Back for our second installment of the area boys basketball power poll, courtesy of your favorite cartoon frog himself.
How much movement have we had last week? Let’s take a look.
No. 1 – Homestead Spartans
Records: 5-1, 1-0 SAC
Previous rank: 1
Why #1?: The Spartans continue to look the part as the clear-cut No. 1 in northeast Indiana. No team in the area has stayed within 10 points of them so far this season, and the lone loss is to Kettering Alter out of Ohio.
But challenges await over the next week with games against Chesteron, Fishers and Hamilton Southeastern between now and next Tuesday.
As the season goes on, does Homestead have the secondary scoring it will need in the 4A playoffs?
Why not higher?: It doesn’t get better.
Best win: Carmel
No. 2 – Snider Panthers
Records: 1-0, 0-0 SAC
Previous rank: 2
Why #2?: The Panthers have yet to play in December and just once overall. That said, Coach Jeremy Rauch’s team has done nothing to drop them, nor has any team below them done enough to make Bounce make a move.
Snider gets back at it with North Side on Friday, followed by a showdown with undefeated Merrillville on Saturday at Grace College.
We will know move about where the Panthers sit at this point in a few days.
Why not higher?: Still a small sample size.
Best (only) win: East Noble
No. 3 – Central Noble Cougars
Records: 4-0, 2-0 NECC
Previous rank: 3
Why #3?: A win over the top-ranked team in Class 1A last weekend, in convincing fashion no less, is the first example this year pointing to just how good this Cougars team is.
Connor Essegian is on a pace to break a multitude of school records this season, but he can’t win games by himself, well most games anyway. With a heavy NECC and rural schedule for the majority of the rest of the season, Central Noble should have 20 wins at least by the time March rolls around.
Why not higher?: Barr-Reeve was a huge win, but enough to jump Snider? Not yet. But it could happen sooner rather than later.
Best win: Barr-Reeve
No. 4 – Blackhawk Christian Braves
Previous rank: 5
Why #4?: The Braves continue to creep up the rankings, with a slim win over Lafayette Central Catholic last weekend the latest impressive dub.
This squad doesn’t have a dominant player like Caleb Furst, nor does it have the exceptional complementary shooter that Zane Burke was. But make no mistake, this is a young team that has hit the ground running with Gage Sefton, Josh Furst and others stepping up into larger roles .
Why not higher?: Slow and steady wins the race. Blackhawk Christian still lacks that marquee win over a local power. That chance comes on Jan. 11 at home against Homestead.
Best win: Lafayette Central Catholic
No. 5 – Northrop Bruins
Records: 4-1; 1-0 SAC
Previous rank: 6
Why #5?: Welcome to the Top 5, Bruins! Fresh off handing Leo its first loss of the year on Tuesday, Coach Rod Chamble’s group vaults into the top half of Bounce’s best.
Jalen Jackson continues to assault opposing teams, with a 43-point effort against the Lions his latest magical act as Northrop is making a case that it is one of the top three teams in the SAC.
But the defense has also been strong. This team is allowing close to 12 points less per game than it did a season ago. If that continues, Northrop is going to have a very strong campaign.
Why not higher?: At this point, the Bruins looked the part of a squad that was going to beat up on inferior foes but struggle with the top teams in the area. After the Leo win, we need to re-evaluate everything we thought about this squad. Can this team be consistent? We shall see.
Best win: Leo
No. 6 – Leo Lions
Records: 5-1, 0-0 NE8
Previous rank: 4
Why #6?: Leo suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday when Northrop came in and knocked off the Lions.
After letting inferior teams hang around early in the season in Concordia Lutheran and South Side, a slow start by Leo finally doomed itself against the Bruins.
Overall, this team is fine, particularly in the NE8. But it will need to bounce back in the early days of January to prove itself worthy of the top 5 again.
Why not higher?: Losses do not make Bounce very happy, and Leo has not yet beaten a team with a winning record.
Best win: South Side
No. 7 – Norwell Knights
Records: 4-1, 0-0 NE8
Previous rank: 7
Why #7?: It wasn’t Murderer’s Row, but three wins in seven days – including two in which Norwell had to execute late to secure – isn’t too shabby.
This is still a very young team and is going to go through some spells in which it struggles to score, but the defense is sound and should keep the team in most games.
A home date with DeKalb is up next to begin NE8 play.
Why not higher?: A road win at Oak Hill continues to look better and better, and Bishop Dwenger will be a solid SAC team, but the Knights in search of that one big win to make people take notice, including Bounce. However, a road loss to one-win Misssissinewa looms large.
Best win: Oak Hill
No. 8 – Warsaw Tigers
Records: 2-2, 0-0 NLC
Previous rank: 9
Why #8?: Lose your one game of the week and move up in Bounce’s poll? It has been that kind of year so far.
Yes, at No. 8 we have a team that got beat by Homestead by 22 points and just lost at home to Crown Point. But the Tigers do have wins over Columbia City and Huntington North, two teams that could make some noise in the NE8.
Warsaw has some opportunities upcoming to prove itself further against area teams, with North Side and Bishop Dwenger on the schedule before the end of 2021.
Why not higher?: Warsaw is the highest team on this poll with multiple losses. What else do you vultures want from me?
Best win: Huntington North
No. 9 – Huntington North Vikings
Records: 2-2, 0-0 NE8
Previous rank: NR
Why #9?: Yes, two losses, but consider the competition – Homestead and Warsaw. This is a typical Coach Craig Teagle squad, where defense is paramount and the three-point shot is the key offensively.
The Vikings could make a splash on Friday at Leo.
Why not higher?: No true impressive victories.
Best win: Mississinewa
No. 10 – Columbia City Eagles
Records: 4-1, 0-0 NLC
Previous rank: NR
Why #10?: Another newbie cracks the top 10 as Columbia City enters. When you look deeper, this team really hasn’t beaten anyone tough, but in a season in which seven of the 10 teams in the SAC have osing records, you cannot be too picky.
But seriously, Coach Matt Schauss has himself a good group with the Eagles that could end up being one of the better teams in the NE8 over the course of the season.
Why not higher?: Columbia City’s four wins have come against teams with a combined two victories.
Best win: Carroll…I guess
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