Twas the week before Christmas and all through the area, big games will happen and conferences will feature important matchups.
It isn’t exactly a rhyme, but at least it is grammatically correct, am I right?
Homestead girls and boys keep holding on to the very much invisible Bounce Traveling Trophies with their wins over Bishop Dwenger and they go back at it this week with two really interesting games on Friday in the girl/boy double header opposite Bishop Luers.
I will be picking five girls games and five boys games in my regular picks. What you will not find today is Churubusco at Prairie Heights boys, coming up on Friday night, which will be highlighted later this week as the Outside the Huddle Game of the Weekend.
Last week: 6-5
Season total: 44-18
Lakewood Park at Eastside, Tuesday
For the second straight week, Eastside will host another team with a lot of youth and will likely have the edge. The Blazers are right there as one of the hottest teams in the area and will continue to roll, in a lot of ways, until the NECC Tournament. For Lakewood to compete in this one, Taylor Gerke is going to have to use her size to compete with Ally King on the interior. That could be a sticking point in this one. Bounce picks Eastside
Woodlan at Norwell, Tuesday
The last thing Woodlan wanted was a Norwell team that has to bounce back from a tough loss. The Knights are just not a team you want to face when their backs are against the wall. Still, this could be a really intriguing matchup if Addison Bayman can help match Kaylee Fuelling’s torrid pace. The Castle on a Tuesday against the ACAC leaders? Should be loud. Bounce picks Norwell
Central Noble at West Noble, Wednesday
The Cougars have a chance at redemption in a Noble County battle after falling to East Noble last week. That loss came right as Central Noble was able to string together some quality wins. Will this be an instant bounce back? West Noble has struggled to score at a high level at times and really need more hierarchy offensively. Bounce picks Central Noble
Bishop Luers at Homestead, Friday
I have said all season that the Knights could be one of the teams that matches up best with Homestead; let’s see if I am right. The matchup between Lydia Reimbold and either Ayanna Patterson or Sydney Graber is key. Homestead will put one of those two players against Reimbold because of their ability to play inside-out. This Knights team is just as equipped to upset Homestead as anyone. That said, Homestead is very good and has not lost back to back games since December 21 and 27, 2011 and haven’t lost at home in over two full years. Bounce picks Homestead
South Side at Northrop, Friday
This is always an intense matchup, even as South Side has been the better team the last season or so. Two of the most intense, yet educated coaches in the area always make this a fun chess match. South Side will have the chance to show off more of what we saw Saturday, that Alaya Chapman and Lamyia Woodson can be critical inside. Whoever wins the rebound war wins this game and Chapman/Woodson will have to be on their game with the pace that TiAuna White and Destiny Jackson have been putting out. Bounce picks South Side
East Noble at Snider, Tuesday
Snider will be looking to shake off its first loss of the year while East Noble is just getting started. A state title game run in football delayed the Knights’ start to basketball season. The big part of that is Hayden Jones, who had a great senior season in football but may not be 100 percent for this tipoff. This game, on paper, is Snider’s to lose but it is going to have to test its mettle after a disappointing loss much earlier than it had to last season. The Panthers made a lot of silly mistakes and struggled converting in the crunch last Friday and haven’t had much time to amend some bad habits. Bounce picks Snider
Bishop Luers at Homestead, Friday
I, for one, wasn’t surprised at Luers’ win over Northrop last Friday. In fact, I picked it to happen. Both of these teams will have to up their game this week; Luers to play with the talent of Homestead and the Spartans to avoid an upset. The Knights are better than many people give them credit for but length could be an issue here. Even though the likes of Luke Goode and Grant Simmons are more perimeter players, they can be big matchup problems because of that length. Bounce picks Homestead
Wayne at Carroll, Friday
Here is the test: are the Wayne Generals for real? Carroll is a tough place to go into and win, conference game or otherwise. Wayne has a lot of momentum right now and will have to face New Haven earlier in the week. Much has been said by me and others about the SAC Tournament seeding and this is the major question: should Carroll be the top seed or should it be Wayne? Both have been the top team in the conference Sagarin ratings in the last couple of days. And while either can afford a SAC loss at this point, this is certainly going to be a bit of a grudge match. Does Carroll have the scorers behind Jalen Jackson to get into a shootout? Bounce picks Carroll
Carroll at Norwell, Saturday
A quick turnaround on the schedule and in my picks. Carroll will be traveling to The Castle and while there is no guarantee this will be an unbeaten battle, these two teams are currently two-thirds of the area unbeaten teams. Both have already shown a certain hierarchy in their scoring and Norwell’s shooting has been hot. The question here hinges on what any team (and here it is Carroll) has for Will Geiger if he gets you down below the block and plays tough at the hoop. Big conference game on Friday and then out of conference turnaround on Saturday is the Marty Beasley special, but this weekend will have its pitfalls. Bounce picks Norwell
Culver at Blackhawk Christian, Saturday
If last Saturday’s loss to Silver Creek proved anything, it is that the Braves may be better than we thought. And we thought that they were really good. This game is deep with athletic talent and is clearly a can’t miss game if you are in the city on Saturday. Expect Caleb Furst to feast and feast again. Bounce picks Blackhawk Christian
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