• Welcome to the 1,000 point club Luke Goode! The Homestead senior hit the mark during Tuesday’s win over Huntington North. Everyone knew it was coming on the day and I have to say kudos to the Homestead administration on this. Despite Homestead currently allowing zero fans in the stands, they allowed Goode’s mom and dad inside the door to watch him hit the 1,000 point mark so they could stop the game and let the parents congratulate him.
Especially in this weird pandemic time, moments like this are more social. The Goode family won’t know for now how many home games they will get to see Luke play this season, so allowing them to share this moment and keep it special is pretty cool.
The delayed start to the season for the Spartans meant that it was a three game week though and we really go to see what the duo of Goode and newcomer Fletcher Loyer could do together. They didn’t disappoint, going for 17 each on Tuesday. They again combined for 30 Homestead points (Loyer 16, Goode 14) with Grant Simmons putting out 15 points on Friday in a monster win over Warsaw after being tied at 17 at halftime. The 15 and 22 point second half quarters were huge for the Spartans. After going without a made field goal in the first half, Goode was a big catalyst for picking things up in the second half. Goode, Simmons and Loyer hit a combined 12 field goals are were 8 of 8 from the foul line in the second half of the win. They had made four field goals and went 2 of 5 from the foul line in the first half.
Like with many other schools who got wins this week, Saturday may have been the best. Homestead went to overtime but picked up a massive 71-65 double overtime win against Indianapolis Cathedral. Simmons forced overtime with a late triple and after no points were scored in overtime, the Spartans took over to win in the second extra frame. Goode finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds and Loyer scored 20 against Cathedral.
• Ok, ok…I get it. Aidan Lambert is good. And kudos to this kid, who has everyone, including random NECC school Barstool Twitter pages, propping him up. Everyone knew that someone in Snider‘s lineup was going to have to make a monster transition. They had next to zero back from last season. Lambert continues to be that guy with 27 points on Tuesday in a win over East Noble and 17 on Friday against Leo.
A year ago, Lambert didn’t even land on opposing team’s scouting reports. He was just a guy who was on the bench, who got spot minutes. Sure this summer, he showed flashes. But to go from just some guy to a guy averaging over 25 points a game and helping Snider to a 2-0 start; nobody had that on their radar unless they were wearing a Snider shirt. That is just honesty.
Yet all of the sudden, Lambert could honestly be one of the best players in the SAC right now immediately. Jeremy Rauch would probably point out some good coaching and that plays a role too. But kudos to Lambert for the level of work he has had to put in to go from random guy to SAC standout, at least in these first two weeks of the season.
While Snider lost on Friday, they certainly earned a huge helping of respect pushing Leo into overtime. In the end, Leo was just too big but Lambert, Karson Jenkins (26 points) and Jade Moore (28 points). While Leo was 0 of 4 from three point range, Snider hit 14 shots from deep with Moore going 6-of-12.
• Leo lacking some players in their lineup due to injury or quarantine has really made way for some new names to step in and familiar names to step up. That was never more evident than their guard play this week. On Wednesday, for the second straight game, Ayden Ruble and Cameron Groves stepped into the starting lineup. They are two guys who can immediately fill the holes left by the graduation of Chase Bates and Andrew Tkacs.
Ruble is an aggressive baseline driver who has zero issue with contact and has the court vision to make plays when teams collapse on him at the rim. Groves is more of the calm and collected presence. He is not a flashy player, but is there to work as a well timed cog in the Leo gameplay. And then there is freshman Jackson McGee, who isn’t even listed on the varsity roster because he has essentially been there as a fill in. Yet, he averaeged 6.5 points per game through Leo’s first two. We saw some good worth of him Wednesday, in stagnant Lion moments, when he could come in and knock down some momentum pushing three pointers. While he played little on Friday night, McGee could be a big factor later this season and for years to come.
The Lions were back to more full strength on Friday which meant that Carson Hart and Kaeden Miller returned to the lineup. The absolute dog fight of an overtime win over Snider only expands the allure of Leo this season. They are now 3-0 on the season with all three wins coming against SAC wins. The Lions counted on the post in the second half with DJ Allen and Zack Troyer combined for 50 points and 24 rebounds. They absolutely adjusted and gained more aggression from Wednesday’s win over Wayne with Allen (30 points, 10 rebounds) playing one of the best games of his career.
This week tested Leo and they’ve answered correctly throughout that test.
• Its way too early to name a Northeast 8 Conference breakout player or most clutch player. Andrew Hedrick is making an argument for both.
