On Wednesday night, North Side traveled to Huntington North riding a four-game winning streak and fresh off a title at the Clay City Classic over the holidays.
While leading scorer Brauntae Johnson was out, the Legends appeared to have put some early-season woes behind them and looked poised to win their seventh game in eight tries, leading late in regulation over the Vikings.
Instead, North couldn’t get a defensive stop in the clutch and Huntington North emerged with a 59-56 win.
The defeat dropped the Legends to 6-7 overall on the year, and despite being 13 games in, we still don’t know how good or how bad North Side is.
And THAT goes for just about the entirety of the SAC.
As we sit on the eve of the league returning to game action on Friday as part of the traditional girls/boys doubleheader schedule that hits high gear in January, there are more questions than answers in terms of hierarchy in the Summit.
Homestead, South Side and Concordia Lutheran are the lone 2-0 teams left in the league, but the Archers and Cadets each have just one win over a team currently over .500.
Snider has look superb at times, but it also went on the road to North Side in mid-December and got ran out of the gym by 21 points. That same North Side team got blitzed by rival South Side by 17 just seven days before that rout of the Panthers.
Coach Rod Chamble’s Northrop Bruins lost by eight to South Side, but also have impressive victories over Leo and Lawrenceburg. Yet in the Bruins’ recent game at the Bob Wettig Tournament in Richmond, Chamble’s squad was beat by 15 points by the hosts, an average Red Devils squad at best.
Bishop Dwenger is just 3-5 and has losses to Homestead and Concordia Lutheran already, but the Saints’ most-recent outing saw the Saints knock off a good Warsaw team on its home floor over the holidays.
A quick glance at Wayne sees a porous 1-6 record, but when you look at the competition you find some respect for the Generals, who have losses to Leo, Culver Academy, Fremont and Snider, four teams that are a combined 25-6.
Bishop Luers and Carroll have both struggled, yet neither are necessarily a pushover.
That leaves Homestead, which many can agree are the clear-cut No. 1 team in the SAC. Yet the Spartans are not without their flaws. Fletcher Loyer is the best player in the conference and has a shot at Indiana Mr. Basketball, but the supporting cast around him has been inconsistent at best on the offensive end. The Spartans are averaging just 58 points per game, well under the 75 points a contest they averaged a year ago.
It is not inconceivable to envision a scenario where any of a handful of high-scoring SAC teams could clip Homestead due to the lack of offensive balance.
With so much uncertainty, the question is obvious, is the SAC stacked with good parody or just mediocrity?
One stat is very telling. Out of conference, the SAC is just 29-40, a winning percentage of only .420.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference (commonly referred to as the MIC), a league that many in the area like to directly compare the SAC to in both hoops and football, leads the state with a .750 winning percentage with a 39-13 record when teams step out of conference.
So as we get into the heart of conference season over the next two months, what should we expect to happen every Friday night around Fort Wayne?
Who knows. And maybe that’s the biggest sell for players and fans alike.
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