We won’t be going too deep on the girls side this week for obvious reasons.
1) The regular season is over.
2) By the time you read this, it is possible that Sectional games are already being played.
3) The top 10 isn’t changing from last week.
Homestead retained the Bounce traveling trophy last Friday against Northrop and will officially have spent the entire year with my fake…or just invisible trophy. The Spartans started with the crown as our preseason number one and suffered no losses to any fellow area teams. The traveling trophy doesn’t go to the postseason so Homestead will start the 2019-2010 with it as well.
So here is the quick hitter FINAL power poll for this season.
1. HOMESTEAD (22-3, 9-0 SAC, SAC REGULAR SEASON AND TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS)
Depth has been Homestead’s hallmark all season long. As Bounce sees it, there is probably a predicted hierarchy for scoring, but that doesn’t mean you will actually see it. I am really excited to see what this senior class can do in the postseason. They have a big chip on their shoulder because of their out of area road losses. But Kara Gealy and Haley Swing remember what a state title feels like and Sylare Starks came to Homestead for a reason.
2. CENTRAL NOBLE (22-0, 10-0 NECC, NECC REGULAR SEASON AND TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS)
Undefeated for a reason. The Cougars have, as I said about Homestead, found successful depth. Kudos to Sydney Freeman, Meleah Leatherman, Bridgette Gray, Lydia Andrews and Sam Brumbaugh for stepping up big this season. Everyone that Central Noble played this year has upped their game to try and knock off the defending Class 2A state champions. As their record indicates, Central Noble upped their game more.
3. BELLMONT (19-2, 7-0 NE8, NE8 CHAMPIONS)
Bounce has been constantly impressed by the effort that Grace Hunter plays with. It is no secret that elite guards in the area (Hunter, Freeman, Carissa Garcia) got hit with elite defense, junk defense, all out defense, double-team defense and every other kind of defense imaginable. Yet, Hunter perhaps more than than others, shined against it. There was very little any other team could throw at her that she couldn’t break. Dare Bounce say that Grace Hunter is the most single unguardable wing in the area?
4. NORWELL (19-3, 6-1 NE8)
You will notice a trend about our top four teams in the Outside the Huddle Power Poll: these teams are not one trick ponies. Norwell had balance behind a star last year, but they lacked experienced. When they stopped lacking, they started dominating. Take it in for a moment: 19 wins behind a group that, at their core, are sophomores. Yes, their seniors are important, very much so. Take nothing away from that, but Lauren Bales, Kaylee Fuelling and Maiah Shelton area all special. Together, they may end up being great.
5. JAY COUNTY (16-7, 6-0 ACAC, ACAC REGULAR SEASON AND TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS)
They have lost six times, but not since January 2. They haven’t lost in regulation since December 1. They have lost by double digits twice, but not since November 27. Shelby Caldwell, rightfully, gets the most attention from Bounce and everyone else. But this is a very good team that is well coached by Kirk Comer, who sits at 331 career wins. The best way to make a team a winner is to pair them with a winner. There is no reason they can’t compete for their first Sectional in 13 seasons.
6. SOUTH SIDE (14-7, 7-2 SAC)
Bounce has always been a big fan of how coach Juanita Goodwell has made sure to have players in the pipeline so even if one season is off from the season before, it is never too off. That is easier said that done at a city school, just ask any FWCS coach. This team hit a big peak last year, but have been on a high level all year again. They’ve done it with balance in their classes and will again lose just two impact seniors. One of those though has been one of the best breakout players in the SAC. T’Laizha Morris has played some very good basketball and made South Side a three-deep threat in the post. Nobody has three quality post players.
7. ANGOLA (17-6, 9-1 NECC)
Seeing Angola in person, you wouldn’t think they were going to be a monster threat that they have developed into. They aren’t physically imposing, but watch a game and you will see that they can lay claim to being one of the most basketball-smart teams this area has to offer. They read and understand passing lanes in a special way, which is the key to playing so successfully. Passing lanes are only usually focused on in the media when it comes to defense, but their ability to read those lanes on offense has been equally important as they set each other up for high percentage shots.
8. BISHOP LUERS (13-7, 7-2 SAC)
Who had Luers as a top three team in the SAC? Oh yeah, I did. All the way back in the preseason. Though they took a different route there than expected, but they still ended up around where I thought they would before this season started. This team did a great job of figuring out what their issues were and fixing them to great success. Both times they suffered three straight losses, they came out with seven and five game winning streaks. Do they have another one in them?
9. CONCORDIA (15-6, 5-4 SAC)
The start of this season was fire for a team that expected to take a little more time to develop. Did they backslide or did some teams get better at a quicker pace? Sectionals will answer that I think. Concordia has gotten better too, don’t be mistaken. Sophomores Meg Barkley, CC Calloway and Rhaya Kaschinske are all putting out good minutes on the wing. They may not have a set star behind their seniors, but there are positives in their future. That could start with a confidence boosting postseason title run.
10. CARROLL (11-10, 4-5 SAC)
Carroll lost to Snider last Friday and there were a lot of questions raised about them in that one, but don’t forget they just beat a very good South Side team too. Emily Parrett has made her case for being called the best sophomore in the area and while the Chargers are a year away from climbing back high in the SAC again, they have played to a lot of bright spots.
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