The Columbia City guard had a game high 22 points on Friday as the Eagles turned back Canterbury in overtime. And just like in the Eagles’ first game of the season, it was Hedrick who stepped up and hit the game winner. Two game winners already in three games and everyone in the NE8 should know who Hedrick is by now.
• Hey Joe Reidy, slow down? The race in the ACAC both collectively and individually has taken a slow start. With Bluffton on a two week hiatus and South Adams not playing a game yet do to their football team’s state finals run, the big and only real news this week was Woodlan finally getting their game in.
The Warriors raced out to a 1-0 start in the conference beating Southern Wells, but that isn’t the story. The story is Reidy, who’s career high 37 points to go with 17 points and five blocks, quickly became the most dominant, if not best individual performance we have seen in this still very young season.
Reidy has gotten so much better since you last saw him on the high school level. The junior has been long destined for really good time and Friday was, dare I see it, a great thing.
• Central Noble asserted themselves at the top of the conference on Friday with a win over Angola. The Cougars have clicked by scrapping by in games that have been kind of ugly. Friday was no exception. Central Noble didn’t play their best basketball, especially in the second half but they clawed their way through behind 21 points and seven rebounds from Connor Essegian. The Cougars are going to be better in the future for fighting through these early season struggles and they will be deeper because of it too. Logan Gard‘s 14 points and 12 rebounds is always going to be helpful and getting such quality minutes out of freshman Jackson Andrews (3-3 FG, 3-4 FT) is huge for their future.
But with Angola losing, is the gap wide at the top? Not so quick. Is Westview actually still in the picture? Yup! The Warriors upset Churubusco on Friday night, 63-48, behind 18 points each for Brady Yoder and Drew Litwiller. A big difference in that one was Mason Yoder‘s nine points in the fourth quarter (15 total). The Warriors’ depth is keeping them in the NECC conversation. Don’t let that game make you count Busco out either though. This is a team who hadn’t been able to play before Friday night because of quarantine and losing their scrimmage game. They also have such a small varsity lineup that they can’t even really scrimmage against each other in practice. There were always going to be growing pains for Busco and this is one of them, but their front line remains no joke with Jackson Paul scoring 18 in the loss to Westview.
Eastside put their name in the race emphatically as well Saturday by beating Bryan (OH) by 20 points. Hugh Henderson scored 19 and Gabe Trevino scored 18 in the Blazers’ win.
• Anybody else get a resounding answer this week? Is Blackhawk Christian still Blackhawk Christian? Well not exactly, they may be better. Better? Is that possible? The Braves opened another campaign hopeful for a state run as an absolute buzzsaw against North Side on Tuesday. If your name wasn’t Brauntae Johnson, you weren’t getting much done against the Braves and even he had his problems.
It was probably as calm and composed as you’ve ever seen the Braves out of the gate with their big three making plays at every turn. Caleb Furst‘s 24 points was almost quiet when you see how loudly Zane Burke earned his 28. The senior guard was, himself, essentially unguardable for most of the night. Marcus Davidson too showed off a really impressive midrange game and expansion in what he can do consistently. And Jacob Boyer was there to clean up any messes there were, constantly fighting for loose balls and rebounds to keep Blackhawk Christian in control.
And that quiet game of Furst’s? Yeah it was 24 points and it also propelled him past Russell Byrd and Frankie Davidson to become the program’s all-time leading scorer. Furst finished the game at 1,447 career points. And it kept growing through the week.
By now, you should have read about them following up their 50 point win over North Side with a 53 point win over New Haven on Friday night. Saturday was even another step up. Their 27 point win over Hamilton (OH) seems almost minuscule by comparison but it was another big statement. Hamilton 7-footer Sage Tolentino. struggled throughout the game against Furst, who hit his first three shots from the field as the Braves went up 9-0 and Furst eventually scored 23 as Hamilton was held to six points in the first twelve and a half minutes. Blackhawk is 3-0 winning by an average of 43.3 points per game.
Norwell‘s Luke McBride hit seven three pointers in Tuesday’s loss to Mississinewa. The sophomore scored a game high 29 points. He turned around for another 29 with six threes on Friday in a loss to Oak Hill with three triples on Saturday against Madison-Grant….In another big performance, Lakewood Park‘s Caedmon Bontrager willed his team by Garrett on Friday by hitting 14 of 17 inside shots and 7 of 8 free throws to put up 35 points.
Be sure to vote in this week’s FAN CHOICE for Performance of the Week poll.. Keep in mind with basketball, this isn’t a player of the week poll. We aren’t taking into consideration every single game on a player’s weekly resume. Instead, these are the best singular games of the week.
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