Somehow, 2019 is about to come to a close, but I have a few more picks for you before then.
But here is what you won’t see today for the holiday week ahead: predictions on any games that are part of the SAC Holiday Tournament or the Huntington North Tournament. You will find breakdowns of those tournaments this week at Outside the Huddle before they kick off Thursday and Friday. So don’t forget to come back and visit us amidst your holiday dinners and present unwrappings.
Homestead girls and boys both held on to their invisible, yet prestigious Bounce Traveling Trophies last week. Can they keep them through the SAC Holiday Tournaments?
I will again be picking five girls games and five boys games today, but there will be NO OTH Game of the Weekend broken down later this week.
Last week: 11-0
Season total: 55-18
Concordia Lutheran at Columbia City, Monday
If the Eagles want to make even more of an impression before the end of 2019, this could be one of their better wins of the season. The true test for the Eagles is how their interior will hold up not only against Concordia’s posts but with how good the Cadets are at getting to rim and then to the free throw stripe. This is going to be one of the most underrated games this season but will still be very good. Bounce picks Columbia City
Angola at Woodlan, Friday
Angola doesn’t get enough attention for how they tend to roll through things. This meeting, between two likely conference champions, could be an educated score fest. Woodlan will need to handle the ball with poise because Angola is going to try and make the Warriors uncomfortable from the tip. And that isn’t an easy thing to do in Woodburn. Can anyone stop Angola’s Hanna Knoll? Guess we will find out. Bounce picks Angola
Bluffton at Churubusco, Saturday
The win-loss record indicates this is a letdown season so far for the Tigers. But individual performances certainly show room for team success. One of the areas that a young Churubusco team has struggled with is defending at the rim against bigger teams. Zoe Barger has turned into a bit of a machine down low for Bluffton and Emme Boots’ length is cause for concern too. Bounce picks Bluffton
Lakeland at Westview, Saturday
It’s been a mixed bag for the Lakers this season, but lately it’s more positive. Staying whole has kept them in the mix and on the winning side of some games that looked unlikely early in the year. Bailey Hartsough special here, we’ve been waiting for a big, dominant game from her. Bounce picks Lakeland
West Noble at Prairie Heights, Saturday
West Noble’s ball handlers have to be on their A-game against this Panther defense that I was impressed with last Friday. Prairie Heights is going to be able to turn a lot of teams over and the Chargers have struggled with some defensive pressure as of late. Also, if Alexis German can get some mid range pull-ups to fall that didn’t last Friday against Churubusco, that will widen the gap. Bounce picks Prairie Heights
Bellmont at Adams Central, Friday
Adams County war on the way and it looks so different than a year ago. I will rave any time about Kade Fuelling, but lately it is the James brothers that have added a big push for the Braves, as has Nic Ellsworth. Height could be a problem for the Flying Jets here though because Fuelling is so good around the basket. Bounce picks Bellmont
Norwell at Bluffton, Friday
To try and be the team that stops Norwell; that’s tough. The Knights are so good for a variety of reasons: 1) Will Geiger is very good. 2) Guys with experience are using this season to step up and be more comfortable in any lead role they are called for. Stopping Geiger is near impossible. Stopping a motivated Geiger, Drew Federspiel, Connor Torson and Eli Riley has proven to be impossible so far. Is it possible on Friday? Well…Bounce picks Norwell
Central Noble at Bremen, Saturday
This is a meeting that favors Central Noble because they’ve found depth in most games. While Bremen relies heavily on two guys, the Cougars can see 6 or 7 punch in quality numbers nightly. What Bounce wants to see is a big game from Logan Gard, let me put that on the table. But even if I can’t get that, expect the Cougars to be just too deep here, first with Connor Essegian and then with a number of guys who can add balance to scoring behind him. Bounce picks Central Noble
DeKalb at Heritage, Saturday
What will make DeKalb worrisome going into 2020? Connor Penrod. The Barons are a perimeter oriented team with plenty of confidence to put up shots. That already makes them a kind of tough out. But Penrod’s night last Friday, putting a scare into Norwell, makes that perimeter play so much easier. The big man is super long and as he gets more comfortable in that body and that role, as just a sophomore, the better DeKalb and their guards are going to be. Bounce picks DeKalb
Lakeland at Westview, Saturday
The chase is on for Charlie Yoder to become his school’s all-time leading scorer. Won’t happen here but he’s going to take a big chunk off his remaining point total. Look for Lakeland’s Brady Bontrager to take a run at slowing Yoder down, but we have to expect that it won’t do much as nobody has been able to. Bounce loves Bontrager’s game and for non-NECC people, he is probably pretty undervalued, even if NECC people know better. In the end though, it’s the Yoder show because of his scoring punch and how he knows how to involve shooters like Blake Egli when teams double down on him. Bounce picks Westview
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