Bounce’s Boys Hoops Power Poll entering the week of January 17

Central Noble’s Connor Essegian pulls up for a shot during January 15’s NECC Tournament finals against Eastside at West Noble.

Well, for the first time all season we have a change atop Bounce’s Boys Basketball Power Poll. All that and more in what is quite the change in just a week’s time in the area top 10.

No. 1 – Central Noble Cougars

Records: 15-0, 5-0 NECC

Previous rank: 3

Why #1?: Congratulations to the Cougs, who have completely earned this spot atop Bounce’s best here in mid-January.

Fresh off an NECC Tournament title and the dispatching of previously-undefeated Eastside by 18 points, Central Noble continues to roll through its schedule.

Is it as difficult of a schedule as some of the other top teams in the area? No. But that doesn’t take away the fact that this team is playing arguably the best hoops around at this point.

Why not higher?: It doesn’t get better.

Best win: Eastside

No. 2 – Snider Panthers

Records: 8-2, 3-1 SAC

Previous rank: 4

Why #2?: Nipping at the heels of Central Noble are the Panthers, who went on the road last Friday and picked up a huge win at Homestead.

No other team in the area has a 1-2 punch like Snider, with Karson Jenkins and Aidan Lambert each capable of going off for 40-plus in any game.

Coach Jeremy Rauch’s team has Leo and Concordia Lutheran this week, the latter of which has all of a sudden become a big showdown in the SAC.

Why not higher?: The 21-point loss to North Side still stands out, but the further we get away from it the less Bounce factors it in. It was a team coming off a long layoff and just got rolled. It was one of those nights.

Best win: Homestead

No. 3 – Homestead Spartans

Records: 10-5, 3-1 SAC

Previous rank: 1

Why #3?: The Spartans dropped their first game to an area team last Friday falling to Snider at home.

Bounce watched a game in which Homestead played well but had trouble hitting the big shot late. Even sure-handed Fletcher Loyer struggled down the stretch with the game in the balance.

The loss could be a blip on the radar or a sign of greater issues. This is still a team averaging just 59 points per game, which ranks fourth in the SAC.

Why not higher?: If anything, the loss to Snider captured the attention of the Homestead players. This is not a good enough team to waltz through the league and roll to a sectional title. A back-to-back against North Side and Lawrence North this weekend will be an opportunity to get back on track.

Best win: Westfield

No. 4 – Blackhawk Christian Braves

Records: 12-1

Previous rank: 2

Why #4?: What a game last week at BC against Homestead. Watching the Braves erase a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime was insane.

In the end, Blackhawk Christian suffered its first defeat of the season, but this is still a team with its eyes firmly on the 2A postseason. It bounced back from the loss with a 25-point mauling of Bishop Luers, and it just was nice to see Coach Marc Davidson back on the sideline in that one.

Why not higher?: The Braves would likely still be at No. 2 if Homestead had not lost to Snider. Those are the breaks sometimes.

Best win: Brownstown Central

No. 5 – Concordia Lutheran Cadets

Records: 6-5, 4-0 SAC

Previous rank: Not ranked

Why #5?: The lone remaining undefeated team in SAC play vaults way up this week in Bounce’s Power Poll.

It is tough to figure out the heirarchy right now outside of the top four, but you can argue that the Cadets are for real. Area losses are to Blackhawk Christian, Huntington North in December and Leo in November. The schedule hasn’t exactly been daunting in the SAC, but a 17-point rout of South Side last weekend opened some eyes.

The fact that this team is still very young means the program has staying power, but may have some growing pains along the way. A date with Snider is up this Friday.

Why not higher?: Five losses and a strength of schedule that ranks eighth in the SAC.

Best win: South Side

No. 6 – New Haven Bulldogs

Records: 6-6, 3-0 NE8

Previous rank: Not ranked

Why #6?: The 0-3 start feels like a long time ago for the Bulldogs.

With a six-point victory last Friday over Leo, New Haven became the lone undefeated team left in NE8 play while handing the top team in the Class 3A AP Poll their second season loss.

Winners of four of their last five games, with that lone loss on the road at Snider, the Bulldogs are in the driver’s seat in the conference. But a road test at Norwell this weekend looms.

Why not higher?: New Haven has shown that it has trouble with the upper-echelon teams in the area such as Snider (15-point loss) and Blackhawk Christian (79-53 loss), but the win over Leo could be an indication that the Bulldogs are turning the corner.

Best win: Leo

No. 7 – Leo Lions

Records: 8-2, 2-1 NE8

Previous rank: 5

Why #7?: Well that was fun for a minute.

Leo ascended to the No. 1 spot in Class 3A last week only to fall to New Haven in a key league showdown.

Now, the Lions are looking for answers with a trip to Snider coming up this week.

While there is no reason for panic for the Lions, Coach Cary Cogdell has now lost two games to teams that have had trouble being consistent in New Haven and Northrop.

Why not higher?: A two-spot drop from a week ago isn’t all that much. Beat Snider and Leo will bounce back nicely.

Best win: Concordia Lutheran

No. 8 – Norwell Knights

Records: 10-3, 2-1 NE8

Previous rank: 7

Why #8?: A business-like week for the young Knights, dispatching of Wayne and Bellmont on the road.

Norwell’s lone area defeat continues to be that seven-point loss to Leo earlier this month, a game that the Knights had a shot at late. Now, the Knights are entering a stretch of the schedule that will see them play five of their next six at home.

Why not higher?: A signature win in the area is lacking. The Crown Point win was impressive, but following it up with another few big dubs would help.

Best win: Crown Point

No. 9 – Northrop Bruins

Records: 6-7, 1-2 SAC

Previous rank: 8

Why #9?: It was an idle week for the Bruins last week as Covid issues led to a postponement of its SAC contest with North Side.

Perhaps the time off will benefit Coach Rod Chamble’s squad, who have lost four straight but had shots to win at Snider and at home against Kokomo.

Jalen Jackson is the clear star, but does he have enough help around him?

Why not higher?: Four straight losses and a sub-.500 record.

Best win: Lawrenceburg

No. 10 – Jay County Patriots

Records: 11-2, 2-0 ACAC

Previous rank: Not ranked

Why #10?: Perhaps the toughest decision of the week. You see, Bounce had a little tiff with certain folk within the ACAC last week who had issues with Bounce purely tweeting out a stat.

Well here is a stat, Jay County has won all five of its games against ACAC foes this year by an average of 15 points, including a close victory over Woodlan last weekend in the ACAC Tournament final.

It remains to be seen just how powerful this squad is, but it’s getting it done in its league.

Why not higher?: Strength of schedule is 130th in the state.

Best win: Scottsburg

In the Conversation

Columbia City (9-3)

Huntington North (8-5)

Bellmont (7-5)

Eastside (14-1)

Fremont (7-3)

South Side (5-5)

Warsaw (9-4)

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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