For the first time this season, and hopefully not last, Bounce is spreading the joy of hoops on Sunday afternoon.
Here are some personal takeaways I have from the past week of girls high school basketball.
• Where do you go from here if you are Wayne? The Generals entered the season with a ton of hype, but fell very quickly to 0-3 with losses to Blackford, Leo and Homestead this week. Bounce would caution those who count against Wayne already though and remind you that both Blackford and Homestead are ranked teams in their classes and Leo is a lot like Wayne in that they are an underrated threat in a NE8 that already has big success this week against the SAC.
Wayne though is 0-3 for the first time since coach Lacia Gorman’s first season in 2018.
There is hope for the Generals. They fought good until about midway through the second against Homestead on Saturday. Around then, the Spartans got a comfortable margin and pulled away. But what we got to see early is that this is a still pretty good team. Was the preseason hype too much? Too early to tell.
Blackford and Homestead were games we expected the Generals to lose. But how they fired back at Homestead early on was good and there was some tenacity and determination even when the game was out of hand. Emilia Diaz continues to impress as a player who does a lot of stuff very well. As Wayne finds their roles and who will compliment who, I think that Diaz could be even stronger in the long run.
• On the other side of Saturday’s marquee SAC game is Homestead who had a heck of a second week.
The Spartans dispatched #20 ranked Northridge behind Myah Epps (17 points) and Alison Stephens (16 points) on Wednesday. The Spartans had nine different scorers. They did so hitting just five three pointers but hitting 24 of 33 free throws in the process.
Epps had 16 points in Saturday’s win over Wayne and it was a doozy. Epps proved in the opening of the Spartans’ new arena that she can basically do whatever she wants with the ball in her hands. She is great at getting others involved but Bounce new he had to get to see her in person Saturday afternoon to see how the hype actually measures up. When Epps wants to get to the rim, her first step just left Wayne defenders in the dust.
Cue up the “she’s a freshman chants” because I have a feeling we will hear that a lot as she leaves opposing players on skates all season long.
Outside of Epps, the Spartans proved Saturday that they can be a big force on the glass. The offensive rebounding alone probably outdid all of Wayne’s rebounding. Stephens and Emma Reust started the trend for the Spartans early in the first half on the glass. Brooklyn Fream picked up a great first half offensive rebounding, just by doing a great job reading where the ball would come off. Homestead is smart on the glass and when you combine that with their aggression, it could be difficult to rebound with them.
• Norwell was one of two teams in the area to put up 90 points this week, with the other being Bishop Luers. Lets face it, we don’t see many teams on either side get close to the century mark so it is still quite the impressive feat. Norwell defeated Mississinewa 91-37 on Tuesday.
91 points is 91 points. And while it says that Mississinewa is not a challenge for Norwell, the knights did so on 53.5 percent shooting, including going 32-of-51 for 62.7 percent inside the arc and you can’t fake that. Norwell also out rebounded Mississinewa 39-13.
When we talk about teams with depth, Norwell too got to experiment a little bit this week and it could benefit them a lot down the line.
Kennedy Fuelling and Makenzie Fuess led the way with 18 and 16 points respectively, but take note of the perfect 4-of-4 shooting from Ryland Graft and the five steals of Dekota Hubble as players to watch moving forward. Hubble picked up her five steals in just over seven and a half minutes of play.
• Columbia City came out hot to start the season as well as the highly rated Eagles team easily dispatched of West Noble on Tuesday, 74-22.
The Eagles shot 47 percent from the field in the game and Addison Baxter’s enchanted skill set was on full display in the win, leading Columbia City in scoring (16), rebounding (4) and assists (3) while Molly Baker also scored 16. The Eagles opened the game on a 35-2 run and while the Chargers aren’t quite in Columbia City’s league, the Eagles defense was marvelous, not allowing more than nine points in a quarter for the season opener.
There were 23 total steals for Columbia City in the win as they consistently both picked the West Noble pocket and laid on the pressure that forced the Chargers to make mistakes. Baxter recorded nine of those steals while Faith Frey had four.
The team turned around quick with another big scoring output in a win against Whitko on Thursday with Baxter scoring 20 and Kyndra Sheets leading the way with 23 for the Eagles. The duo combined to shoot 16-of-20 against Whitko and Baxter added another four steals to her season total.
• And then there was Huntington North, who made sure to put everyone on notice that they aren’t gone from the race either despite some offseason player losses to out of state transfer.
What was the biggest wave they could make? Beating Snider for a second straight season. When any team beats a SAC contender, that is something to make note of. And it really now feels like the Vikings have the Panthers’ number with these two wins in a row. Huntington North outscored Snider 29-12 in the second have to come back and win the game 48-42.
Taylor Double scored 13 points and had 11 rebounds in the win; she hit a major three pointer late. Haiden Bailey chipped in 10 points with four assists.
On Saturday, Double and Huntington North topped Carmel in another win that will surely raise their stock in the area and in the state. Double scored 26 in the win, which was coach Matt Hinds‘ 50th with the program. Bailey added nine points in the win over Carmel.
• We knew that Fairfield would be an intriguing team to watch in the NECC but the Falcons playing around with their depth has been immediately interesting. In Tuesday’s big win over Wawasee, the Falcons were able to get a lot of people around including seven different players taking shots in the process.
Brea Garber is good and her 18 point, three steal outing was a big part of the runaway win for Fairfield on Tuesday but for the Falcons to get deeper in the postseason this year, depth is going to play a big part. Delana Geiger‘s eight rebounds and three assists threw her into someone that people should watch out for on this team.
With her 18 points on Tuesday, Fairfield’s Brea Garber is made it just seven points shy of 1,000 for her career before Saturday’s win over Goshen, where she broke the record. As a multi sport athlete, Garber is now over 1,000 points in basketball and 1,000 kills in volleyball for her career.
JUST SOME FACTS
Carroll‘s win over Angola on Tuesday marked coach Mark Redding‘s 350th career win. It also made him Carroll’s all-time winningest girls hoops coach with his 156th win at the school, passing Lisa Miller (McBride)….Bishop Luers coach Mark Pixley picked up his 100th career win at Adams Central this week….Renna Schwieterman moved into 17th all-time on the ACAC scoring list with her 27 point outing against South Side on Thursday….The 7 points allowed by Warsaw in Saturday’s win over LaPorte is the fewest points ever allowed by Warsaw girls basketball.
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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