For just the second time this season, the completely invisible Bounce Traveling Trophy from Outside the Huddle is on the move, now to Northrop after the Bruins stayed perfect in the SAC on Friday night. But more to come on that later.
Instead, Bounce’s big news of the week is that SOMEHOW, girls basketball’s regular season is over. It went quick folks, really quick. So now we will sit back and enjoy the (weather permitting) elimination of teams on a semi-nightly basis with Sectional play starting on Tuesday.
Speaking of, have you been paying attention to my breakdowns of area Sectionals? They started yesterday, continue today and will wrap up tomorrow here at OutsideTheHuddle.net to get you geared up for the week ahead.
EFFORT, ENTHUSIASM GIVES NORTHROP BOOST
Everyone look at your Northrop/Homestead bingo cards from Friday night. Who had the game starting with a Qualen Pettus three and a Trent Loomis dunk? Nobody?
Northrop capped off a fantastic efforted overtime session on Friday to beat the Spartans 58-51 and remain the sole unbeaten team in the Summit Athletic Conference. And they did so on the capable back of Sydney Curry.
When Curry scored on a putback basket just before halftime of Friday night’s game against visiting Homestead, that was it for him. An opening half of just two points. Homestead was doing what they had to do. Alec Grinsfelder and Will Smith kept him uncomfortable in the post. The rest of the way, he scored 18 more points that had us all realizing that he prefers one of the rims at Northrop over the other, so he was just treating one better in the first half. Because the rim he came in contact with in the second half? He was downright nasty to it.
His first big dunk came with a minute left in the third, but Homestead still led, as they had much of the game. And he kept hammering home, right through the first possession of overtime when he fouled Grinsfelder out with a nasty jam. Curry made it his world late with maximum effort and feeding off the enthusiasm of his team and the student section, rambunctiously challenging Homestead in front of a home court crowd.
Bounce hadn’t seen this Sydney Curry in person this year, even though he has looked solid in two of the other three outings I have been in the gym to see him in. In a hostile environment full of runs, full of noise and full of pressure, Curry ultimately looked like the most composed person on either team for big chunks of the game. Color me impressed.
On Saturday, in a loss at Marion, Curry tossed in a casual 41 points while bringing down 17 rebounds. Just another day at the office. For those wondering, yes his Friday night performance earned him a nomination in our Performance of the Week fan vote over Saturday’s game. Why? While one produced bigger numbers, one was certainly more impactful.
I remain impressed too with Northrop, who plays a very unique and intense brand of basketball. Isaac Anderson is making every effort to be considered the best point guard in the area and Pettus shines in different ways, very adaptable to what his team needs.
THAT SAID…LET’S TALK HOMESTEAD
If you left the gym at Northrop on Friday night, no matter who you are, and say you weren’t impressed by Homestead, then you either are not being honest with yourself or you do not know the game of basketball.
As previously mentioned, Grinsfelder and Smith did a more than admirable job guarding Curry all night long, even though it was more successful in the first half. Fact is, Curry is tough to guard and everybody knows it. You have to be aggressive, try to keep him from getting in a rhythm and not be afraid to play big boy ball. Kudos to those two for doing that when and where they could.
But the Spartans played a great all around game and while we rightfully look at Luke Goode and Zak Krueger at the forefront of that a lot, Trent Loomis and Xavier Overstreet each held their own well too. But for me, at least on this night, it is important to note the contributions of Zac Bradtmiller who left Bounce most impressed of any Spartan during the course of the night. See an eight next to his name in the scoring column and you get nowhere near the full weight of his contributions and nearly extending Homestead’s winning streak to 11 games. He moved the ball with precision, dealt with the outstanding pressure Northrop guards defend with, shot well when needed and soared for big important rebounds.
Homestead is good. They are very good. They will remain a favorite in their Sectional for good reason and nights like Friday are reasons for it. Teams have and should have the utmost respect for them. That is what Bounce is going to call Northrop’s two and a half minute session holding the ball on Friday (see the main photo of this article). I want a shot clock, you want a shot clock, Bounce’s friend Tim Atkinson from Summit City Sports REALLY wants a shot clock. But I will just have to assume that holding the ball was a way for Northrop to show they respected Homestead’s abilities. After all, who would really want to try and out execute Chris Johnson or a team he coaches down the stretch?
