BOUNCE: Power ranking the regional title chances of area boys hoops teams

Leo’s Eric Steger defends during a December 19 game against Shenandoah. The game was part of the Champions of Character Classic at Grace College. (Photo by Leverage Photography)

We trimmed down the area teams playing basketball really quick. Just six area teams took home Sectional titles over the weekend and now those six teams are preparing for Regional Saturday this weekend!

But who can make it through to the semi state round? Two years ago, just Blackhawk Christian was there and last season, we never saw a Regional because of the early stages of COVID-19. Now, these six teams will try to push through with all four classes covered. No more than four of them can get by though as some will or may end up facing each other.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see four teams make the next round. But we know that probably won’t happen. So today, I am power ranking these teams 1-6 based on what I think their chances are to win a Regional title.

1 – BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN – CLASS 2A at NORTH JUDSON

Why they’ll win: There have been very few indications that the Braves are not the class of field in 2A. They have every weapon you could ask for and have gotten deeper throughout the season as more trust as been earned by guys off the bench. That, in many ways, mirrors their 2019 championship team: stacked at the top with stars but with a huge compliment of role players that provide big boosts of energy.

Why they may not: I’m drawing mostly blanks here. Unless Busco finds a way to win the morning game, the Braves should cruise by in the night game whether they face Boone Grove or Bowman Academy.

2 – HOMESTEAD – CLASS 4A at LOGANSPORT

Why they’ll win: Well they haven’t lost yet. So there is that. The top end scoring on this team is elite. Fletcher Loyer’s first season in Fort Wayne has been arguably the best “debut” we’ve seen in a long, long time. Luke Goode is a likely Indiana All-Star. One thing that is worth talking about is Andrew Leeper’s push during Sectional week. He looked really good and that is a danger to any team that lays in Homestead’s way.

Why they may not: There is this team called Carmel that has only lost twice and only by two total points. And Homestead getting them in the morning at Regional gives us arguably the best two teams in Indiana squaring off very quickly. When you haven’t lost, you often find yourself defending that zero. The Spartans have to ignore that number in their loss column and just push through.

3 – LEO – CLASS 3A at NEW CASTLE

Why they’ll win: This isn’t a super difficult Regional as it felt like a year ago when Leo was supposed to participate in it. This is a down year in a lot of 3A north in comparison to past seasons. There are no teams overwhelming in Leo’s way as they face off with a Mississinewa team that edged by Norwell. If Leo can covert and Blake Davison can keep playing as well as he has been, the are the have favorites here. DJ Allen hasn’t gotten enough credit either for Sectional week where he was a double double monster.

Why they may not: There is the argument that Leo hasn’t been playing great basketball down the stretch. Losses to Woodlan and Bishop Dwenger and going to overtime don’t showcase the power that the Lions played with most of the season. If there is a time to catch them, this is it. That is easier said that done, as noted above, but if you can break their spirits, there is a chance they don’t win this Regional. That is why they play the games.

4 – CARROLL – CLASS 4A at LOGANSPORT

Why they’ll win: Jalen Jackson erased any doubt against Snider in the Sectional title game, he is a high end elite scorer. You need one of those to get through Regional Saturday. You also need a lot of solid contributions around that and Carroll can have that too. The solid return of Zach Castator was a pleasant and welcome surprise. It all gives Carroll a better hierarchy to their depth. Also factor in that this team can play at a lot of speeds so they have the ability to control temp.

Why they may not: It all has to click together. Not just once, but twice in a day. The Chargers have the tools, but they will need to line up in sync for Regionals. Can Carroll look past an underdog status or even use it as motivation? Should they get a Saturday night rematch with Homestead, can they treat them as any other team and ignore the first outing’s finish? Carroll finds themselves as the least likely team to win this Regional in the opinions of many, doesn’t mean the Chargers aren’t elite in their own right. This has been called the regional of death for many years for a reason.

5 – CHURUBUSCO – CLASS 2A at NORTH JUDSON

Why they’ll win: This is simple in this regard: win in the morning and this Regional is yours. Blackhawk Christian is far from an easy foe, but Busco can gameplan well and we’d seen that. They can push and get wild but their ability to take the air out of the ball when needed is an asset we saw against Central Noble in the Sectional semi final. Yes, we want to see Landen Jordan versus Caleb Furst, but this comes down to an intelligent game plan like they had all of last week.

Why they may not: Tipping off Regionals in the morning against Blackhawk Christian is not something this group wanted. A year ago, they were far more equipped for the depth of the Braves’ talent but we never got that game. This time, there has to be a question about if Busco has enough high end players to isolate all of Blackhawk Christian’s weapons. The freshmen in this group, that has little depth, have not see anything like Blackhawk Christian yet.

6 – FREMONT – CLASS 1A at TRITON

Why they’ll win: Iron sharpens iron. That is the appeal of being a small school that plays in a really top heavy conference. There aren’t many 1A schools that are as good as the Central Noble, Churubusco and Westview’s of the world. A regular season schedule has made Fremont tougher for a lower level of postseason opponent.

Why they may not: The matchups don’t favor them. Kouts is no joke and is the best Class 1A team in the north half of the state. That isn’t a good initial sign for the Eagles.

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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