Here it is, the last week for girls basketball season before Sectional play begins next Tuesday. How in the world did this all go so fast?
There will be plenty of teams looking for last second momentum and footing before the postseason begins, as reflected in some of Bounce’s girls game picks.
As usual, my highly invisible traveling trophies will be on the line this week with both the Homestead boys and girls. Following the tradition of any good traveling trophy, Bounce’s will not travel into the postseason, so the Northrop girls will be the last team to try and take it from the Homestead girls when they meet this Friday. If they are unsuccessful, Homestead will take it into next season.
Check back later this week for our full preview of the Game of the Weekend. This weekend, it is Saturday’s meeting of East Noble visiting Norwell in boys basketball action. Both teams sit 3-0 in the Northeast 8 and the winner will take sole possession of first place in the conference.
Last Week: 10-2 (Heritage at Bluffton girls to be played this Friday night after snow postponement; record includes makeup games from the prior week that were picked.)
Bishop Dwenger at Blackhawk Christian, Tuesday
As the only team to beat Homestead so far this season, Bishop Dwenger is going to always be a team watch. They have the tools to challenge any team and nothing could be more positive as they try to hit a stride than Jared Lee’s performance last Friday against rival Bishop Luers. This game is about matchups and can Lee and John Hoffman provide the right kind of aggressiveness to slow Caleb Furst. Since coming back from an injury, Furst has been tough to stop outside of the Homestead loss.
Bounce picks Blackhawk Christian
Carroll at Snider, Friday
The SAC may now be a three team race and Carroll is one of those teams, so every Friday is going to be important. The Chargers have won four in a row convincingly and this game could (aka should) have a great environment on Friday night. David Ejah and Dillon Duff should be the match up that everyone is talking about, but this game could come down to who thrives and who plays it the most smart on the perimeter. Carroll is increasingly better each time they take the court and Snider did something quite impressive last Friday by winning at Concordia without hitting a three pointer.
Bounce picks Snider
Churubusco at Central Noble, Friday
Two of the more underappreciated teams in the NECC, probably because their records are a blend of quality wins and some not-so great losses. Jackson Paul is arguably the best player in the area that we don’t talk about enough and that should change. The Eagles are coming off two losses in a row and just want to play anyone but Angola right now. But before that, they racked up five straight wins including stopping Heritage. Central Noble has a nice blend from each of their classes and have found a scoring rotation depth and selflessness that helps them play to a decently high potential. While we don’t talk enough about Paul, Central Noble’s Connor Essegian may be the best freshman in the area we don’t talk about.
Bounce picks Central Noble
Homestead at Northrop, Friday
Here we go. Bounce won’t go as far as to say the SAC is on the line in this one, but it is as close to being on the line as it can be. Homestead has looked flawless since their early season loss and Northrop has just been a juggernaut in almost every conceivable way. This is truly a meeting of two stylistic differences and probably the most razor close prognostication that I have had in my head all season. That said, I expect nothing less than a classic on Friday night. And my pick? Well it reflects two things: 1) I am not sure what happens in this one honestly. And 2) I do know one thing: Chris Johnson.
Bounce picks Homestead
Fairfield at Angola, Saturday
When these two last squared off in the NECC Tournament, it was quite the battle that I was happy to be in attendance to watch. Since then, their paths have gone opposite directions with Angola going 3-1 and Fairfield going 0-3. But that may not matter when they go back to the scene of the first game and do it again. The first time around, while Angola keyed on Cordell Hofer, Nolin Sharick had himself a game so the Hornets will need to adjust for that. Bounce likes the aggression of Blake Pocock and the vibe he brings to the court for Angola. Like most of my top games this week, this may come down to location, location, location.
Bounce picks Angola
Concordia at Woodlan, Tuesday
Losers of 4 of their last 6, Concordia is one of those teams that desperately needs to find their footing heading into the postseason. Playing at Woodlan against a fully healthy Warriors team is not exactly the easiest path. Addie Bayman is a very important part of the landscape in and out of the ACAC, but Dakotah Krohn is one that the Cadets can’t look by. Home court, like with the boys games this week, is important. The big question is, as it has become, not if Woodlan can slow Carissa Garcia but if they have someone to contend with Nautica Rogers inside. This is a key momentum game for both teams.
Bounce picks Concordia
Bishop Luers at Norwell, Tuesday
Speaking of teams that need a big win, count Norwell in against this possible Sectional opponent. Losing to Bellmont and Jay County on back to back nights wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly welcomed in Ossian either. They still remain one of the deepest teams in the area and even as Maiah Shelton has been thriving, we’ve seen aggression from Aubrey Dunnuck that is a big positive for Norwell. Bishop Luers has won every game they have played in 2019 and kind of like Norwell, has been able to show off some depth in the process. How much of your hand do you show in this game?
Bounce picks Norwell
Angola at Bellmont, Wednesday
It will be Friday that matters most for Bellmont as they will try to win the NE8 outright and perfectly that night. But Wednesday could be a good statement for either team. Angola has parlayed their defense into wins in 12 of their last 13 games and Bellmont needs wins in both games this week to secure a 20 win season. Bounce thinks this could play out a lot like the Norwell game at Bellmont last week, a back and forth physical affair. Does Bellmont have another one in them or can Angola be the first team to win at Bellmont since November 6?
Bounce picks Bellmont
Carroll at Snider, Friday
A week ago, this game likely wasn’t on Bounce’s radar. Then these two teams combined to take out three of the top 10 teams in the area last week. Snider followed up their massive upset over Bellmont by handling Concordia while Carroll handed South Side their first SAC regular season loss by someone other than Homestead in two calendar years. And now, this one has all of my attention. Payton Gorman has really come on strong as of late for Snider, a good sign for her future as a still young but highly experienced varsity player. For Carroll, depth is key and Emily Parrett and Olivia Hoeppner have plenty of help around them.
Bounce picks Carroll
West Noble at Fairfield, Friday
This one may not mean anything in the NECC in general, but could still be a good fight, especially being at Fairfield. The Falcons have had a better “rebuilding year” than expected even though they’ve lost their last nine, while the Chargers have shown they can contend with anyone on their schedule. This is the season ender, so both teams want a good showing going into the Sectional.
Bounce picks West Noble
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