GET ON THE AYANNA PATTERSON HYPE TRAIN
When the season started, there were clearly holes in Ayanna Patterson’s game that you couldn’t prepare for until she took a high school court. They were not big holes, far from alarming but just little things to work on.
After she scored 28 points on Friday in a win over Northrop while shooting 13 of 16 from the field, can anyone really say she has holes in her game anymore? I’m not going to. Efficient, strong and confident, Patterson has gotten to the point where she can do pretty much anything she wants whenever she wants. And she is a freshman my friends.
Also this week, her Always 100 trainer Vernard Hollins posted a video of Patterson close to dunking. Are you kidding me?! The moral of the story is, there is still plenty of room on the Ayanna Patterson hype train, but it is pulling away fast so you better get on board.
PRESTON THE UNKNOWN HERO FOR CARROLL
Many had trouble identifying Ryan Preston of Carroll in Friday’s game at Snider, not because he wasn’t on the floor, but rather his name and number wasn’t even listed on the roster.
But Preston made a name for himself with 10 points in the 58-51 victory, including a crucial three-pointer in overtime and a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. The sophomore looked cool, calm and collected in a back-and-forth game that the Chargers were able to win despite David Ejah fouling out on the opening possession of OT.
Carroll coach Marty Beasley isn’t one that likes to play freshmen or sophomores at the varsity level unless he is absolutely confident they can handle it. For Beasley to trust Preston in the clutch against a team like Snider is a huge testament to how developed he is as a player.
- Count Adams Central’s Kevin Brown among the wide variety of players passing 1,000 career points this season. The Flying Jet senior hit his mark on Tuesday in a win over Eastbrook, where he scored 26 points and finished the night at 1,001 for his career. Another great honor for the hot shooting Adams Central leader.
- Speaking of 1,000, Meleah Leatherman of Central Noble officially hit the 1,000 career rebound mark on Friday in a win over Churubusco. But we already knew that was coming. (RELATED: Miss 1K: Meleah Leatherman will hit 1,000 mark again on Friday night for Central Noble). What adds to the special occasion is this fun stat from Bounce’s buddy Taylor Lehman from KPC: Leatherman is now just the 17th girl in IHSAA history to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. She also ended the night with 23 points.
- While I am giving credit to other news outlets, everyone should give the Louisville Courier Journal a look from this past week. Danielle Lerner has a great piece on Snider alum Malik Williams and his special relationship with late former Snider girls basketball point guard Peytin Chamble. The story touches on their relationship, why Williams wears the number 5 in her honor with great quotes from her father, current Northrop coach Rob Chamble, Snider boys coach Jeremy Rauch and, of course, Wiliams. I highly recommend checking out the story here: Louisville basketball’s Malik Williams plays with his angel by his side
- Friday night was a time to get all of those last three pointers out of your system for the regular season, right? Well Jaci Jones thought so anyway. She had plenty of three pointers to go around, just nine of them. She scored 34 points but her nine three pointers broke a school record previously held by Lakyn Gulley who once hit seven threes in a game.
- Before Bellmont’s girls clinched an outright Northeast 8 title Friday night in a win over Leo, senior Grace Hunter was honored as Adams County’s all time leading girls basketball scorer. Hunter, sitting at 1,530 career points, surpassed the previous mark of 1,516 set by Adams Central alum Natalie Young. Young was on hand to present Hunter a basketball to mark the honor.
- Speaking of Bellmont’s outright title, they weren’t alone in clinching an outright crown on Friday as Central Noble girls did so too. That means that we had outright champions in all four area conferences with those two joining Jay County and Homestead as undefeated in conference and outright conference champions. How rare is it? Turns out, not really. Fairfield, Norwell, Homestead and Jay County did just last year. But at least there is plenty of clarity on the girls side when it comes to handing out titles.
- As usual, don’t forget to take part in our FAN VOTES for Performance of the Week that identifies the best SINGLE GAME performance for each the girls and boys side:
FAN VOTE: Boys hoops Performance of the Week (Jan. 21-26), sponsored by Rico’s Barbershop
FAN VOTE: Girls hoops Performance of the Week (Jan. 21-26), sponsored by Ellen Vance of Ruoff Home Mortgage
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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