With the mix of weather and quirky scheduling due to girls sectional week, boys basketball in the area has been thrown for a loop for the last few weeks.

But as we approach the sectional draw on Sunday, we can truly start gearing up for the postseason, which will begin the week of Feb. 25.

Where do we stand locally with the best teams? Bounce provides you some answers.

1. BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (17-2)

WHY #1?

The Braves continue to take care of business both against SAC opponents and 1A foes. Coach Marc Davidson’s squad handled Bishop Luers and Snider in in recent matchups, and also destroyed Lakewood Park Christian by 66 points on Monday.

A game at Marion tonight will be intriguing, with sophomore Jalen Blackmon one of the top scorers in the entire state. It will be a run-and-gun type contest which will test Blackhawk Christian as it preps for the postseason.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

No. 1 reigns supreme.

RECORD AGAINST OTH TOP 10: 2-1

2. HOMESTEAD (16-2, 6-2 SAC)

WHY #2?

Since at overtime loss to Northrop in late January, the Spartans have strung together three straight victories, including two in SAC play that gives Homestead an outside chance at sharing the league title should it beat Carroll on Friday and Northrop falters at Bishop Dwenger.

Some will wonder why the Spartans are above the Bruins despite the result of the game a few weeks ago. Bounce’s take is that Homestead is a better team that Northrop anywhere but at Northrop High School, where the Bruins seem to play their best basketball. If they meet in regional play, Bounce gives the edge to the Spartans.

Luke Goode has cooled off as of late, having been held to single digits in points in three straight games.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Yes, the Spartans did beat the Braves in early January, but the body of work since then has been more impressive out of Blackhawk Christian. But with Homestead playing Carroll this week, that opinion could change.

RECORD AGAINST OTH TOP 10: 7-1

3. CARROLL (13-5, 7-1 SAC)

WHY #3?

Taking care of business at Northrop last Friday was an eye-opener for Bounce when it comes to the Chargers. Their defense is the best in the area and anyone who tries to argue that has no clue.

After allowing Sydney Curry to dominate the post defensively through the first two quarters last Friday, Carroll got the big man on the move with perimeter passing and quick strikes to the basket on the baseline. It worked and Carroll put itself in position to win its second-consecutive SAC regular-season title with a win over Homestead on Friday.

Is David Ejah a viable player of the year candidate? His 14-point, 19-rebound effort against the Chargers that also included a pair of blocks on Curry puts him in the conversation.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The Chargers lost to Homestead and do not play Blackhawk Christian, the lone SAC team that doesn’t take on the Braves.

We also need to factor in the 21-point loss to Class 4A No. 2 Carmel on Saturday. It was a non-conference game after a hard-fought league win the night before, but it was still a lopsided defeat.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 4-2

4. NORTHROP (13-5, 7-1 SAC)

WHY #4?

The prime chance to lock up an outright SAC crown for the first time since 1987 went by the wayside last Friday with the loss to Carroll. That said, the Bruins can still claim the championship by themselves with a win over Bishop Dwenger and a Homestead victory over Carroll.

That being said, the 13-point loss last Friday was disappointing. Sydney Curry looked every bit of the player of the year candidate he is in the first half, but after halftime he looked fatigued and was neutralized by a solid Carroll game plan. The fact that Qualen Pettus battled foul trouble all night didn’t help matters.

Northrop did bounce back on Saturday with a victory over Bellmont, but this team has some things to figure out over its final three regular-season games.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The loss to Carroll supersedes the victory over Homestead a few weeks before. The Bruins will travel to Blackhawk Christian on Feb. 21.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 5-2

5. EAST NOBLE (16-2, 7-0 NE8)

WHY #5?

The Knights are sometimes the forgotten team in the conversation of the best 4A squads in the area. Beating up on NE8 foes in a conference that lacks much in the way of quality depth can do that.

But East Noble gets a chance to turn some heads tonight as it takes on Homestead in a rescheduled game. Coach Ryan Eakins’ team has won 13 straight games and was impressive last week in earning a five-point win at Bishop Dwenger, which is playing some solid basketball.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Tough to rank the Knights above teams they haven’t played. The game against Homestead originally rescheduled for Tuesday has been postponed a second time.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 3-1

6. WESTVIEW (18-4, 10-0 NECC)

WHY #6?

Consider the Warriors in the club with East Noble of teams that aren’t getting enough recognition. Sure, Westview only beat a decent Prairie Heights squad by four, but getting up for NECC games can be tough when you are the quality of team that the Warriors are.

Of the four remaining games on the regular-season schedule, none have a winning record. So it is safe to say that Westview will not be challenged until the thick of the 2A playoffs.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

While Westview is tops in the Sagarin Ratings in Class 2A, the schedule ranks 139th overall. The lack of games against local powers makes it tough to put the Warriors towards the top of these rankings.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-1

7. SNIDER (13-6, 5-3 SAC)

WHY #7?

The Panthers have won three of four since an overtime home loss against Carroll, but they let one get away at Blackhawk when they led by seven at half.

Bounce believes it is time to accept that this Snider team just isn’t going to live up to the preseason hype bestowed upon them. It is not that this squad has underachieved, but without a single senior on the roster, we assumed this youthful group had matured enough to handle that target on their back. Turns out, it is still a work in progress.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Snider has not beaten a team ranked in Bounce’s top 10 since knocking off Northrop in the SAC Holiday Tournament.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 3-5

8. WAYNE (10-9, 4-4 SAC)

WHY #8?

Of Wayne’s nine losses, six have come to teams above them in this power poll, with the other three coming against out-of-area squads.

The Generals went to South Side last Friday and earned a hard-fought win over the Archers that helped Wayne jump up this week.

With three winnable games on the schedule before the postseason begins, Wayne could really build some momentum, which could make them dangerous.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The aforementioned nine losses are a primary reason why.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-6

9. SOUTH SIDE (5-10, 3-5 SAC)

WHY #9?

Bounce was about to drop South Side completely out of his power poll, but an overtime victory over Huntington North last Saturday changed his mind.

The Archers are just one of those solid teams who are never going to be an easy win for an opponent. They are talented enough to cause plenty of problems for foes, but have not yet achieved that top level of experience and development.

Take the Archers for granted at your own risk.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Ten losses put the Archers in similar territory with Wayne, although four of those losses were forfeits at the start of the season.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-5

10. HUNTINGTON NORTH (15-4, 6-1 NE8)

WHY #10?

Could Huntington North be the biggest threat to Homestead in 4A Sectional 6? It is a definite possibility despite the Vikings dropping a home game in overtime to South Side last weekend. They can slow a game down and force points to come at a premium.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The Vikings are the second-best team in the NE8, but the loss to South Side is telling.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-3

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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