As we kick off this week, we are closing in on just over a month remaining in the regular season. Plenty will be decided over the next 35 or so days, particularly conference championships.

Where do we stand in Bounce’s power poll? Homestead confirmed its place at No. 1 with a pair of big wins, while a pre-season favorite continues to drop.

Let’s take a closer look.

1. HOMESTEAD (11-1, 3-1 SAC)

WHY #1?

It was “Barometer Week” for the Spartans last week, with a schedule that was either going to expose them or showcase them as the best in the area right now.

After lopsided wins over Blackhawk Christian and Snider, consider the distance between Homestead and the rest of the area as pretty sizable.

What was most impressive last week was how Homestead was able to neutralize the best players for the Braves and Panthers. Caleb Furst struggled with the double team last Tuesday, with Luke Goode doing a tremendous job on Frankie Davidson in limiting the dribble drive and finish that Davidson does as well as anyone in the area.

On Friday, Homestead’s zone defense gave the trio of Dillon Duff, Michael Eley and Cleevas Craig fits. Offensively, the Spartans routinely broke down Snider’s defense, eventually leading to Panthers coach Jeremy Rauch benching the majority of his starters for the final 12 minutes of the game due to lack of effort and execution.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

No. 1 reigns supreme.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 6-0

2. BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (10-2)

WHY #2?

The Braves were held to a season low in points in a 51-44 loss to Homestead last Tuesday. It was their only game of the week after their contest against Bishop Luers was postponed.

Blackhawk Christian’s schedule is backloaded with challenges by SAC teams. Don’t be surprised if there are a few more losses added between now and late February. But that won’t matter come March and what will assuredly be a deep run in Class A.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The loss to Homestead puts the Braves firmly behind the Spartans at No. 2.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-1

3. NORTHROP (9-3, 4-0 SAC)

WHY #3?

With Concordia going down last Friday, the Bruins sit atop the SAC as the lone remaining undefeated team. A 55-point win over North Side last Friday did nothing to challenge Coach Rod Chamble’s team, but the final few weeks of the regular season are lining up to be quite difficult, with home games against Homestead and Carroll and a visit to Blackhawk Christian.

The key for Northrop in winning its first league championship since 2013 and making some noise in the postseason is how it handles defenses that are able to slow them down and work in the half court.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The lone loss to an area team so far was a defeat at the hands of Snider in the SAC Holiday Tournament, but the Bruins have not yet played Homestead or Blackhawk Christian. If Northrop can pull one or both of those off, up it will go in Bounce’s rankings.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 3-1

4. EAST NOBLE (10-2, 3-0 NE8)

WHY #4

A 15-point victory over DeKalb last Friday was the Knights’ seventh straight win dating back to the first week of December. That streak includes victories over Bounce Power Poll members Huntington North and Westview.

Ali Ali has been exceptional shooting the ball recently. In the last three games, he shot 68 percent (15-of-22) from the field.

Can anyone challenge East Noble in the Northeast 8? Maybe Norwell, with the teams set to meet on Jan. 26.

WHY NOT HIGHER?’

As good as the Knights have been of late, the loss to Snider in November looms large. Look for a spicy rematch come March.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 3-1

5. WESTVIEW (12-4, 5-0 NECC)

WHY #5?

The Warriors rolled through the NECC Tournament, winning four games in five days by an average of 27 points.

On paper, Westview will be favored in every one of its remaining regular-season games, although Fairfield this week could be a trap game with the Falcons having beat the Warriors immediately following the NECC Tournament a year ago.

Charlie Yoder is the best junior in the state that no one knows about, even in northeast Indiana.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

While Westview is up one spot this week, it is tough to move up in the rankings without many games against the top teams in the area. The loss to East Noble a few weeks ago was telling in where the Warriors slot in locally.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-1

6. SNIDER (8-4, 2-2 SAC)

WHY #6?

The story of the weekend was the benching of the Snider starters for the majority of the second half against Homestead. Coach Jeremy Rauch made his best talent watch from the sideline as the team was rolled by the Spartans for the second time in two weeks.

Overall, the Panthers have lost four of six, although one of the victories was an impressive defeat of Northrop in the SAC Holiday Tournament. Still, this is a team that could go in either direction following Friday – it could completely derail and fall apart, or it could rise to being challenged by Rauch and start playing to its potential.

A three-game week gets started tonight at Canterbury. How do the Panthers respond to adversity?

WHY NOT HIGHER?

A three-game losing streak and losses in four of six tend to see you get dropped in Bounce’s poll.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 3-3

7. SOUTH SIDE (2-8, 1-3 SAC)

WHY #7?

Victories over Canterbury and Concordia last week gave the Archers “officially” their first victories of the year after having to forfeit their first four wins due to mishandling of paperwork of a transferred player.

So while the overall record doesn’t look good, South Side is far better than that. Four of its top five scorers are underclassmen, led by junior JT Langston Jr. The Archers played Homestead tough a few weeks ago, a team that has emerged in recent weeks as the most complete in the area.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The amount of losses is a big reason why, although a win over Concordia, previously undefeated in the SAC, surely has Bounce willing to keep an eye on South this week as it heads to Carroll on Friday.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-3

8. CARROLL (8-4, 3-1 SAC)

WHY #8?

Since a loss to Homestead in the SAC Holiday Tournament, the Chargers have been dominant in wins over Bishop Dwenger, DeKalb and Bishop Luers. Coach Marty Beasley’s team has won seven of eight overall, yet can’t seem to climb into the conversation of the best teams in the area.

That could change over the next two weeks, with South Side and Snider on tap over the next two Fridays.

Senior David Ejah has been exceptional of late, scoring in double digits in each of the last six games, including 19 points against Bishop Luers and 20 against Bishop Dwenger.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The three-game losing streak early on in the year included defeats to East Noble and Concordia. Carroll has seemingly been fighting uphill since then. But credit to the Chargers, they are within striking distance in the SAC and shaping up to be a contender against the likes of Snider, Northrop and East Noble in Sectional 5.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-3

9. HUNTINGTON NORTH (11-3, 2-1 NE8)

WHY #9?

Coach Craig Teagle’s team continues to feel like the “forgotten” team in the Northeast 8 compared to East Noble. The Vikings have won eight of their last nine games, with the lone defeat coming to Henry Clay out of Lexington, Ky.

Last Tuesday, Huntington North picked apart Concordia in a 15-point win at home, then followed it up three days later with a double-digit victory over Columbia City.

Upcoming games against Carroll and South Side will be telling in terms of if this team can be a pest in Sectional 6.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

An 11-point loss to East Noble in December was a letdown for the Vikings. However, their only other in-state loss is to Homestead by five.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-2

10. Concordia (7-5, 3-1 SAC)

WHY #10?

Three straight losses has the Cadets barely holding on in this poll. Bounce even considered dropping them out entirely, but he is not yet ready to ascend a team into this elite group.

Concordia needs to get back to what got it off to a 6-1 start, namely solid man defense. Blackhawk Christian was a difficult matchup and it showed with the Braves dropping 87 when the teams met a few weeks ago.

A visit from Snider this Friday is a battle between two teams trying to regain their early-season mojo.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The Cadets’ last victory over a team with a winning record came in mid-December against Bishop Dwenger. So, there’s that.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-4

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s