It was only a matter of time until we had a week that completely trashed Bounce’s power poll.
Last week was it.
Frankly, it was welcomed by Bounce, as the top 10 had grown kind of stale in recent weeks. But with some big-time showdowns, as well as a few upsets, this edition of the power poll sees some big changes.
No. 1 – HOMESTEAD
Records: 14-0 overall; 4-0 SAC; 5-0 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: 2
The Spartans’ home victory over Blackhawk Christian last week vaulted them above the Braves into the top spot. It was an impressive win, although one that saw the game close than the final score indicated.
Fletcher Loyer and Luke Goode are the best one-two combination in the area – no debate.
Homestead is winning games by an average of 21 points, good for 11th best in the state.
The Spartans have North Side on Friday followed by a showdown with Class 4A No. 1 Lawrence North on Saturday.
Best win: Blackhawk Christian
No. 2 – BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN
Records: 11-1 overall; 2-0 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: 1
Blackhawk Christian’s drop from No. 1 is nothing to fret about if you are a Braves fan. The Braves played well enough in the first half last week against Homestead to win, but an 0-for-17 night from three-point range doomed Coach Marc Davidson’s team.
This squad is still the favorite in Class 2A with just over a month left before the playoffs. Games against Bowman Academy and Lakewood Park are on top this week.
Best win: Silver Creek
No. 3 – LEO
Records: 10-0 overall; 2-0 NE8; 3-0 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: 4
Leo is in the midst of a pivotal three-game stretch over the course of two weeks, facing league foes Norwell, New Haven and East Noble.
The Lions have been nothing short of spectacular and have now won 15 straight games dating back to last year when the season was canceled heading into regional weekend.
Coach Cary Cogdell’s team remains the clear-cut favorite in the NE8.
Best win: New Haven
No. 4 – NEW HAVEN
Records: 7-4 overall; 1-1 NE8; 2-3 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: 5
While the Bulldogs may have four losses – three of those are to the teams above them in the power poll. So don’t come at Bounce about where Coach Bruce Stephens’ squad is this week.
Wins over Snider and Carroll in recent weeks show the potential of this group, and a week without a game this week will give New Haven a chance to build upon the eight-point win over the Chargers last Saturday.
Yes, the 16-point loss to Leo last Friday showed the gap between the Bulldogs and Lions, but could New Haven very well be the “best of the rest” in the area?
Best win: Carroll
No. 5 – CARROLL
Records: 8-2 overall; 3-0 SAC; 0-1 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: 3
After a hard-fought overtime win over Bishop Luers last Friday, Carroll dropped its first game of the season to an area squad on Saturday – an eight-point setback at New Haven. It caught a few off guard, including Bounce.
But Coach Marty Beasley approaches his regular-season schedule as an effort to prepare his team for the postseason. Every non-conference game has a purpose. Despite the loss, the Chargers will be good going forward and still control their own destiny in the SAC.
Best win: Brownsburg
No. 6 – SNIDER
Records: 6-4 overall; 3-1 SAC; 0-2 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: 6
Does Bounce punish Snider for losing by 18 to Homestead last Friday? The answer is no.
While the Panthers do have three losses to area teams this season, all are above them here – the Spartans, New Haven and Leo.
Snider continues to impress offensively with a scoring average north of 75 ppg. However, it is surrendering 72 points per contest, which ranks ninth in the SAC.
Best win: Elkhart
No. 7 – CENTRAL NOBLE
Records: 13-1 overall; 4-1 NECC; 1-0 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: 7
The Cougars ran the gauntlet of tough NECC foes to win last week’s league tournament – knocking off Churubusco, Westview and Angola over three days to capture the crown.
Connor Essegian was no joke, but the play of guys like Sawyer Yoder and Logan Gard was integral as well.
Just how much would the Cougars like to have back that road loss to Westview in mid-December?
Best win: Churubusco
No. 8 – CHURUBUSCO
Records: 8-2 overall; 3-1 NECC; 0-1 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: 8
Coach Chris Paul’s team stands pat at No. 8 despite a loss to Central Noble in the NECC Tournament. The Eagles have shown that they can compete, and also still has room to improve as its freshmen continue to grow more comfortable at the high school level.
Landen Jordan is averaging 22.1 points and 15.8 rebounds a contest for ‘Busco, which will host Angola on Friday.
Best win: South Side
No. 9 – HUNTINGTON NORTH
Records: 5-1 overall; 1-0 NE8; 1-1 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: No. 9
Huntington North has played just twice in 2021 thus far, but both wins have been impressive – at East Noble and at North Side.
The modus operandi for this squad remains disciplined defense and deliberate offense, but this year it seems more adept at being able to knocking down the big shot when needed – whether it be from range (42 percent on the year) or at the free-throw line (76 percent).
Huntington North has a pair of conference matchups this week – at home against Columbia City on Thursday and on the road at Bellmont on Saturday.
Best win: Warsaw
No. 10 – WARSAW
Records: 7-6 overall; 3-0 NLC; 0-3 vs. current Top 10
Previous Rank: Not ranked
The Tigers have lost three of their last five – including a 14-point setback against Leo – but still make their first appearance of the season in Bounce’s top 10.
In his first season at the helm, Coach Matt Moore has a group that has the ability to lock down opposing offenses. Warsaw is allowing just 49 points per game, good for second-best in the Northern Lakes Conference. Sophomore Jaxon Gould leads the Tigers in scoring at 13.5 points per game, an average that includes hitting 87 percent of his free throws.
Warsaw has Concord and LaPorte on tap this coming weekend.
Best win: Lake Central
IN THE ARGUMENT (in no particular order)
Bishop Dwenger 4-3
South Adams 7-4
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