bowman are my favorites to step up and out in this game. Bowman, at 6-foot-3, may be the most important piece due to Westview’s desire to post up.
The Warriors lost too many games in a row to want to go back there without a fight. Their usual top three threats: Charlie Yoder, Elijah Hales and Nick Rensberger are all ready, willing and able to score in the post. When you have a quality guard like Hales ready to post up on moments notice, your interior defense better be cleaned up.
NECC BOYS FINAL PREDICTION: ANGOLA VERSUS WESTVIEW
The NECC is loaded with quality players, many of whom will return again next season. That leaves a lot to be excited about in the long run. Charlie Yoder is probably the best of all of those guys who won’t graduate this spring. Yoder is tough to defend and he keeps proving it. He scored 27 points on Wednesday against Central Noble, a team that some thought may be able to give the Warriors some problems. Oh, and Westview beat Angola 58-36 in the team’s first meeting.
Bounce picks Westview
NECC GIRLS SEMI FINAL
FREMONT AT ANGOLA
Fremont will return to Angola for the second time in six days after losing 69-53 the first time. It is the only loss for Fremont in the last eight games.
Jada Rhonehouse, a freshman, has been incredibly poised in how well she has shot the ball this season. She only had seven points on Wednesday in a win over Prairie Heights, but is shooting 42 percent on the season. She has the best shooting percentage on the team of anyone with more than 25 shot attempts and is one of just two Eagles who have shot the ball 100 or more times this year. The other, Bella Dangerfield, is coming off an 18 points game on Wednesday. She averages 11.8 points per game.
Starting quick is something that Angola doesn’t always accomplish, but when they do it they are very strong. Hanna Knoll continues to just harass opponents and the Hornets are capable of shooting the ball at a high rate. Coach Brandon Appleton watches every second intently and is very good and moving his players like chess pieces. With players like Janna Fee coming off the bench and playing well, adding to Angola’s depth, they have to be a scary opponent for anyone at this point.
WEST NOBLE AT CENTRAL NOBLE
Do not ever count West Noble out. That is something that Lakeland just learned on Wednesday. The Chargers scored 32 points in the first three quarters and then 24 points in the fourth quarter in that game. Their 39 second half points railroaded Lakeland and they are certainly capable of doing that a lot of nights. They used only two made three pointers to get to that point and Madison Schermerhorn reminded everyone how good she can be as one of three Chargers in double figures. She also had a team high 14 rebounds against Lakeland.
West Noble lost the first meeting of the teams on December 14 by a score of 41-34.
Central Noble is Central Noble. The undefeated defending Class 2A champions have gotten better every night that they took the court. They’ve played just one game in this tournament due to Hamilton’s girls not participating. On Wednesday against Westview, they weathered some storms and Sydney Freeman had a pretty solid game after a couple of games that were not her best. Meleah Leatherman led the Cougars with 18 points.
NECC GIRLS FINAL PREDICTION: CENTRAL NOBLE VERSUS ANGOLA
This is the one that fans of both teams have been looking forward to. Arguably the biggest currently rivalry in the NECC, Angola won both of their games last season and the Cougars won 43-32 at Angola earlier this season. Central Noble has had to play some closer and tougher games lately even than they would like. But until they lose….you have to like Central Noble to get to 19-0.
Bounce picks Central Noble