Another week of all boys picks, so get used to it because that is essentially what we have from here on out, including new Bounce traveling trophy holder Carroll defending that title multiple times this week.
This week will also account for previously picked games that were snowed or frozen out. Those picks included Heritage over Angola and Carroll over Huntington North, both originally from the week of January 28. Bounce is sticking by those picks and my reasoning for them (RELATED: Bounce’s Picks for January 28).
Want to know Bounce’s pick for girls Class 2A semistate? Well as part of our breakdown of Central Noble’s game on Saturday, Outside the Huddle has made Central Noble versus Oak Hill our Game of the Weekend, so check back later this week for our breakdown of that game featuring Bounce’s pick.
Last Week: 9-7
Columbia City at Manchester, Tuesday
With Weston Hamby leading the way, the Squires have been quietly building a nice resume since the opening of 2019. They have won 8 of their last 10. Down the stretch of the season, no game may be more important than this for them. Columbia City has lost 6 of their last 8, but still represent a tough challenge for Manchester because of the aggression they play with and the scoring prowess of Mitchell Wilson. This could be a great duel between Hamby and Wilson.
Bounce picks Columbia City
East Noble at Homestead, Tuesday
This game seems like it was supposed to happen years ago. One of the pre-polar vortex rescheduled games, it comes at a time that is crucial for Homestead and more relaxed for the Knights. With both teams sitting at 16-2, this represents one of the best games in the state this week. There is no denying that the Knights are playing quality basketball and have not lost since December 6, despite not having one of their top players for a big stretch of that time. That player, Brent Cox, is a difference maker on the interior regardless of who East Noble plays.
But Homestead can slow down interior players. They all but stopped Caleb Furst and held Sydney Curry scoreless for [almost] an entire half. It takes extenuating circumstances for Bounce to go against coach Chris Johnson, especially at home.
Bounce picks Homestead
Blackhawk Christian at Marion, Tuesday
Former middle school teammates and two of the best sophomores in the state square off as Caleb Furst visits Jalen Blackmon. Marion has turned around what was a very rigid early season and has done so with impressive wins, none moreso than the one over Northrop. Right now, it is hard to imagine that they have the depth defensively to handle everything Blackhawk has to offer. One can imagine that a lot of people will be in attendance for this one.
Bounce picks Blackhawk Christian
Heritage at Central Noble, Tuesday
Bounce is, you could say, at a loss. Heritage is better than the team they lost to last Friday to end their unbeaten 2019. That isn’t a friendly loss to take when you will spend this week on the road for games Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Central Noble will be on the back end of the early week road games after Heritage plays at Angola on Monday. This is a big test for the Patriots’ legs and mental state. Central Noble has been no slouch this year and continue to prove, like Heritage that they have a variety of quality scorers. Both teams have some losses they shouldn’t and this one seems to be razor close. When in doubt, expect home court to matter.
Bounce picks Central Noble
Leo at Bishop Dwenger, Wednesday
While the Saints are trying to find themselves, a young Leo team really is starting to develop an identity. It is hard to remember, as Leo has been battling lately, that Andrew Tkacz is their oldest consistent starter as a junior. And so they’ve hung with and challenged the NE8 and ACAC champions while beating a seasoned Adams Central and Columbia City. What Bishop Dwenger will bring to the table is a team who is comfortable at home and seasoned. Who is tougher? Bounce would lean towards the Saints because of their interior presence. Leo will need to get hot because the youngsters will likely struggle inside against Jared Lee and John Hoffman.
Bounce picks Bishop Dwenger
Snider at South Side, Friday
The rumors of South Side’s backslide are, at least somewhat, exaggerated. After losing to Wayne on Friday night in a game that maybe they shouldn’t have, the Archers beat an practically unbeatable Huntington North on Saturday. When you double back and look, there isn’t a single ‘bad loss’ on the Archers’ resume, with their losses coming to teams with a 65-26 record. The same can be said for Snider, who have lost to teams with a combined 73-20 record. The Panthers have also lost six games but after winning three of their last four, are clearly on the upswing again. That and they have some big individual momentum in Dillon Duff’s career best 40 point outing last Friday.
Bounce picks Snider
Homestead at Carroll, Friday
When it isn’t girls semistate weekend, this is your game of the week. It is almost always the game of the week every year. Chris Johnson versus Marty Beasley has been called, rightfully so, the area’s biggest chess match.
Important fact: they have already played; a 51-40 Homestead win in the SAC Holiday Tournament.
Important question based on that fact: has Carroll improved more than 11 points since that meeting?
This is where it gets hazy because they certainly have. Dan McKeeman, as I am repeating myself, is on a tear and David Ejah has proven how dominating he can inside by, at times, dominating Sydney Curry last Friday. I saw Carroll in that loss to Homestead and I saw them in their win over Northrop. They are probably 20 points better than they were back then. The hazy part continues though in the fact that Homestead is better too and they’ve gotten better not at the top, but in the middle. Recent confidence boosting games from the likes of Alec Grinsfelder and Xavier Overstreet are huge. Bounce thinks the top will cancel itself out in this one with McKeeman and Ejah versus Luke Goode and Zak Krueger. So who wins the race in the middle where Homestead is on the rise and Carroll has been consistently helpful?
Bounces picks Carroll
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