BounceInset_2Typically on Tuesdays your trusty pal with the webbed feet presents his power poll, highlighting the movers and shakers from last week’s games. But with the weather wrecking havoc on schedules, there wasn’t much in the way of results to warrant a look at the area’s top 10 teams this week.

So Bounce is going another route, looking at some of the area programs and whether you should buy or sell stock with the playoffs just a few weeks away.

BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (15-2)

The top-ranked team in Class 1A are considered by many to have the best chance of representing northeast Indiana at the state finals in March. The Braves have four guys averaging double figures in points – Frankie Davidson (23.0 ppg), Caleb Furst (18.4), Zane Burke (14.4) and Marcus Davidson (10.1). Both Davidson and Furst are in the conversation for area player of the year, while Burke has been a tremendous addition to an already-stacked roster.

Blackhawk Christian has a challenging schedule to wrap up the regular season, including tonight at Snider. Showdowns with Marion and Northrop are also on tap.

There is some concern though that the Braves could get clipped in the postseason by a team with an inferior roster that executes a solid game plan. Southwood did it to them last year in semistate. Despite all the recent success, Blackhawk Christian still has just a single state championship game appearance, which came back in 2004.

STOCK OUTLOOK: BUY

CARROLL (11-4)

Despite all the love for Snider and Homestead through the first few months of the season, the Chargers sit in early February as the only realistic threat to Northrop in for the SAC regular-season championship.

The Chargers have yet to drop a game in 2019, winning six straight with a three-game week set to kick off tonight against North Side.

The emergence of sophomore Ryan Preston has given Carroll another offensive threat, something that the Chargers didn’t have much of at the beginning of the season. David Ejah is playing like a top 5 SAC player and Dan McKeeman has been the ultimate floor general.

Can Carroll make a deep run in 4A? Like all of the local 4A teams, that’s tough to predict with Carmel looming in the regional. But the Kokomo Sectional, while strong, does not have that dominant squad (sorry Logansport) that strikes much in the way of fear of our top 4A teams.

This week will be telling, with a Friday-Saturday pair of games against Northrop and Carmel.

STOCK OUTLOOK: HOLD

EAST NOBLE (14-2)

Coach Ryan Eakins’ team has not lost in two months, with wins over Warsaw, Westview and Norwell during that span. That said, the Knights are largely ignored when people talk about who could make some noise in Class 4A.

The reason? Maybe the fact that the Knights have seen their season end at the hands of an SAC team in sectional play each of the last five years has something to do with it.

But if any team can end the recent struggles against the SAC, it is this one. Ali Ali, Brent Cox, Hayden Jones and Nate Dickson lead a squad that can play with anyone in the area.

Bounce wants to believe. He really wants to. But…

STOCK OUTLOOK: SELL

HERITAGE (13-2)

It is a short list for area coach of the year, and Adam Gray is firmly on that list. In his first year, Gray has led the Patriots to a 13-2 record and an undefeated (thus far) ACAC record.

But could Heritage make a run in Class 3A and potentially capture the program’s first sectional championship in 21 years?

That’s a question that will get more clarity tonight when the Patriots take on potential sectional foe Norwell. The fact that Marion resides in Sectional 23 doesn’t help matters.

STOCK OUTLOOK: SELL

HOMESTEAD (13-2)

The Spartans are not going to win the SAC. With two losses in conference, they are effectively out of the race.

But that has nothing to do with the postseason, where Homestead has won five sectionals, a pair of regionals and semi-state and state titles in 2015.

In other words, underestimate the Spartans in March at your own risk.

This team is balanced offensively and plays steady defense good enough to disrupt a fair amount of teams on that end of the floor. The big question could be what we saw in the loss to Northrop. Up-tempo teams that are able to make Homestead run their style may be able to wear out the Spartans late in games.

Could that be Homestead’s kryptonite? Maybe, but Bounce is still buying.

STOCK OUTLOOK: BUY

NORTHROP (11-4)

Bounce is buying Homestead because of a proven track record of postseason success. He is thinking of going the other way with the Bruins.

Northrop has not won a sectional since 2013, which is also the last time the Bruins won the SAC.

Hmmm, on second thought maybe Coach Rod Chamble’s team CAN do something in the playoffs.

The key for Northrop is mental focus. It can get up for those Friday games against SAC opponents, but seems to not be able to do the same for non-conference foes.

As long as Sydney Curry is posterizing foes in the post, this team can play with anybody. Can they do it consistently enough in the playoffs to make a run?

Bounce is eagerly awaiting the answer.

STOCK OUTLOOK: HOLD

SNIDER (12-5)

Are the Panthers rounding into form? After wins over Bishop Dwenger and Fishers last weekend, the answer could be yes.

This team has dealt with a fair amount of behind-the-scenes drama so far this season, but credit Coach Jeremy Rauch and his staff for not allowing the season to implode entirely. Now, Snider has won four of its last five and seems to have moved past the distractions that had a lot to do with the Panthers playing mediocre basketball in the middle part of the year.

But can this team make a run in the postseason? Bounce is leaning towards no, not because of any type of turmoil, but rather because this team lacks a single senior on the roster. It lacks that leader that is going to rally the roster.

When things get tough in the playoffs, who rises to the occasion? The answer may have to wait until next year.

STOCK OUTLOOK: SELL

WESTVIEW (15-4)

The Warriors are 1-4 against 4A opponents this season, including a four-game losing streak around the holidays. Against everyone else, Coach Rob Yoder’s squad is 14-0.

That is good news for a team looking to take one step further in the postseason than they did a year ago when Westview lost to Oak Hill in semistate.

The 2A field in the north lacks, at least through regional, a team that on paper can match Westview on the basketball court. If Yoder can keep his team focused, this should be a group that advances to the semi-stae round at least.

STOCK OUTLOOK: BUY

These opinions represent those of Blitz and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Blitz on Twitter at Blitz_OTH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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