We have entered the final two weeks of the regular season for boys hoops. Other than an absolute cluster in the SAC, but of the conference races have been decided.

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But who are the best teams in the area? Who is peaking at the right time? Bounce takes a look.

1. NORWELL (18-1, 7-0 NE8)

WHY #1?

The Knights have won 10 straight, beating the likes of South Side, Leo, Bishop Luers and New Haven over that span. At this point, Norwell may be the best bet among area teams outside of Blackhawk Christian to win a sectional and advance to the regional round of the playoffs.

A tough test at Homestead wraps up the regular season for the Knights a week from Friday.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Not possible.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 4-0

2. BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN ( 17-3)

WHY #2?

After a loss to Attucks on Feb. 8, the Braves bounced back last Tuesday with a dominating win over Snider.

Coach Marc Davidson’s team has Marion, Wayne and Northrop left on the schedule, meaning Blackhawk Christian has a great chance of entering the postseason with 20 wins.

While Caleb Furst has been elite as expected, the duo of Zane Burke and Marcus Davidson are averaging 33 points per game combined.

You know what is truly scary? Just 1.3 points of Blackhawk Christian’s 69.7 point scoring average are scored by an upperclassman – lone senior Jaylen Morris.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Blackhawk Christian and Norwell do not face each other, hence it is difficult to determine who is truly better.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 3-1

3. CARROLL (15-4, 6-2 SAC)

WHY #3?

The next few spots were the hardest to determine for Bounce. Yes, the Chargers have lost to both Snider and Bishop Luers over the last month, but they have also not taken any bad losses (Bishop Luers to South Side, Snider’s blowout loss to Blackhawk Christian).

Carroll isn’t flashy or sexy, but it remains in the hunt for an SAC title heading into Friday, although it needs loads of help.

The final three games on the regular-season schedule are Homestead, North Central and Warsaw.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Three losses over the past month are nothing to be ashamed about, but two of those are to SAC foes Bishop Luers and Snider.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-3

4. BISHOP LUERS (11-6, 6-2 SAC)

WHY #4?

It has been and up-and-down few weeks for the Knights with losses to Norwell and South Side, but Coach Fonso White’s team showed up when it needed to in last Friday’s game against Snider. Naylon Thompson’s 24-point effort was the latest indication that the junior has emerged as one of the top all-around players in the SAC.

Can Bishop Luers close out strong with four road games to conclude the regular season?

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Six losses, including a recent setback against South Side. This has been an inconsistent team at times. Could beating Snider indicate that this team is peaking?

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 2-4

5. SNIDER (15-5, 6-2 SAC)

WHY #5?

Last week was a disaster for the Panthers. Not only were they embarrassed by Blackhawk Christian on Tuesday, they failed to take control of the SAC by losing to Bishop Luers.

The two losses erased much of the momentum built over a six-game winning streak. Snider will look to regroup this week against South Side and Cathedral.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Worrisome losses last week has Bounce concerned about where the Panthers go from here.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 5-3

6. NEW HAVEN (13-5, 6-1 NE8)

WHY #6?

The Bulldogs have solidified themselves as the second-best team in the NE8 behind Norwell. Coach Bruce Stephens’ squad has won seven of eight, with the lone loss coming by nine to those Knights.

Sectional 6 will be intriguing with Homestead and New Haven the favorites. The Spartans beat New Haven by 16 points earlier in the season, but both teams are much different than they were then.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

The Bulldogs have just one win against teams in this week’s power poll.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-4

7. HOMESTEAD (13-7, 6-2 SAC)

WHY #7?

Coach Chris Johnson’s team can still win an SAC championship despite some shaky moments in recent weeks. The Spartans ended a three-game losing streak with a pair of victories last week.

With a 6-2 record in the SAC, tied with three other teams, Homestead heads into Friday’s showdown with rival Carroll with serious conference title implications.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Things have not been all roses for Homestead this season between injuries and roster changes. But could the Spartans be getting things right at the right time? Time will tell.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 5-2

8. WESTVIEW (16-3, 9-1 NECC)

WHY #8?

With just one league game remaining, Westview looks to be in good shape to at least share the NECC regular-season championship with Churubusco. With help, the Warriors could claim it outright.

Westview has won seven straight after last week’s seven-point victory at Prairie Heights, a big win over a league opponent that just so happened to be the last team to have beaten the Warriors.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

While the NECC has been top heavy this year, Westview has not shown that it is the clear No. 1 in the league over the extent of the season. Losses to Churubusco and Prairie Heights make it tough to argue that the Warriors belong higher on this list.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 0-1

9. CHURUBUSCO (10-6, 7-1 NECC)

WHY #9?

Victories over Garrett, Fairfield and Eastside over the season’s final two weeks will give Churubusco at least a share of its first NECC title since 2015. Apart from the last-minute collapse against Snider, the Eagles have been highly consistent and impressive in recent weeks, leading Bounce to perhaps pick this team as its favorite in a highly-competitive Sectional 35.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

Should the Eagles be higher here? Bounce is open to debating just that.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-2

10. LEO (13-6, 3-3 NE8)

WHY #10?

Winners of five straight, the Lions make a triumphant return to Bounce’s Power Poll this week. The schedule of late has not necessarily been difficult, but Leo is showing that it can handle the teams it should beat.

Sectional 22 will hold plenty of intrigue with Bishop Luers the favorite, yet Leo and Woodlan could be tough outs.

WHY NOT HIGHER?

A three-game NE8 losing streak in January is still tough to ignore.

RECORD VS. OTH TOP 10: 1-2

Other teams in the conversation (in no particular order): Prairie Heights (14-4), Central Noble (16-4), East Noble (10-8), Bluffton (14-5), Woodlan (13-7).

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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